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Organic can feed the World

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  • Dieter Brand
    Study of Rodale Institute shows that: Not only can organic agriculture feed the world, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in a report released
    Message 1 of 18 , Jan 11, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      Study of Rodale Institute shows that:

      "Not only can organic agriculture feed the world, according to the UN
      Environment Programme (UNEP) in a report released in October, it may
      be the only way we can solve the growing problem of hunger in
      developing countries."

      "With the evidence of the benefits and market viability of organic
      farming well-established, and the environmental damage from
      conventional farming so clearly threatening global security, the
      obvious question is not whether regenerative organic farming can
      produce yields comparable to conventional agricultural methods.
      Instead, we must ask, where is the leadership and political will to
      implement the agricultural policy and practice that can feed the
      world?"

      "The benefits of regenerative organic farming are scientifically
      documented and compelling. To provide these available benefits for
      food security, soil regeneration, and global climate change, we must
      get Organic Green Revolution farming information and technology to
      farmers in every nation, so that they can apply these sustainable,
      low- and local input techniques with the greatest possible success."

      Read full article at:

      http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/files/GreenRevUP.pdf

      Selected excerpts relating to recent discussions on this list
      (_underlining_ by me):

      "Organic farming methods are regenerative because they _restore
      nutrients_ and carbon to the soil, resulting in _higher nutrient
      density_ in crops and increased yields." …

      "By contrast, _chemically-based degenerative farming_ systems lead to
      declines in resource abundance and environmental quality, leaving
      natural systems in worse shape than they were originally by _depleting
      soils and damaging the environment_. Because regenerative organic
      agriculture uses local and regional resources in natural systems, even
      small-scale farmers can be self-sufficient – a great benefit to the
      farmers and their local customers seeking fresh, nutritious food."

      "Conventional Green Revolution practices using petroleum-based and
      chemical inputs have been shown to _cause continual loss of soil
      nutrients, soil organic matter and food nutrient content_. These
      practices consume vast quantities of natural resources to prepare,
      distribute, and apply fossil fuel inputs, and can justly be defined as
      degenerative farming." …

      "In the developing world, _organic yields vastly surpass_ yields from
      conventional agriculture by ratios of nearly 1.6 to 4.00. Worldwide
      across all foodstuffs, organic ratios outperform conventional
      agriculture by 1:3."

      "The researchers concluded that organic farming can produce enough
      food to feed the world without increasing the agricultural land base."

      "In Rodale Institute's Farming Systems Trial(R) (FST) – the longest
      running side by side research study of organic and conventional
      methods – researchers have found that organically-grown corn and
      soybeans are more resistant to drought, outperforming conventional
      crops by 30% and 50% -100% respectively. Under organic farming, the
      soil organic matter captures and retains more water in the crop root
      zone. Water capture in organic fields can also be 100% higher than in
      conventional fields during torrential rains. The resilience of organic
      fields in both extremely wet and extremely dry weather conditions
      speaks to its capability to create more food security in the climate
      crisis of erratic and extreme weather."

      "Worldwide, 1.9 billion hectares are significantly degraded. Soils are
      less fertile, erosion has greatly increased, and breakdowns in
      agro-ecological functions have resulted in poor crop yields, land
      abandonment, and deforestation."

      "Furthermore, chemically-based conventional farming methods _lead to
      human health risks_. Pesticides have damaged wildlife, poisoned farm
      workers, and created long-term health problems such as cancers and
      birth defects (Lichtenberg, 1992). Even in the U.S., more than half of
      the nation's drinking water wells contained detectable amounts of
      nitrate and seven percent have detectable amounts of pesticides." …

      "Around the world, one- to five-million farm workers are estimated to
      _suffer pesticide poisoning_ every year, and at least 20,000 die
      annually from exposure, many of them in developing countries."

      "The United States is burdened with an estimated _$12 billion_ annual
      health and environmental cost from pesticide use, (Pimentel et al.
      2005) and estimated annual public and environmental health costs
      related to soil erosion of about _$45 billion_ (Pimentel et al. 1995).
      But the damage transcends environmental soil loss. What cannot be
      economically calculated is the cost of _destroying future generations'
      ability to produce enough food for their survival_."

      "The problem is that agricultural erosion through overuse,
      undernourishment, and chemical inputs that damage the natural, healthy
      and helpful biological activity in the soil has overwhelmed nature's
      soil productive capacity. The net result has been the shrinking of our
      global soil resource base and degradation of our natural resources."

      "Biologically alive soil provides more structure, preventing erosion;
      more permeability and aeration for healthier microorganism growth; and
      more availability of nutrients that are vital for healthy plant growth
      and productivity. Regenerative systems that feed the soil are the best
      agricultural strategy."

      … "Unfortunately, compaction is just one, relatively small piece in a
      mosaic of interrelated
      problems afflicting soils all over the planet. In the developing
      world, far more arable land is being lost to human-induced erosion and
      desertification, directly affecting the lives of 250 million people. …
      humankind has degraded more than 7.5 million square miles of land."

      "TO HALT THE LOSS OF ORGANIC MATTER, ARTIFICIAL FERTILIZERS NEED TO BE
      REMOVED FROM THE FARMING PRACTICE AND SOIL NEEDS TO BE COVERED YEAR
      ROUND. … "

      "Rodale Institute's FST shows that we can gain about 1,000 pounds of
      carbon per acre per year with cover cropping and crop rotation under
      organic management. This is about _three to ten times the sustained
      carbon gain from standard no-till_ planting for corn or soybeans. … A
      biological no-till system which combines reduced tillage with
      intensive cover crops and rotation does an even better job in
      enhancing creation of soil organic carbon by a level of 3- to 7- fold
      making conservation tillage a poor stepsister to organic methods."

      "Healthy soil from regenerative organic agriculture systems is the
      life-giving medium, the 'secret-sauce' for agricultural quality,
      productivity, restoration of environmental degradation, and human
      health through more nutrient-dense food."

      "Principle Number One: Build soil organic matter through the use of
      cover crops, crop rotation, and compost.
      Principle Number Two: Improve ecosystem health and human nutrition
      through plant and animal biodiversity."
    • Michael Meredith
      It is also found that adding charcoal to the soil binds more carbon from the air. A lot more. Michael ________________________________ From: Dieter Brand
      Message 2 of 18 , Jan 11, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        It is also found that adding charcoal to the soil binds more carbon from the air. A lot more.
        Michael




        ________________________________
        From: Dieter Brand <brand.dieter@...>
        To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sunday, January 11, 2009 4:16:54 PM
        Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Organic can feed the World

        Study of Rodale Institute shows that:

        "Not only can organic agriculture feed the world, according to the UN
        Environment Programme (UNEP) in a report released in October, it may
        be the only way we can solve the growing problem of hunger in
        developing countries."

