Thursday, November 12, 2009

Know Your Vegetables - Biochar on Monday Nov. 16th at Brix Bounty Farm

It's been awhile...Join us for another installment of Know Your Vegetables on Monday November 16th, 6:30 PM at Brix Bounty Farm.

Katie and I are heading out to Amherst tomorrow for the Northeast Biochar Symposium 2009; should be a terrific day hearing from the leaders in the field from the Northeast and beyond. On Monday night we'll host a low-key Know Your Vegetables session focusing on Biochar production/use in small scale agriculture. Biochar - the potential for carbon sequestration, increasing nutrient holding capacity, and creating more biologically active soils are tremendous. We'll discuss these potentials and hopefully shed a bit more light on the subject. For a basic introduction I would refer you to a Brix Bounty Blog post from August 2008.

Biochar has received a bit more attention this year, as many have been drawn to its potential role in future carbon sequestration. I don't think we'll be able to solve the debate about the role of large scale biochar production and application, but perhaps we can delve into its potential for small-scale production and use. There are a couple of individuals on the Cape at New England Biochar; who we will invite to a workshop in the area come springtime. Monday's conversation will focus on the basics, biochar resources, and more. We are in the process of looking into a small scale retort to process our own biochar on the Southcoast, if this interests you please be in touch.

Also a reminder, our winter study starts the following Monday with Small is Beautiful; there is still space to register (which is free) so let me know if you would like to join the group.

3 comments:

Erich J. Knight said...

Have fun at the conference, wish I could attend. So Much happening now.

All political persuasions agree, building soil carbon is GOOD.
To Hard bitten Farmers, wary of carbon regulations that only increase their costs, Building soil carbon is a savory bone, to do well while doing good.

Biochar provides the tool powerful enough to cover Farming's carbon foot print while lowering cost simultaneously.

Another significant aspect of bichar is removal of BC aerosols by low cost ($3) Biomass cook stoves that produce char but no respiratory disease emissions. At Scale, replacing "Three Stone" stoves the health benefits would equal eradication of Malaria.
http://terrapretapot.org/ and village level systems http://biocharfund.org/
The Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF).recently funded The Biochar Fund $300K for these systems citing these priorities;
(1) Hunger amongst the world's poorest people, the subsistence farmers of Sub-Saharan Africa,
(2) Deforestation resulting from a reliance on slash-and-burn farming,
(3) Energy poverty and a lack of access to clean, renewable energy, and
(4) Climate change.

The Biochar Fund :
Exceptional results from biochar experiment in Cameroon
http://scitizen.com/screens/blogPage/viewBlog/sw_viewBlog.php?idTheme=14&idContribution=3011

http://www.carboncommentary.com/2009/10/01/761/comment-page-1#comment-2558

The broad smiles of 1500 subsistence farmers say it all ( that , and the size of the Biochar corn root balls )
http://biocharfund.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=55&Itemid=75

Mark my words;
Given the potential for Laurens Rademaker's programs to grow exponentialy, only a short time lies between This man's nomination for a Noble Prize.


This authoritative PNAS article should cause the recent Royal Society Report to rethink their criticism of Biochar systems of Soil carbon sequestration;

Reducing abrupt climate change risk using
the Montreal Protocol and other regulatory
actions to complement cuts in CO2 emissions
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/10/09/0902568106.full.pdf+html


There are dozens soil researchers on the subject now at USDA-ARS.
and many studies at The up coming ASA-CSSA-SSSA joint meeting;
http://a-c-s.confex.com/crops/2009am/webprogram/Session5675.html



Senator Baucus is co-sponsoring a bill along with Senator Tester (D-MT) called WE CHAR. Water Efficiency via Carbon Harvesting and Restoration Act! It focuses on promoting biochar technology to address invasive species and forest biomass. It includes grants and loans for biochar market research and development, biochar characterization and environmental analyses. It directs USDI and USDA to provide loan guarantees for biochar technologies and on-the-ground production with an emphasis on biomass from public lands. And the USGS is to do biomas availability assessments.
WashingtonWatch.com - S. 1713, The Water Efficiency via Carbon Harvesting and Restoration (WECHAR) Act of 2009

Individual and groups can show support for WECHAR by signing online at:
www.biocharmatters.org
http://www.biocharmatters.org/


Congressional Research Service report (by analyst Kelsi Bracmort) is the best short summary I have seen so far - both technical and policy oriented.
http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/R40186_20090203.pdf .

United Nations Environment Programme, Climate Change Science Compendium 2009
http://www.unep.org/compendium2009/


Endorsements;
Bill Clinton said Biochar;
Mantria Industries inducted in Clinton Global Intuitive
http://www.mantria.com/eg_presidential_video.shtml

Al Gore got the CO2 absorption thing wrong, ( at NABC Vilsack did same), but his focus on Soil Carbon is right on;
http://www.newsweek.com/id/220552/page/3

Research:
The future of biochar - Project Rainbow Bee Eater
http://www.sciencealert.com.au/features/20090211-20142.html

Japan Biochar Association ;
http://www.geocities.jp/yasizato/pioneer.htm


Carbon to the Soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it.
Cheers,
Erich

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landboy09 said...

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They have a great discount for Christmas on the book at the moment.

Check it out. It was a great help in opening my mind to issues that affect us all.