Nutrition expert examines ways to improve food processing in rural Malawi

Human nutrition expert and researcher Dorothy Blair will present “Food Processing with Malawian Village Women: Steps out of Servitude” at noon, on January 21, in Foster Auditorium, first floor, Paterno Library. The event is free and open to the public and can also be viewed online.


Blair… was in Malawi with USAID

Blair was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines before receiving advanced degrees in human nutrition from Cornell University. She recently retired from Penn State University after 32 years as a faculty in the Nutritional Sciences Department, where she focused on food security and food processing. This presentation will highlight her third trip to Southern and East Africa to work on local food security issues.

“As a volunteer for USAID’s Farmer to Farmer Program, I recently worked with Malawian village women—members of a 15-village community based organization called Kurya Ndiko Uku. My job was to nutritionally improve and add value to their agricultural crop food processing,” says Blair.

“Baked products are the women’s major money-making venture, along with sewing hand-bags. This seminar describes how we learned together, with frequent bouts of singing and dancing, to reduce costs and tweak recipes by improving methods and incorporating soy milk, soy mash and seasonally available grains and fruits.” Blair says that cooking was done either on three rocks or baked in ingenious wood-fired ovens. She notes that the introduction of firewood-conserving hot-baskets reduced both local deforestation and time spent by women gathering firewood and tending a smoky fire.
This presentation is the latest in a series of seminars cosponsored by the Interinstitutional Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge and the Penn State University Libraries. For more information and for links to previous seminars, go to If you anticipate needing accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, contact Helen Sheehy, head of the Social Sciences and Maps Libraries, at 814-863-1347/