Blue Mangoes is both a humanitarian engineering team and organic natural fruit brand which builds passive solar fruit dehydrators (a fancy name for a box which dries fruit without electricity) and sells solar dried all-natural tropical fruits.
Our dehydrators turn natural fruit overabundance in impoverished rural communities into an additional income and employment for women and youth. Fruits like mangoes, plantains, guava, and oranges are dried and sold in the US! Blue Mangoes started as a group of engineering students who wanted to turn a wasted resource into an economic opportunity in the Global South. We have been working on Blue Mangoes for three years now, prototyping our designs and forging strong community partnerships. Since 2015, we’ve been through The Commons, WI; the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps; and now graduated from gBETA, a startup accelerator, and MadWorks.
Just this last November we sent three travel teams abroad! Josh and Hayden traveled to Padibe, Uganda and built five dehydrators there with community members agreeing to build 40 more in the next month! We established three farmers cooperatives as well, meaning farmers will work together to build dehydrators and a food processing facility. We expect our first shipment from them in March of 2019.
Jack and Claire traveled to the Mbevi Family farm near Wote, Kenya. While there, they trained a local carpenter how to build dehydrators and the neighboring farmers plan to build up to 10 more!
Jonah went to Haiti where he built three dehydrators and was able to bring back some dried fruit! Now we have samples of our mango, pineapple, and guava!
The next year holds a lot of opportunity for us and our brand. Our team has grown to include marketing and business students, and our community partnerships have expanded to Zambia, Liberia, Costa Rica, and more! The revenue will be reinvested into further building the capacity of partner communities and expanding to new areas. This increased capacity will allow us to impact more lives in the areas we work in. The newfound income in our partner communities is invested in microloans, children’s education, and things as simple as a bus ticket to the city for a job interview.
2.5 million mangoes are wasted each season in Padibe, Uganda alone. The few mangoes that are sold, are sold for as little as 1 cent each. By partnering with Blue Mangoes and drying their mangoes, smallholders can receive up to 30 cents per fruit. This additional income can be used by farmers to pay school fees or to feed their families.
We could not be more excited for this opportunity, so thank you so much for your continued support of our organization, Blue Mangoes! Please help us reach our goal, and share this on Facebook, Instagram, and anything else you use! We can't wait to eat the fruits of our labor (and know you can't, either)!
- Alexandria Zielinski
- Anthony Waite
- Linda Berez
- Pat Hurlbut
- Vicki Brown
Organizer and beneficiary