        "With the evidence of the benefits and market viability of organic
        farming well-established, and the environmental damage from
        conventional farming so clearly threatening global security, the
        obvious question is not whether regenerative organic farming can
        produce yields comparable to conventional agricultural methods.
        Instead, we must ask, where is the leadership and political will to
        implement the agricultural policy and practice that can feed the
        world?"

        "The benefits of regenerative organic farming are scientifically
        documented and compelling. To provide these available benefits for
        food security, soil regeneration, and global climate change, we must
        get Organic Green Revolution farming information and technology to
        farmers in every nation, so that they can apply these sustainable,
        low- and local input techniques with the greatest possible success."

        Read full article at:

        http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/files/GreenRevUP.pdf

        Selected excerpts relating to recent discussions on this list
        (_underlining_ by me):

        "Organic farming methods are regenerative because they _restore
        nutrients_ and carbon to the soil, resulting in _higher nutrient
        density_ in crops and increased yields." �

        "By contrast, _chemically-based degenerative farming_ systems lead to
        declines in resource abundance and environmental quality, leaving
        natural systems in worse shape than they were originally by _depleting
        soils and damaging the environment_. Because regenerative organic
        agriculture uses local and regional resources in natural systems, even
        small-scale farmers can be self-sufficient � a great benefit to the
        farmers and their local customers seeking fresh, nutritious food."

        "Conventional Green Revolution practices using petroleum-based and
        chemical inputs have been shown to _cause continual loss of soil
        nutrients, soil organic matter and food nutrient content_. These
        practices consume vast quantities of natural resources to prepare,
        distribute, and apply fossil fuel inputs, and can justly be defined as
        degenerative farming." �

        "In the developing world, _organic yields vastly surpass_ yields from
        conventional agriculture by ratios of nearly 1.6 to 4.00. Worldwide
        across all foodstuffs, organic ratios outperform conventional
        agriculture by 1:3."

        "The researchers concluded that organic farming can produce enough
        food to feed the world without increasing the agricultural land base."

        "In Rodale Institute's Farming Systems Trial(R) (FST) � the longest
        running side by side research study of organic and conventional
        methods � researchers have found that organically-grown corn and
        soybeans are more resistant to drought, outperforming conventional
        crops by 30% and 50% -100% respectively. Under organic farming, the
        soil organic matter captures and retains more water in the crop root
        zone. Water capture in organic fields can also be 100% higher than in
        conventional fields during torrential rains. The resilience of organic
        fields in both extremely wet and extremely dry weather conditions
        speaks to its capability to create more food security in the climate
        crisis of erratic and extreme weather."

        "Worldwide, 1.9 billion hectares are significantly degraded. Soils are
        less fertile, erosion has greatly increased, and breakdowns in
        agro-ecological functions have resulted in poor crop yields, land
        abandonment, and deforestation."

        "Furthermore, chemically-based conventional farming methods _lead to
        human health risks_. Pesticides have damaged wildlife, poisoned farm
        workers, and created long-term health problems such as cancers and
        birth defects (Lichtenberg, 1992). Even in the U.S., more than half of
        the nation's drinking water wells contained detectable amounts of
        nitrate and seven percent have detectable amounts of pesticides." �

        "Around the world, one- to five-million farm workers are estimated to
        _suffer pesticide poisoning_ every year, and at least 20,000 die
        annually from exposure, many of them in developing countries."

        "The United States is burdened with an estimated _$12 billion_ annual
        health and environmental cost from pesticide use, (Pimentel et al.
        2005) and estimated annual public and environmental health costs
        related to soil erosion of about _$45 billion_ (Pimentel et al. 1995).
        But the damage transcends environmental soil loss. What cannot be
        economically calculated is the cost of _destroying future generations'
        ability to produce enough food for their survival_."

        "The problem is that agricultural erosion through overuse,
        undernourishment, and chemical inputs that damage the natural, healthy
        and helpful biological activity in the soil has overwhelmed nature's
        soil productive capacity. The net result has been the shrinking of our
        global soil resource base and degradation of our natural resources."

        "Biologically alive soil provides more structure, preventing erosion;
        more permeability and aeration for healthier microorganism growth; and
        more availability of nutrients that are vital for healthy plant growth
        and productivity. Regenerative systems that feed the soil are the best
        agricultural strategy."

        � "Unfortunately, compaction is just one, relatively small piece in a
        mosaic of interrelated
        problems afflicting soils all over the planet. In the developing
        world, far more arable land is being lost to human-induced erosion and
        desertification, directly affecting the lives of 250 million people. �
        humankind has degraded more than 7.5 million square miles of land."

        "TO HALT THE LOSS OF ORGANIC MATTER, ARTIFICIAL FERTILIZERS NEED TO BE
        REMOVED FROM THE FARMING PRACTICE AND SOIL NEEDS TO BE COVERED YEAR
        ROUND. � "

        "Rodale Institute's FST shows that we can gain about 1,000 pounds of
        carbon per acre per year with cover cropping and crop rotation under
        organic management. This is about _three to ten times the sustained
        carbon gain from standard no-till_ planting for corn or soybeans. � A
        biological no-till system which combines reduced tillage with
        intensive cover crops and rotation does an even better job in
        enhancing creation of soil organic carbon by a level of 3- to 7- fold
        making conservation tillage a poor stepsister to organic methods."

        "Healthy soil from regenerative organic agriculture systems is the
        life-giving medium, the 'secret-sauce' for agricultural quality,
        productivity, restoration of environmental degradation, and human
        health through more nutrient-dense food."

        "Principle Number One: Build soil organic matter through the use of
        cover crops, crop rotation, and compost.
        Principle Number Two: Improve ecosystem health and human nutrition
        through plant and animal biodiversity."

