Marcellina’s Baskets

September 2012



Jacob Schor, ND, FABNO


Our neighbor Marcellina sell baskets. She's sells them in order to help her village.  She and her husband Albert grew up in Uganda.  By an odd twist of fate, they now live on our block of Eudora Street, justa few houses north of us. 


Both Marcellina and Albert are deeply committed to helping their families and their countrymen still living in Uganda.  Over the years we have watched them spearhead a multitude of projects, from building schools and collecting textbooks, to buying computers and software. Last night they shared with me, their current most exciting dream. 


They have gotten involved in the peanut butter crusade.  That’s my name for it.  A number of years back a French company developed a food supplement based on peanut butter, powdered milk, vegetable oil and vitamin supplements that proved extraordinarily efficacious in treating malnourished children. 


Peanut butter supplements are not only more effective than the IV feeding treatments that are typically used, they can be administered in a home setting, don't require sterile conditions and are very low cost.  Manufacture requires little in the way of modern technology.  In other words, the product can be made locally in Uganda and other impoverished places from locally grown peanuts.  An excellent NY Times article published in 2010 dscribes in detail the potential of these products along with the politics surrounding their manufacture.  The French company Nutriset that owns the patent for these products has been reticient in sharing the product with non-profit aid groups.

Marcellina and Albert's Ugandan company, Lapit Foodlines, is a community based organization, founded to address the challenge of rampant child malnutrition in northern Uganda.  While legally Lapit Foodlines cannot use the name of the French product because the patent-holder Nutriset, maker of Plumpynut, prohibits it.  Instead Marcellina and Albert’s company Lapit Foods is manufacturing a peanut butter paste named Odii Pit.

I will skip the stories that Marcellina and Albert shared with us about how difficult this project has become, the repeated instances of needing to “grease” bureaucrats to import equipment, ingredients, get permits etc.  Marcellina’s hope is to employ women in her village making the peanut butter supplement and then distribute it to health clinics in Northeastern Uganda, in particular, the Karimoja region, where in her words, “The need is great.”


This brings me to Marcellina’s baskets.  Each time Marcellina and Albert return from Uganda they come home with baskets that she sells here in Denver to raise money.


We helingp Marcellina sell her baskets this year. 

You are going to notice something different next time you come to the office. 


These are Marcellina’s baskets.  We are selling them for her.  While Marcellina’s asking prices are reasonable, don't be surprised if our lovely receptionist Erin asks if you, “would like to pay a little more than Marcellina's asking price?” We think they are underpriced.  Whether you pay Marcellina's price or a bit more, all proceeds will go to fulfilling Marcellina’s peanut butter dream.


The New York Times article on “The Peanut Solution”:


Basket Pictures: Examples of Marcellina's baskets.  They are selling rather quickly so we are setting up a separate page on which we will try to keep pictures of our current inventory along with prices.  go to [Baskets page 2]