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15 women in a cooking cooperative. 3 Fellows living on the coast of Ecuador. 1 bilingual Ecuadorian cookbook to fund their future.
15 women in a cooking cooperative. 3 Fellows living on the coast of Ecuador. 1 bilingual Ecuadorian cookbook to fund their future.
35 backers pledged $2,790 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$2,790

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After three years of sending Minerva Fellows to Estero de Platano, Ecuador, we finally have the perfect sustainable product to help the women’s cooking cooperative fund their unfinished comedor (a small restaurant)—a cookbook. The first group of Fellows sent from our university, Union College (NY), created the group. The second maintained it; and now we, as the third generation, want to see it advance.

Over the years, this group of 15 women has been cooking out along the beach every weekend and holiday. The cooperative’s main customers are tourists who visit their impoverished yet beautiful town in rural Ecuador. Despite their best efforts and most delicious lunches, the group does not generate profit to genuinely save toward their dream comedor. And here in the developing world, owning a small tienda (store) or comedor is the ultimate symbol of reaching the middle class, which is what makes the completion of their own comedor such an important goal for the women.

So now how does the cookbook fit into all of this? The cookbook was one of our ideas to help contribute to the women’s group success. Realistically, we cannot donate the funds to help them finish their comedor but we can help them by taking smaller steps. The cookbook is a new, smaller and more manageable idea for them to generate additional income. Plus, c’mon, a bilingual Ecuadorian cookbook is pretty neat!

We want to complete a bilingual cookbook in English and in Spanish of delicious coastal Ecuadorian cuisine, with the recipes gathered direct from the cooks themselves. We have already done the hard part: we have compiled, edited, and translated approximately 85 recipes teaching you how to cook everything coastal, from pulpo to savory batidos.

Our Kickstarter campaign is to find funding for the design and printing of the cookbook. Our minimum goal of $2,600 allows us to complete the cookbook. The $2,600 figure is broken down as follows:

1)We would order 500 books from a company called Cookbook Publishers at $2.65 per book. This totals $1,325.

2)So that the cookbook will have a more polished look and be more durable, we are going to upgrade the paper for the pages and the covers. This will cost $400.

3)Between our enticing international rewards and shipping for our 500 cookbooks, we need an additional $750.

4)From there, Kickstarter and Amazon charge 5% in fees. This is an additional $123.75.

To give you more incentive, we have very unique set of rewards for our backers. While we are “the Estero Three,” we are descendants of 5 generations of Minerva Fellows. 6 others currently carry the same title and are stationed around the world. As a way to incorporate our fellow Fellows and development efforts, our rewards include products from their project sites. So you may receive our bilingual cookbook from Estero de Platano, Ecuador; a hand-printed headband or bandana from Bagru, India; hand-made bags or skirts from Enegye, Uganda, or beautifully beaded jewelry from Durban, South Africa. We are offering an international platter of incentives just for your support!

So what do you say?! Help us complete our dream cookbook so they can complete their dream comedor!

Risks and challenges

Our first and biggest challenge by far is that Estero is a very remote area that lacks really any kind of communication to the outside world. There is no phone service. Well, that’s not totally true: to make a phone call you can make a 10 minute trekk uphill to a little site where we receive approximately 1 bar of cell service. With that being said, there is really truly no Internet. We need to travel 1 ½ hours outside of Estero by whatever car that happens to go by to go to Internet cafes. So we will not be able to regularly communicate through Kickstarter while our campaign is active; although, we will of course be checking in whenever possible.

Our second challenge is that we are not experienced in design. However, we have found several websites and templates to help us through this process. But keep in mind that if we are overfunded (hint hint!), we already have been speaking to and plan on working with a professional designer. Which we might add, will only make the cookbook look more spectacular!

1) If we are slightly over-funded, we have the possibility of printing more cookbooks initially (perhaps of 1000 instead of 500 copies); or upgrade our cookbook design website.
2) If we are overfunded by a nice amount, we can receive professional illustrations from a designer, which would make the cookbook a little more beautiful

We would really like to see our cookbook completed by early May (just in time for Mother’s Day!). However, the reality is that there can be hiccups that we cannot control in any of the phases we need to complete—design, printing, and shipping. As a result, it is possible that rewards including the cookbook might be delayed but we will keep you updated if that should happen.

We realize it there are a few concerns that could come along the way, but we’ve done our homework and we know our options. But most importantly, we believe in the women’s cooperative and we are committed to seeing this project through to the end.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    A big thank you on at least one of our blogs! One step closer to publishing! (All donations above $5 will also receive a thank you on our blogs).

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A picture postcard of our women’s cooking cooperative with their famous spicy aji sauce recipe included.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    A hand-made change purse from our fellow Fellow Alexis ‘Biz’ Deeb working in Engeye, Uganda! And your picture postcard with that famous aji recipe.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    You choose a hand-made headband from one of our fellow sites in Bagru, India; Durban, South Africa; or Engeye, Uganda along with your picture postcard & aji recipe.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Hand-made, beautifully beaded jewelry from our fellow Fellow Shalini Singaravelu who is working in Durban, South Africa! And your picture postcard with recipe.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Choose from hand-made scarves delivered to us from our fellow Fellows Jessica Sarrantonio in Bagru, India or Shalini in South Africa! As well as your picture postcard recipe.

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    A hand-made handbag from Biz in Enegye, Uganda with the recipe postcard along with 2 new recipes from our book!

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    A headband grab bag (a few small surprises all wrapped in one!) from Jessica in Bagru, India along with your 3 recipes.

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    In addition to your 3 recipes, you can choose from a large hand-made handbag or a skirt, both from Biz in Engeye, Uganda!

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $105 or more About $105

    THE COOKBOOK! Along with your choice of a headband, scarf, beaded jewelry, or change purse from one of the fellow Fellow sites previously mentioned! And, of course, your 3 recipes and the postcard.

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    Pledge $130 or more About $130

    The cookbook and you pick 2: a headband, scarf, beaded jewelry, or change purse from our Fellow sites! Also included is your picture postcard and recipes.

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    Pledge $155 or more About $155

    The cookbook and the small handbag from Biz in Engeye, Uganda along with your picture postcard and recipes!

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    Pledge $180 or more About $180

    The cookbook and your choice of the headband surprises bag from Jessica in Bagru, India or the large hand-made handbag from Biz in Engeye Uganda! Don’t forget your picture postcard, too!

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    Pledge $205 or more About $205

    2 cookbooks! (one for you, gift the other!) And your picture postcard of the women’s cooperative.

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $255 or more About $255

    1 cookbook and you pick 2: a headband, scarf, headband grab bag, beaded jewelry, change purse, skirt, handbag, or a second cookbook, along with your picture postcard and recipes!

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    Pledge $305 or more About $305

    2 cookbooks and you pick 2: a headband, scarf, headband grab bag, beaded jewelry, change purse, skirt, handbag, or a cookbook, along with your picture postcard and recipes!

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    Pledge $405 or more About $405

    2 cookbooks and 3 items of your choosing: a headband, scarf, headband grab bag, beaded jewelry, change purse, skirt, handbag, or a cookbook, along with your picture postcard and recipes!

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    Pledge $505 or more About $505

    Freedom of choice, choose any 6: a headband, scarf, headband grab bag, beaded jewelry, change purse, skirt, handbag, or the cookbook, along with your picture postcard and recipes!

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Funding period

- (40 days)