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Valle Crucis Community Park Hosts a Free Solar Cooking Workshop Lead by Carla Ramsdell

Dr. Carla Ramsdell teaches students about solar cooking Courtesy of Appalachian State

The Valle Crucis Community Park will be hosting a Solar Cooking Workshop on Wednesday August 16 at 11:00 am. The event is expected to last for an hour and is free to the public. The event will be hosted by Carla Ramsdell who is a senior lecturer and professor of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Appalachian State University. Ramsdell is a favorite among students who are enrolled in her classes. This outreach event at Valle Crucis Park has been made possible by a grant from the Office of Sustainability and The Appalachian Energy Center, both at Appalachian State .

Ramsdell is partnering with Appalachia Cookie Company to show participants how to bake using the power of the sun. Ramsdell will lightly lecture about the importance of solar cooking as a sustainable technology in order to combat climate change. Ramsdell will discuss the importance of sustainable technology and will discuss the science behind solar cooking. After the baking portion of the event, there will be a question and answer time. Participants are welcomed and invited to ask questions about solar energy, solar cooking and the sustainable aspects that solar cooking provides.

When asking Ramsdell about her passion for solar cooking she said, “I’ve been researching the thermodynamics of solar cooking oven technologies for 5 years.  Anyone can cook in a solar oven, but it does require special equipment. I will have a large selection of ovens at the park so people can compare different technologies that are currently available. Almost any food can be cooked in a solar oven but some require more cooking time than a traditional electric or gas oven. They also serve as a great back-up cooking device if electricity is not available. I will be available to answer question, and talk about other energy efficient cooking measures during the clinic. My research is on the energy of our food system, including food choices, storage and cooking.”

Appalachia Cookie Company, a High Country favorite, will provided chocolate chip cookie dough that workshop participants will bake through the power of the sun. For those who have vegan or gluten-free dietary needs, there will be free options available. The intention of this workshop is to demonstrate, educate, inform and to show that solar cooking is fun!

The event is hands-on, in efforts to show how differently solar oven perform in comparison to gas/electric ovens. This event is welcome to all and serves as an excellent educational experience. We cannot wait!

Solar cooking requires devices that range from low to high technology. This also means that solar cookers are inexpensive, or expensive depending on the technology level. Higher tech solar cooker can be as powerful as traditional stoves.This is encouraging, because it means that there is hope of a future where solar cookers can take place of traditional stoves. Solar cookers do not use fuel, and are extremely environmentally friendly. Because they do not use gas, they do not emit unwanted gasses into the air. Solar cookers help reduce the levels of deforestation because they do not use wood.   

Solavore, a solar cooker company states that, “Depending on the level of technology being used, solar cookers have the ability to cook anything from meat to bread, along with other foods in between.” This is exciting, because it means that solar cookers could eventually become a common cooking device, which is great for the environment.

The Valle Crucis Community Park is a nonprofit organization that is funded by the community. Space is limited. Please email reedkv@appstate.edu to reserve your spot!For more information visit www.vallecrucispark.com or call 828-963-9239.