        ------------------------------------

        Yahoo! Groups Links



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Raju Titus
        Dear Dieter, What is the difference in regenerative organic farming and no-till organic farming ? This institute is advocating no till organic farming. In
        Message 3 of 18 , Jan 11, 2009
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          Dear Dieter,
          What is the difference in regenerative organic farming and no-till organic
          farming ? This institute is advocating no till organic farming. In this way
          they are using rollers to press weeds and crop residues and sowing seeds
          with the help of zero tillage seed drill.
          Thanks
          Raju Titus


          On 1/11/09, Dieter Brand <brand.dieter@...> wrote:
          >
          > Study of Rodale Institute shows that:
          >
          > "Not only can organic agriculture feed the world, according to the UN
          > Environment Programme (UNEP) in a report released in October, it may
          > be the only way we can solve the growing problem of hunger in
          > developing countries."
          >
          > "With the evidence of the benefits and market viability of organic
          > farming well-established, and the environmental damage from
          > conventional farming so clearly threatening global security, the
          > obvious question is not whether regenerative organic farming can
          > produce yields comparable to conventional agricultural methods.
          > Instead, we must ask, where is the leadership and political will to
          > implement the agricultural policy and practice that can feed the
          > world?"
          >
          > "The benefits of regenerative organic farming are scientifically
          > documented and compelling. To provide these available benefits for
          > food security, soil regeneration, and global climate change, we must
          > get Organic Green Revolution farming information and technology to
          > farmers in every nation, so that they can apply these sustainable,
          > low- and local input techniques with the greatest possible success."
          >
          > Read full article at:
          >
          > http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/files/GreenRevUP.pdf
          >
          > Selected excerpts relating to recent discussions on this list
          > (_underlining_ by me):
          >
          > "Organic farming methods are regenerative because they _restore
          > nutrients_ and carbon to the soil, resulting in _higher nutrient
          > density_ in crops and increased yields." �
          >
          > "By contrast, _chemically-based degenerative farming_ systems lead to
          > declines in resource abundance and environmental quality, leaving
          > natural systems in worse shape than they were originally by _depleting
          > soils and damaging the environment_. Because regenerative organic
          > agriculture uses local and regional resources in natural systems, even
          > small-scale farmers can be self-sufficient � a great benefit to the
          > farmers and their local customers seeking fresh, nutritious food."
          >
          > "Conventional Green Revolution practices using petroleum-based and
          > chemical inputs have been shown to _cause continual loss of soil
          > nutrients, soil organic matter and food nutrient content_. These
          > practices consume vast quantities of natural resources to prepare,
          > distribute, and apply fossil fuel inputs, and can justly be defined as
          > degenerative farming." �
          >
          > "In the developing world, _organic yields vastly surpass_ yields from
          > conventional agriculture by ratios of nearly 1.6 to 4.00. Worldwide
          > across all foodstuffs, organic ratios outperform conventional
          > agriculture by 1:3."
          >
          > "The researchers concluded that organic farming can produce enough
          > food to feed the world without increasing the agricultural land base."
          >
          > "In Rodale Institute's Farming Systems Trial(R) (FST) � the longest
          > running side by side research study of organic and conventional
          > methods � researchers have found that organically-grown corn and
          > soybeans are more resistant to drought, outperforming conventional
          > crops by 30% and 50% -100% respectively. Under organic farming, the
          > soil organic matter captures and retains more water in the crop root
          > zone. Water capture in organic fields can also be 100% higher than in
          > conventional fields during torrential rains. The resilience of organic
          > fields in both extremely wet and extremely dry weather conditions
          > speaks to its capability to create more food security in the climate
          > crisis of erratic and extreme weather."
          >
          > "Worldwide, 1.9 billion hectares are significantly degraded. Soils are
          > less fertile, erosion has greatly increased, and breakdowns in
          > agro-ecological functions have resulted in poor crop yields, land
          > abandonment, and deforestation."
          >
          > "Furthermore, chemically-based conventional farming methods _lead to
          > human health risks_. Pesticides have damaged wildlife, poisoned farm
          > workers, and created long-term health problems such as cancers and
          > birth defects (Lichtenberg, 1992). Even in the U.S., more than half of
          > the nation's drinking water wells contained detectable amounts of
          > nitrate and seven percent have detectable amounts of pesticides." �
          >
          > "Around the world, one- to five-million farm workers are estimated to
          > _suffer pesticide poisoning_ every year, and at least 20,000 die
          > annually from exposure, many of them in developing countries."
          >
          > "The United States is burdened with an estimated _$12 billion_ annual
          > health and environmental cost from pesticide use, (Pimentel et al.
          > 2005) and estimated annual public and environmental health costs
          > related to soil erosion of about _$45 billion_ (Pimentel et al. 1995).
          > But the damage transcends environmental soil loss. What cannot be
          > economically calculated is the cost of _destroying future generations'
          > ability to produce enough food for their survival_."
          >
          > "The problem is that agricultural erosion through overuse,
          > undernourishment, and chemical inputs that damage the natural, healthy
          > and helpful biological activity in the soil has overwhelmed nature's
          > soil productive capacity. The net result has been the shrinking of our
          > global soil resource base and degradation of our natural resources."
          >
          > "Biologically alive soil provides more structure, preventing erosion;
          > more permeability and aeration for healthier microorganism growth; and
          > more availability of nutrients that are vital for healthy plant growth
          > and productivity. Regenerative systems that feed the soil are the best
          > agricultural strategy."
          >
          > � "Unfortunately, compaction is just one, relatively small piece in a
          > mosaic of interrelated
          > problems afflicting soils all over the planet. In the developing
          > world, far more arable land is being lost to human-induced erosion and
          > desertification, directly affecting the lives of 250 million people. �
          > humankind has degraded more than 7.5 million square miles of land."
          >
          > "TO HALT THE LOSS OF ORGANIC MATTER, ARTIFICIAL FERTILIZERS NEED TO BE
          > REMOVED FROM THE FARMING PRACTICE AND SOIL NEEDS TO BE COVERED YEAR
          > ROUND. � "
          >
          > "Rodale Institute's FST shows that we can gain about 1,000 pounds of
          > carbon per acre per year with cover cropping and crop rotation under
          > organic management. This is about _three to ten times the sustained
          > carbon gain from standard no-till_ planting for corn or soybeans. � A
          > biological no-till system which combines reduced tillage with
          > intensive cover crops and rotation does an even better job in
          > enhancing creation of soil organic carbon by a level of 3- to 7- fold
          > making conservation tillage a poor stepsister to organic methods."
          >
          > "Healthy soil from regenerative organic agriculture systems is the
          > life-giving medium, the 'secret-sauce' for agricultural quality,
          > productivity, restoration of environmental degradation, and human
          > health through more nutrient-dense food."
          >
          > "Principle Number One: Build soil organic matter through the use of
          > cover crops, crop rotation, and compost.
          > Principle Number Two: Improve ecosystem health and human nutrition
          > through plant and animal biodiversity."
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Dieter Brand
          Raju, Rodale is probably the most important pioneer of organics in the US, comparable to Sir Albert in the UK, only a bit later in time. In this paper they
          Message 4 of 18 , Jan 12, 2009
          • 0 Attachment
            Raju,

