Monthly Archives:September 2012

Biochar: The New Compost? – from our friends at Holstee

Biochar: the new compost?

This post from our friends at Holstee discusses our parent company, The Biochar Company, and some of our vision and initiative. Original post can be found here:

The Holstee folks are famous for their Holstee manifesto, which went viral last year and has inspired literally millions of people:


And now, we resume our originally scheduled programming:

“We believe biochar will be for the 21st century what compost was for the 20th century.”

This statement comes from Jeff Wallin, a co-founder and managing partner at The Biochar Company. While compost is one beautiful way of enriching our soil and giving back to the earth (not to mention brings back a fond memory or two of a science project for biology class), Wallin asserts that biochar presents a better future for our soil, a resource on which we all so openly and collectively depend. However, Wallin also declares that biochar alone is not the answer, and biochar
and compost work very synergistically together.

So what is biochar? Basically, this form of charcoal, which is intentionally made for use in soils, is the result of heating leftover natural materials (such as corn husks, farm manure, etc.) and can be used to help improve our soil’s fertile properties, all while sequestering carbon.

The Biochar Company describes this asset as an original Amazonian secret, now recently brought back and tirelessly taking the journey to rejuvenate ”tired soils in Australia, Africa, and in the U.S., by contributing much-needed soil carbon, creating a structure for microorganisms-making soil literally more alive-and acting as a sponge for nutrients and water. That carbon stays in the soil, safely sequestered where it belongs, for up to hundreds of years.” Recent studies have proven that biochar-enriched soil has shown an increase in crop yields anywhere from 15 to 200 percent! In some cases where soil was particularly depleted, sometimes show an improvement up to 800%! Talk about GROWTH!

The Biochar Company’s newest addition is Biochar Bob, tagged as the spokesperson for CAFT, the Char Alliance for the First Tier, and all-around advocate for biochar throughout the globe. CAFT is an alliance of organizations dedicated to bringing the benefits of biochar to where it’s needed most: in the developing world. Current projects are focused in Uganda, Haiti, and Costa Rica. “Biochar Bob’s mission is to tell the biochar story, through the people, the places, the reasons, and the results related to biochar’s development and use around the world.” Bob’s ability to simplify and explain biochar’s benefits make it easier for us to understand the importance of caring for our soil to keep our farms, forests, and waste management endeavors all sustainable, profitable environments. Check out Bob’s visit to Hawaii here.

For more info on The Biochar Company, Jeff Wallin, and Biochar Bob, go here. For a Biochar 101, see The Biochar Company co-founder Lopa’s TEDx talk here. To try biochar in your own garden, go here. Also find them on Facebook and Twitter!

by Helen Papadopoulos