Tuesdays at 21: Creating Clean Energy and Building Healthy Soils

Tuesdays at 21: Creating Clean Energy and Building Healthy Soils

  • posted on: May 6, 2015
  • posted by: 21 Acres
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“Despite their artistic pretensions, sophistication, and many accomplishments, humans owe their existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.”

~ Anonymous

April’s Tuesdays at 21 presentation was led by David McInturff, Board member of Seachar. He also helps expand the education and practice of using biochar at Morethana Farm in Woodinville. If you’ve stopped by the 21 Acres Farm Market lately, you may have seen the farm stove in use and some of its by-products like biochar and tooth and hand soap.

The Estufa Finca (farm stove) Project started in Costa Rica to introduce biochar and the carbon-negative biomass energy technology to create clean energy and to build healthy soils in local farmland communities. Much of the world relies on fossil fuels and coal-burning energy, but the farm stove is a sustainable tool that eliminates the harmful impacts of climate change in agricultural settings and provides many other services, ecologically and economically. The farm stove can be made from recycled or inexpensive materials which makes it accessible for anyone in the world.

Take a look at the graphic below. Globally, biochar is used in so many ways from cooking and reducing odor in compost, to improving soil fertility and tilth. The use of the farm stove started in Costa Rica because of their diverse ecosystem, but how can the use of biochar and the farm stove benefit farmland in the Pacific Northwest? One use is to simply utilize the farm stove as an alternative waste stream for carbon-dense materials such as wood, but the fact that only 1 gram of biochar, basically the size of a pencil eraser, can be used to cover 9,000 square feet of surface area is an amazing top layer for growing food. Biochar is one of the oldest new technologies that can adapt to reducing the harmful impacts of climate change and everyone can benefit from its use and byproducts.

biochar benefits






Additional Resources including websites, products, educational videos, and more:

Be sure to register for the Tuesdays at 21 presentation next month, May 26th starting at 7pm on the topic of “Seeking Energy Independence.” 21 Acres’ Pat Park and homeowner, Steve Wright, will lead a tour of an operating solar panel system next door to 21 Acres.  The company who installed the panels, NW Electric & Solar, will have a representative available to answer questions, too.  There will be a presentation following the tour and a demonstration of a small DIY solar project anyone try at home.

— Aaron