            Rodale is probably the most important pioneer of organics in the US,
            comparable to Sir Albert in the UK, only a bit later in time. In this
            paper they distinguish between:

            1) Organic Farming (FST: long term Rodale trial) with plowing but
            without chemicals
            2) Standard No-Till (= conventional no-till) no plowing but with chemicals
            3) Biological No-Till (equal to organic no-till, similar to Fukuoka's
            continuous rice/clover/wheat cultivation) no plowing, no chemicals

            See also:

            "Rodale Institute's _FST_ shows that we can gain about 1,000 pounds of
            carbon per acre per year with cover cropping and crop rotation under
            organic management. This is about three to ten times the sustained
            carbon gain from _standard no-till_ planting for corn or soybeans. FST
            shows insignificant amounts of carbon are deposited in our
            conventional tillage corn and soybean rotations with chemical
            fertilizer and pesticide inputs. (Pimentel et al. 2005) A _biological
            no-till_ system which combines reduced tillage with intensive cover
            crops and rotation does an even better job in enhancing creation of
            soil organic carbon by a level of 3- to 7- fold making conservation
            tillage a poor stepsister to organic methods. (Hepperly et al. 2008)"

            "Regenerative farming", which builds soil by organic means (till or
            no-till), is the opposite of "conventional farming", which destroys
            soil by chemicals.

            In most papers on no-till in the US there is always a token mentioning
            of "3) biological or organic no-till", the fact is, however, that
            almost all no-till in the US is conventional no-till using 100's of
            thousands of tons of herbicides and other chemicals every year to
            destroy all soil life. That does not build soil life!

            Dieter Brand
            Portugal


            On 1/12/09, Raju Titus <rajuktitus@...> wrote:
            > Dear Dieter,
            > What is the difference in regenerative organic farming and no-till organic
            > farming ? This institute is advocating no till organic farming. In this way
            > they are using rollers to press weeds and crop residues and sowing seeds
            > with the help of zero tillage seed drill.
            > Thanks
            > Raju Titus
            >
            >
            > On 1/11/09, Dieter Brand <brand.dieter@...> wrote:
            >>
            >> Study of Rodale Institute shows that:
            >>
            >> "Not only can organic agriculture feed the world, according to the UN
            >> Environment Programme (UNEP) in a report released in October, it may
            >> be the only way we can solve the growing problem of hunger in
            >> developing countries."
            >>
            >> "With the evidence of the benefits and market viability of organic
            >> farming well-established, and the environmental damage from
            >> conventional farming so clearly threatening global security, the
            >> obvious question is not whether regenerative organic farming can
            >> produce yields comparable to conventional agricultural methods.
            >> Instead, we must ask, where is the leadership and political will to
            >> implement the agricultural policy and practice that can feed the
            >> world?"
            >>
            >> "The benefits of regenerative organic farming are scientifically
            >> documented and compelling. To provide these available benefits for
            >> food security, soil regeneration, and global climate change, we must
            >> get Organic Green Revolution farming information and technology to
            >> farmers in every nation, so that they can apply these sustainable,
            >> low- and local input techniques with the greatest possible success."
            >>
            >> Read full article at:
            >>
            >> http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/files/GreenRevUP.pdf
            >>
            >> Selected excerpts relating to recent discussions on this list
            >> (_underlining_ by me):
            >>
            >> "Organic farming methods are regenerative because they _restore
            >> nutrients_ and carbon to the soil, resulting in _higher nutrient
            >> density_ in crops and increased yields." …
            >>
            >> "By contrast, _chemically-based degenerative farming_ systems lead to
            >> declines in resource abundance and environmental quality, leaving
            >> natural systems in worse shape than they were originally by _depleting
            >> soils and damaging the environment_. Because regenerative organic
            >> agriculture uses local and regional resources in natural systems, even
            >> small-scale farmers can be self-sufficient – a great benefit to the
            >> farmers and their local customers seeking fresh, nutritious food."
            >>
            >> "Conventional Green Revolution practices using petroleum-based and
            >> chemical inputs have been shown to _cause continual loss of soil
            >> nutrients, soil organic matter and food nutrient content_. These
            >> practices consume vast quantities of natural resources to prepare,
            >> distribute, and apply fossil fuel inputs, and can justly be defined as
            >> degenerative farming." …
            >>
            >> "In the developing world, _organic yields vastly surpass_ yields from
            >> conventional agriculture by ratios of nearly 1.6 to 4.00. Worldwide
            >> across all foodstuffs, organic ratios outperform conventional
            >> agriculture by 1:3."
            >>
            >> "The researchers concluded that organic farming can produce enough
            >> food to feed the world without increasing the agricultural land base."
            >>
            >> "In Rodale Institute's Farming Systems Trial(R) (FST) – the longest
            >> running side by side research study of organic and conventional
            >> methods – researchers have found that organically-grown corn and
            >> soybeans are more resistant to drought, outperforming conventional
            >> crops by 30% and 50% -100% respectively. Under organic farming, the
            >> soil organic matter captures and retains more water in the crop root
            >> zone. Water capture in organic fields can also be 100% higher than in
            >> conventional fields during torrential rains. The resilience of organic
            >> fields in both extremely wet and extremely dry weather conditions
            >> speaks to its capability to create more food security in the climate
            >> crisis of erratic and extreme weather."
            >>
            >> "Worldwide, 1.9 billion hectares are significantly degraded. Soils are
            >> less fertile, erosion has greatly increased, and breakdowns in
            >> agro-ecological functions have resulted in poor crop yields, land
            >> abandonment, and deforestation."
            >>
            >> "Furthermore, chemically-based conventional farming methods _lead to
            >> human health risks_. Pesticides have damaged wildlife, poisoned farm
            >> workers, and created long-term health problems such as cancers and
            >> birth defects (Lichtenberg, 1992). Even in the U.S., more than half of
            >> the nation's drinking water wells contained detectable amounts of
            >> nitrate and seven percent have detectable amounts of pesticides." …
            >>
            >> "Around the world, one- to five-million farm workers are estimated to
            >> _suffer pesticide poisoning_ every year, and at least 20,000 die
            >> annually from exposure, many of them in developing countries."
            >>
            >> "The United States is burdened with an estimated _$12 billion_ annual
            >> health and environmental cost from pesticide use, (Pimentel et al.
            >> 2005) and estimated annual public and environmental health costs
            >> related to soil erosion of about _$45 billion_ (Pimentel et al. 1995).
            >> But the damage transcends environmental soil loss. What cannot be
            >> economically calculated is the cost of _destroying future generations'
            >> ability to produce enough food for their survival_."
            >>
            >> "The problem is that agricultural erosion through overuse,
            >> undernourishment, and chemical inputs that damage the natural, healthy
            >> and helpful biological activity in the soil has overwhelmed nature's
            >> soil productive capacity. The net result has been the shrinking of our
            >> global soil resource base and degradation of our natural resources."
            >>
            >> "Biologically alive soil provides more structure, preventing erosion;
            >> more permeability and aeration for healthier microorganism growth; and
            >> more availability of nutrients that are vital for healthy plant growth
            >> and productivity. Regenerative systems that feed the soil are the best
            >> agricultural strategy."
            >>
            >> … "Unfortunately, compaction is just one, relatively small piece in a
            >> mosaic of interrelated
            >> problems afflicting soils all over the planet. In the developing
            >> world, far more arable land is being lost to human-induced erosion and
            >> desertification, directly affecting the lives of 250 million people. …
            >> humankind has degraded more than 7.5 million square miles of land."
            >>
            >> "TO HALT THE LOSS OF ORGANIC MATTER, ARTIFICIAL FERTILIZERS NEED TO BE
            >> REMOVED FROM THE FARMING PRACTICE AND SOIL NEEDS TO BE COVERED YEAR
            >> ROUND. … "
            >>
            >> "Rodale Institute's FST shows that we can gain about 1,000 pounds of
            >> carbon per acre per year with cover cropping and crop rotation under
            >> organic management. This is about _three to ten times the sustained
            >> carbon gain from standard no-till_ planting for corn or soybeans. … A
            >> biological no-till system which combines reduced tillage with
            >> intensive cover crops and rotation does an even better job in
            >> enhancing creation of soil organic carbon by a level of 3- to 7- fold
            >> making conservation tillage a poor stepsister to organic methods."
            >>
            >> "Healthy soil from regenerative organic agriculture systems is the
            >> life-giving medium, the 'secret-sauce' for agricultural quality,
            >> productivity, restoration of environmental degradation, and human
            >> health through more nutrient-dense food."
            >>
            >> "Principle Number One: Build soil organic matter through the use of
            >> cover crops, crop rotation, and compost.
            >> Principle Number Two: Improve ecosystem health and human nutrition
            >> through plant and animal biodiversity."
            >>
            >> ------------------------------------
            >>
            >> Yahoo! Groups Links
            >>
            >>
            >>
            >>
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
            > ------------------------------------
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
          • Harvest McCampbell
            Hi Michael, I am really curious why you brought up this idea of charcoal a few times . . . Charcoal is normally made from trees, which when living remove
            Message 5 of 18 , Jan 12, 2009
            • 0 Attachment
              Hi Michael,

