Staples Grad Working to Prevent Malnutrition in Guatemala

Posted by Gabrielle Wimer on Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 12:25 AM

MealFlour was started by Elizabeth Frank, Gabrielle Wimer (a 2012 graduate of Staples High School), and Joyce Lu in November of 2015. While seniors at the University of Chicago, they came up with the idea of using protein rich mealworms as a way to reduce protein deficiency in communities affected by malnutrition. Not only are mealworms incredibly cost-effective to grow and more affordable than livestock, they are also much better for the environment. Mealworms require 2000 times less water than cows, and produce 12 times fewer greenhouse gas emissions. And most importantly, 80% of the world already eats insects. By providing trainings on how to turn mealworms into a protein rich powder, MealFlour makes it easy for people to incorporate more protein into existing local dishes.

Gabrielle, Elizabeth, and Joyce are currently working in the western highlands of Guatemala, where the rate of chronic malnutrition in many communities is over 70%. Their partnerships with the NGOs Primeros Pasos and PEILE have allowed them to reach over 60 people with their training program, which teaches people how to build mealworm farms, take care of mealworms, and harvest and turn the mealworms into a healthy and nutritious protein powder.

The feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive, and several communities have asked MealFlour to bring their program to them. That is why the group is currently holding a crowdfunding campaign. They are working to raise $25,000 so that they can bring their training program to all interested communities. MealFlour helps families grow their own affordable source of protein, and also provides families with another source of income because they can sell any extra mealworm flour to local bakeries and markets. By working to improve health and economic opportunities with an environmentally friendly program, MealFlour is helping to bring about positive and sustainable change.

For information on how to donate to their program, please visit:


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