The Biochar Community

Today Rich and I went to the 9th Annual Seed Celebration & Sustainable Community Fair in Alstead, NH.  We found out about it from Doug Clayton (who was doing a biochar demonstration there) earlier in the week.  We had met Doug at the Biochar Symposium at UMass Amherst in October.   The biochar community is still relatively small, and he lives not too far away from us, so it was natural for us to meet up.  Anyway, he was going to be near here and reached out, interested to see our operation.  After the event in Alstead, Doug and his good friend Dr. Hugh McLaughlin, stopped by.  Doug and Hugh are pioneers in biochar movement, so it was an honor to have them here.  Doug has a couple videos on Youtube showing how to make biochar.  Here is one.  Here is the other.  While they were here, I picked up several useful bits of information about biochar.

Dr. Hugh McLaughlin and Doug Clayton.

Dr. Hugh McLaughlin and Doug Clayton.

Speaking of small community, independent of today's activities, we arranged for Dr. Jeff Licht to come here this coming week to conduct a biochar experiment.  We will be working to quantify the biochar mass and heat output of cardboard.  Jeff happens to be a research partner with Hugh.  I am anxious to meet and work with Jeff, as it has already been very enjoyable engaging with him on the phone and via email.  The entire biochar community that we've met so far has generally been quite helpful, encouraging, welcoming, and generous of their time and knowledge.  We feel humbled and excited to be a small part of the movement to help turn around the unsustainable practices that have evolved in our culture.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the keynote speaker at today's event.  Dave Jacke presented one of the most engaging and enjoyable presentations that I've ever seen.  His topic was Ecological Culture Design: A Holistic View.  Dave is an award-winning author on the subjects of ecology and permaculture.  "Holistic" was an understatement.  His approach to ecology and permaculture, not merely from a scientific and agricultural point of view, but from a psychological/social/spiritual viewpoint, was completely captivating.  I highly encourage everyone that can, to avail themselves of any opportunity they have to hear him speak.  We were so impressed that Rich and I bought both volumes of his seminal work: Edible Forest Gardens.     Steve