              I am really curious why you brought up this idea of charcoal a few
              times . . .

              Charcoal is normally made from trees, which when living remove carbon
              from the air and produce organic matter that enriches soil. Most
              commercial sources of charcoal mix mashed wood charcoal with coal
              dust . . . not really something most of us would want to apply to our
              gardens.

              When the trees have been cut down to make charcoal, they are burnt in
              an oxygen deprived kiln or other container. This process releases
              carbon to the air. So we have now killed a tree that was fixing
              carbon, improving water and nutrient cycles, adding organic matter to
              the soil, and we have released some of its carbon into the air.

              Now, if this charcoal was the byproduct of some necessary process, and
              it was not contaminated, perhaps it would be a great thing for the
              garden, if one could get it for free and did not have to transport it
              long distances . . .

              But one could simply grow some trees, some grain, cover crops, or
              green manure and accomplish much the same thing . . .

              Harvest





              --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Michael Meredith
              <meredith848@...> wrote:
              >
              > It is also found that adding charcoal to the soil binds more carbon
              from the air. A lot more.
              > Michael
              >
              >
            • william maxwell
              Of note, I come from Los Angeles where burning is an annual occurence; thus any conversation regarding charcoal is of great interest to me.  It s not a fix-it
              Message 6 of 18 , Jan 12, 2009
              • 0 Attachment
                Of note, I come from Los Angeles where burning is an annual occurence; thus any conversation regarding charcoal is of great interest to me.  It's not a fix-it for all biomes but for certain ones (like mine), it may be the key to properly growing on the land.

                Best

                Bill Maxwell

                --- On Mon, 1/12/09, Harvest McCampbell <harvest95546@...> wrote:
                From: Harvest McCampbell <harvest95546@...>
                Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Organic / charcoal
                To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Monday, January 12, 2009, 3:58 PM











                Hi Michael,



                I am really curious why you brought up this idea of charcoal a few

                times . . .



                Charcoal is normally made from trees, which when living remove carbon

                from the air and produce organic matter that enriches soil. Most

                commercial sources of charcoal mix mashed wood charcoal with coal

                dust . . . not really something most of us would want to apply to our

                gardens.



                When the trees have been cut down to make charcoal, they are burnt in

                an oxygen deprived kiln or other container. This process releases

                carbon to the air. So we have now killed a tree that was fixing

                carbon, improving water and nutrient cycles, adding organic matter to

                the soil, and we have released some of its carbon into the air.



                Now, if this charcoal was the byproduct of some necessary process, and

                it was not contaminated, perhaps it would be a great thing for the

                garden, if one could get it for free and did not have to transport it

                long distances . . .



                But one could simply grow some trees, some grain, cover crops, or

                green manure and accomplish much the same thing . . .



                Harvest



                --- In fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com, Michael Meredith

                <meredith848@ ...> wrote:

                >

                > It is also found that adding charcoal to the soil binds more carbon

                from the air. A lot more.

