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Community Biochar Projects: What you Can Do

Biochar is an ancient tradtional agricultural technique that has been used by cultures in the Amazon, Africa, Japan, China and many other places. Today, communities all over the globe are reviving this tradition and experimenting with making and using biochar. Get involved and see what you can do in your community. There are lots of resources right here on the IBI site.

2015 is the United Nations International Year of Soils

IYOSThe International Year of Soils (IYS) 2015 is a year-long effort to highlight the importance of healthy soils and to advocate for sustainable soil management. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations is implementing the IYS 2015 within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership and in collaboration with governments and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. The IYS 2015 goal is to raise awareness among civil society and decision makers and educate the public about the crucial role soils play in food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, essential ecosystem services, poverty alleviation, and sustainable development.

Many country-specific soil science societies will implement activities in their communities in support of the IYS 2015. Although biochar is not specifically named as part of the objectives of the IYS 2015, this year provides the biochar community a good opportunity to highlight biochar’s potential role in creating and maintaining healthy soils. IBI encourages regional biochar groups and biochar supporters to host local talks on biochar and soils and to reach out to media to highlight the role of biochar in sustaining soil health. We invite you to send us any information on your work in relation to the IYS 2015 for posting here. For more information on the IYS 2015, please see: http://www.fao.org/soils-2015/en

NASA Makes Biochar

One resource we highly recommend is this article with tips on making and using biochar from NASA, the US National Aeronautics and Space Agency.

See a video of the biochar making process by the Tidewater Builders Association here: http://youtu.be/uKSLbjHWyjA

Photo: From left, Doris Hamill from NASA and Jim Steward of Bluebird Gap Farm and Langley intern Adam Crockett fire up the pyrolyzer at Langley to make biochar. Credit: NASA

Interested in organizing a biochar event?

You don't have to wait for the next Global Work Party. Gather your family, friends and associates and plan a biochar work party or educational event. See below for 10 BIOCHAR EVENT IDEAS. SHARE your event details and pictures. NETWORK with others for help and ideas at Facebook, LinkedIn and the Biochar Yahoo groups. Scroll down for more information:

Visit the IBI Facebook page

 

Visit the Biochar groups on Linked In
 

Discuss Biochar at the Biochar Yahoo Groups
 

10 BIOCHAR EVENT IDEAS

 1. Plant a tree with biochar

 2. Plant a 350 banner in biochar

  • Find a piece of poor soil and outline the 350 logo.
  • Fill the outline with biochar and soil mixed together. Leave the plain soil around the outside.
  • Plant some seeds and watch it grow – the biochar-amended 350 logo will be bright and green!
  • For more help, download IBI's Technical Bulletin, Using biochar to create artwork in the landscape

3. Hold a Biochar BBQ - make biochar and cook food on biochar stoves

4. Incorporate biochar in a community garden

  • IBI has several publications that can help you test biochar in your soils and growing conditions: see the
    Guide to Conducting Biochar Trials and our short technical bulletins.
  • See the SeaChar community garden project for an example.

5. Set up a biochar experiment to test biochar in pots

  • IBI has several publications that can help you test biochar in your soils and growing conditions:
    see the Guide to Conducting Biochar Trials and our short technical bulletins.
  • Visit the IBI site and read the Project Profiles for ideas about how others have conducted biochar experiments.
  • Start a biochar experiment at your school - visit the Biochar in Schools page to see the biochar experiments that young people have been doing. Start a project at your local school.

6. Sponsor a biochar stove making workshop

7. Conduct a survey of  waste feedstock that could be used to make biochar in your area

8. Hold a biochar meeting to educate people about the potential of biochar

  • Download biochar fact sheets from the IBI website to share with your group
  • Invite a biochar expert to speak to your group
  • Form a biochar regional group and commit to further learning and biochar projects

9. Hold a biochar action party to write letters and articles urging action on climate change and biochar.

  • Gather your friends on 10-10-10 and get out your pens, paper, and computers.
  • Politicians take special note of individual letters from constituents, including handwritten ones.
  • The letters-to-the-editor section is the most read part of your local newspaper. 
  • Perhaps your homeowners association, congregation or school has a newsletter where you could submit biochar articles.
  • Visit IBI’s policy page to research the status of biochar in many policy contexts.
  • Use IBI fact sheets, FAQs and other resources to write your letters and articles.
  • IBI's policy action page has a number of letter writing ideas on specific, current issues.

10. Showcase your Biochar Company or project

  • Are you part of company that makes biochar or biochar equipment? Hold an open house and educate the public about your products.
  • Donate some biochar to a community garden or a school.