                > Michael

                >

                >


























                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Harvest McCampbell
                Hi Bill . . . Perhaps some other folks will weigh in on this topic, but I am going to suggest a book to you, that I suggested to someone else today, on a
                Message 7 of 18 , Jan 12, 2009
                • 0 Attachment
                  Hi Bill . . .

                  Perhaps some other folks will weigh in on this topic, but I am going
                  to suggest a book to you, that I suggested to someone else today, on a
                  different topic.

                  Holistic Management, by Alan Savory, goes into this whole business of
                  burning to manage land and nutrient cycles. Turns out that it is more
                  often harmful than truly helpful. Burning reduces the humus in the
                  soil and it reduces the potential development of humus from living and
                  dead plants by reducing them to ash. It bares soil, which is then
                  compacted by rain, and the effect of the sun shinning on bare soil
                  kills any soil micro-organisms that may have survived the fire, and
                  it can turn the soil into a substance very similar to cement or rock -
                  dead dirt clods. Burning off vegetative cover, besides adding carbon
                  to the air, kills the plants and their roots and makes the land
                  subject to mud slides. Even on flat land you have less infiltration of
                  water after burning, more run off, and greater threats of flooding.

                  The Native Plant Society, over a decade ago, came up with some
                  alternatives to burning for managing chaperale in Southern
                  California. Most involved cutting the highly burnable sages and
                  grease-woods back to a few feet of the ground periodically, crushing
                  or chipping the debri, and leaving it in place. The plants live
                  through the process, their roots continue to hold the soil, the debri
                  protects the soil. Nutrient cycles continue and top soil builds.

                  Now, according to Holistic Management, there are some very rare times
                  that burning can be beneficial . . . But I don't remember what they
                  are . . .

                  Harvest
                  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/harvests_thoughts/

                  -- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, william maxwell <true_tom@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > Of note, I come from Los Angeles where burning is an annual
                  occurence; thus any conversation regarding charcoal is of great
                  interest to me.  It's not a fix-it for all biomes but for certain ones
                  (like mine), it may be the key to properly growing on the land.
                  >
                  > Best
                  >
                  > Bill Maxwell
                  >
                  > --- On Mon, 1/12/09, Harvest McCampbell <harvest95546@...> wrote:
                  > From: Harvest McCampbell <harvest95546@...>
                  > Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Organic / charcoal
                  > To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                  > Date: Monday, January 12, 2009, 3:58 PM
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Hi Michael,
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > I am really curious why you brought up this idea of charcoal a few
                  >
                  > times . . .
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Charcoal is normally made from trees, which when living remove carbon
                  >
                  > from the air and produce organic matter that enriches soil. Most
                  >
                  > commercial sources of charcoal mix mashed wood charcoal with coal
                  >
                  > dust . . . not really something most of us would want to apply to our
                  >
                  > gardens.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > When the trees have been cut down to make charcoal, they are burnt in
                  >
                  > an oxygen deprived kiln or other container. This process releases
                  >
                  > carbon to the air. So we have now killed a tree that was fixing
                  >
                  > carbon, improving water and nutrient cycles, adding organic matter to
                  >
                  > the soil, and we have released some of its carbon into the air.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Now, if this charcoal was the byproduct of some necessary process, and
                  >
                  > it was not contaminated, perhaps it would be a great thing for the
                  >
                  > garden, if one could get it for free and did not have to transport it
                  >
                  > long distances . . .
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > But one could simply grow some trees, some grain, cover crops, or
                  >
                  > green manure and accomplish much the same thing . . .
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Harvest
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > --- In fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com, Michael Meredith
                  >
                  > <meredith848@ ...> wrote:
                  >
                  > >
                  >
                  > > It is also found that adding charcoal to the soil binds more carbon
                  >
                  > from the air. A lot more.
                  >
                  > > Michael
                  >
                  > >
                  >
                  > >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                • La Clarine Farm
                  I feel that charcoal is just another soil amendment and aren t we here supposed to try to farm without soil amendments? Also, charcoal / bio-char is being
                  Message 8 of 18 , Jan 12, 2009
                  • 0 Attachment
                    I feel that charcoal is just another soil amendment and aren't we here
                    supposed to try to farm without soil amendments?

                    Also, charcoal / bio-char is being heavily promoted as several companies
                    are gearing up to supply it in bagged form.

                    Part of our property was an old grazing range which was burned
                    frequently to clear it for the cattle. These sections, decades later,
                    are still very difficult to grown anything on. The soil is practically
                    empty there.

                    -Hank

                    Harvest McCampbell wrote:
                    >
                    > Hi Bill . . .
                    >
                    > Perhaps some other folks will weigh in on this topic, but I am going
                    > to suggest a book to you, that I suggested to someone else today, on a
                    > different topic.
                    >
                    > Holistic Management, by Alan Savory, goes into this whole business of
                    > burning to manage land and nutrient cycles. Turns out that it is more
                    > often harmful than truly helpful. Burning reduces the humus in the
                    > soil and it reduces the potential development of humus from living and
                    > dead plants by reducing them to ash. It bares soil, which is then
                    > compacted by rain, and the effect of the sun shinning on bare soil
                    > kills any soil micro-organisms that may have survived the fire, and
                    > it can turn the soil into a substance very similar to cement or rock -
                    > dead dirt clods. Burning off vegetative cover, besides adding carbon
                    > to the air, kills the plants and their roots and makes the land
                    > subject to mud slides. Even on flat land you have less infiltration of
                    > water after burning, more run off, and greater threats of flooding.
                    >
                    > The Native Plant Society, over a decade ago, came up with some
                    > alternatives to burning for managing chaperale in Southern
                    > California. Most involved cutting the highly burnable sages and
                    > grease-woods back to a few feet of the ground periodically, crushing
                    > or chipping the debri, and leaving it in place. The plants live
                    > through the process, their roots continue to hold the soil, the debri
                    > protects the soil. Nutrient cycles continue and top soil builds.
                    >
                    > Now, according to Holistic Management, there are some very rare times
                    > that burning can be beneficial . . . But I don't remember what they
                    > are . . .
                    >
                    > Harvest
                    > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/harvests_thoughts/
                    > <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/harvests_thoughts/>
                    >
                    > -- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                    > <mailto:fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>, william maxwell <true_tom@...>
                    > wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Of note, I come from Los Angeles where burning is an annual
                    > occurence; thus any conversation regarding charcoal is of great
                    > interest to me. It's not a fix-it for all biomes but for certain ones
                    > (like mine), it may be the key to properly growing on the land.
                    > >
                    > > Best
                    > >
                    > > Bill Maxwell
                    > >
                    > > --- On Mon, 1/12/09, Harvest McCampbell <harvest95546@...> wrote:
                    > > From: Harvest McCampbell <harvest95546@...>
                    > > Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Organic / charcoal
                    > > To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                    > <mailto:fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>
                    > > Date: Monday, January 12, 2009, 3:58 PM
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > Hi Michael,
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > I am really curious why you brought up this idea of charcoal a few
                    > >
                    > > times . . .
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > Charcoal is normally made from trees, which when living remove carbon
                    > >
                    > > from the air and produce organic matter that enriches soil. Most
                    > >
                    > > commercial sources of charcoal mix mashed wood charcoal with coal
                    > >
                    > > dust . . . not really something most of us would want to apply to our
                    > >
                    > > gardens.
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > When the trees have been cut down to make charcoal, they are burnt in
                    > >
                    > > an oxygen deprived kiln or other container. This process releases
                    > >
                    > > carbon to the air. So we have now killed a tree that was fixing
                    > >
                    > > carbon, improving water and nutrient cycles, adding organic matter to
                    > >
                    > > the soil, and we have released some of its carbon into the air.
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > Now, if this charcoal was the byproduct of some necessary process, and
                    > >
                    > > it was not contaminated, perhaps it would be a great thing for the
                    > >
                    > > garden, if one could get it for free and did not have to transport it
                    > >
                    > > long distances . . .
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > But one could simply grow some trees, some grain, cover crops, or
                    > >
                    > > green manure and accomplish much the same thing . . .
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > Harvest
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > --- In fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com, Michael Meredith
                    > >
                    > > <meredith848@ ...> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > >
                    > >
                    > > > It is also found that adding charcoal to the soil binds more carbon
                    > >
                    > > from the air. A lot more.
                    > >
                    > > > Michael
                    > >
                    > > >
                    > >
                    > > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    > >
                    >
                    >
                  • Harvest McCampbell
                    Thanks for sharing this Hank, I think it is very important to keep it real, and hear from real life situations . . . Harvest ... companies ... ...
                    Message 9 of 18 , Jan 17, 2009
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Thanks for sharing this Hank, I think it is very important to keep it
                      real, and hear from real life situations . . .

                      Harvest

                      --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, La Clarine Farm
                      <laclarinefarm@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > I feel that charcoal is just another soil amendment and aren't we here
                      > supposed to try to farm without soil amendments?
                      >
                      > Also, charcoal / bio-char is being heavily promoted as several
                      companies
                      > are gearing up to supply it in bagged form.
                      >
                      > Part of our property was an old grazing range which was burned
                      > frequently to clear it for the cattle. These sections, decades later,
                      > are still very difficult to grown anything on. The soil is practically
                      > empty there.
                      >
                      > -Hank
                      >
                      > Harvest McCampbell wrote:
                      > >
                      > > Hi Bill . . .
                      > >
                      > > Perhaps some other folks will weigh in on this topic, but I am going
                      > > to suggest a book to you, that I suggested to someone else today, on a
                      > > different topic.
                      > >
                      > > Holistic Management, by Alan Savory, goes into this whole business of
                      > > burning to manage land and nutrient cycles. Turns out that it is more
                      > > often harmful than truly helpful. Burning reduces the humus in the
                      > > soil and it reduces the potential development of humus from living and
                      > > dead plants by reducing them to ash. It bares soil, which is then
                      > > compacted by rain, and the effect of the sun shinning on bare soil
                      > > kills any soil micro-organisms that may have survived the fire, and
                      > > it can turn the soil into a substance very similar to cement or rock -
                      > > dead dirt clods. Burning off vegetative cover, besides adding carbon
                      > > to the air, kills the plants and their roots and makes the land
                      > > subject to mud slides. Even on flat land you have less infiltration of
                      > > water after burning, more run off, and greater threats of flooding.
                      > >
                      > > The Native Plant Society, over a decade ago, came up with some
                      > > alternatives to burning for managing chaperale in Southern
                      > > California. Most involved cutting the highly burnable sages and
                      > > grease-woods back to a few feet of the ground periodically, crushing
                      > > or chipping the debri, and leaving it in place. The plants live
                      > > through the process, their roots continue to hold the soil, the debri
                      > > protects the soil. Nutrient cycles continue and top soil builds.
                      > >
                      > > Now, according to Holistic Management, there are some very rare times
                      > > that burning can be beneficial . . . But I don't remember what they
                      > > are . . .
                      > >
                      > > Harvest
                      > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/harvests_thoughts/
                      > > <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/harvests_thoughts/>
                      > >
                      > > -- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                      > > <mailto:fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>, william maxwell
                      <true_tom@>
                      > > wrote:
                      > > >
                      > > > Of note, I come from Los Angeles where burning is an annual
                      > > occurence; thus any conversation regarding charcoal is of great
                      > > interest to me. It's not a fix-it for all biomes but for certain ones
                      > > (like mine), it may be the key to properly growing on the land.
                      > > >
                      > > > Best
                      > > >
                      > > > Bill Maxwell
                      > > >
                      > > > --- On Mon, 1/12/09, Harvest McCampbell <harvest95546@> wrote:
                      > > > From: Harvest McCampbell <harvest95546@>
                      > > > Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Organic / charcoal
                      > > > To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                      > > <mailto:fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>
                      > > > Date: Monday, January 12, 2009, 3:58 PM
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > Hi Michael,
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > I am really curious why you brought up this idea of charcoal a few
                      > > >
                      > > > times . . .
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > Charcoal is normally made from trees, which when living remove
                      carbon
                      > > >
                      > > > from the air and produce organic matter that enriches soil. Most
                      > > >
                      > > > commercial sources of charcoal mix mashed wood charcoal with coal
                      > > >
                      > > > dust . . . not really something most of us would want to apply
                      to our
                      > > >
                      > > > gardens.
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > When the trees have been cut down to make charcoal, they are
                      burnt in
                      > > >
                      > > > an oxygen deprived kiln or other container. This process releases
                      > > >
                      > > > carbon to the air. So we have now killed a tree that was fixing
                      > > >
                      > > > carbon, improving water and nutrient cycles, adding organic
                      matter to
                      > > >
                      > > > the soil, and we have released some of its carbon into the air.
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > Now, if this charcoal was the byproduct of some necessary
                      process, and
                      > > >
                      > > > it was not contaminated, perhaps it would be a great thing for the
                      > > >
                      > > > garden, if one could get it for free and did not have to
                      transport it
                      > > >
                      > > > long distances . . .
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > But one could simply grow some trees, some grain, cover crops, or
                      > > >
                      > > > green manure and accomplish much the same thing . . .
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > Harvest
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > --- In fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com, Michael Meredith
                      > > >
                      > > > <meredith848@ ...> wrote:
                      > > >
                      > > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > > It is also found that adding charcoal to the soil binds more
                      carbon
                      > > >
                      > > > from the air. A lot more.
                      > > >
                      > > > > Michael
                      > > >
                      > > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      > > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      >
                    • william maxwell
                      I should be clear.  Where I live, it burns.  It burns whether we humans do it or not.  The ecosystem is fire-adapted because of it. I m simply seeing if
                      Message 10 of 18 , Jan 17, 2009
                      • 0 Attachment
                        I should be clear.  Where I live, it burns.  It burns whether we humans do it or not.  The ecosystem is fire-adapted because of it. I'm simply seeing if something that aided the fertility and diversity in another environment (one where the burning was caused by humans) can be of some use here where the topsoil has been devastated by rampant development.  I'm not looking to add; I'm looking to adapt.

                        In the specific context of Fukuoka, humans -- as with all things -- have an impact on their environment.  Do you remember when he devastated his family groves because he tried to simply "do nothing"?

                        IMHO, Fukuoka learned how to empty himself out, to stop the habit we have of filling ourselves with our own thoughts.  Instead, he filled himself with the thoughts of the landscape around him. That's why he deliberately uses chicken manure -- a soil amendment -- and green clover crops. Because he's not using them.  The land is, through him.

                        My land burns but I'm not a farmer yet.  I'm just this year getting access to garden space and the people who will help me down that path.  So, I have to look at my fiery land and wonder what it wants.  The Tongva (local tribe) used to do simple burns and their environment flourished.  That's not an option for me.  The landscape has changed as it's been wildly developed. It calls for something more dramatic.  Biochar might be that.  NOT the bagged crap being foisted as the next great savior of the Universe.  I'm talking about adapting a technique from one place -- where it looks like it could have been successful -- to another -- where it looks like it might be successful.

                        I'm well aware of the arguments against slash and burn; hells, I've been mocking it for years.  However, it turns out I'm wrong.  Some of the slash and smolder (slow burn) techniques actively promote the health of the 'invisible world', the network of micchorhizal networks, different fungi, bacteria, et. al which in turn leads to a healthy macro-structure above the soil.

                        With respect to Holistic systems, it's not realistic to consider going through all the mountain ranges and lands around me to cut all the chapparal down to its roots.  It's too much energy.  You can do it for your property but then you have the same situation we've got currently.  Cut down your stuff while the hillsides burn merrily away leaving scorched earth which might end up like Hank's fields.

                        So the bottom line is I want to learn a way to work with the environment I have.  It's different than yours.  I appreciate the potential advice but my question is simply this: does biochar work in its environment, what are the keys to its success and can those keys be transplanted to a Mediterranean environment?  I'm not interested in scorching the earth. I'm not interested in Biotech hype.  I'm just interested in something that people did that might prove to be beneficial to the world within which I live.

                        Best

                        Bill Maxwell

                        --- On Sat, 1/17/09, Harvest McCampbell <harvest95546@...> wrote:
                        From: Harvest McCampbell <harvest95546@...>
                        Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Organic / charcoal
                        To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                        Date: Saturday, January 17, 2009, 11:35 AM











                        Thanks for sharing this Hank, I think it is very important to keep it

                        real, and hear from real life situations . . .



                        Harvest



                        --- In fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com, La Clarine Farm

                        <laclarinefarm@ ...> wrote:

                        >

                        > I feel that charcoal is just another soil amendment and aren't we here

                        > supposed to try to farm without soil amendments?

                        >

                        > Also, charcoal / bio-char is being heavily promoted as several

                        companies

                        > are gearing up to supply it in bagged form.

                        >

                        > Part of our property was an old grazing range which was burned

                        > frequently to clear it for the cattle. These sections, decades later,

                        > are still very difficult to grown anything on. The soil is practically

                        > empty there.

                        >

                        > -Hank

                        >

                        > Harvest McCampbell wrote:

                        > >

                        > > Hi Bill . . .

                        > >

                        > > Perhaps some other folks will weigh in on this topic, but I am going

                        > > to suggest a book to you, that I suggested to someone else today, on a

                        > > different topic.

                         

















                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Harvest McCampbell
                        I know a lot about your environment, I have lived in Southern Ca and have studied the ecosystems extensively. I am not sure if anyone on this group can help
                        Message 11 of 18 , Jan 18, 2009
                        • 0 Attachment
                          I know a lot about your environment, I have lived in Southern Ca and
                          have studied the ecosystems extensively. I am not sure if anyone on
                          this group can help you with what you are seeking in regards to
                          bio-char . . . and I am not sure it is within the realm of natural
                          farming or Fukuoka's teachings . . . However, I imagine that if
                          someone has some expertise they will share it with you.

                          I do recommend that you visit your library and request a copy of
                          Holistic Management by Alan Savory. He directly addresses your
                          environment and how it came to be a fire ecology . . . Which was not
                          by natural forces. Additionally, most of the fires, to this day, in
                          Southern CA are started by people, most often accidently, and
                          occasionally by arson. The ecosystem that was created and managed by
                          people, and which ultimately may not have been sustainable, is no
                          longer being managed by fire. Fuels build up, and burn at much
                          greater intensities than in the past. We are well beyond the time,
                          especially near urban areas, that this system can be put back into place.

                          You are right--you can not manage the land outside your sphere.
                          However, you can influence its management by having an open mind,
                          continually educating yourself, and sharing what you learn with others.

                          This is just a question; but if you, or anyone else, were to use
                          bio-char as a possible tool where would it come from?

                          From everything I have read, raw - unburnt - organic matter is far
                          better at supporting microbial life than charcoal and ashes . . . I
                          am curious about where you are getting your information . . .

                          I do use ashes in my garden, because I heat with wood and it is a
                          byproduct that I produce. Rather than send it to the land fill or
                          pile it up where it would concentrate alkalinity, I spread it on the
                          garden. There are often piece of charcoal in the ashes. I also clip
                          excess woody material that my garden produces and drop it into the
                          mulch layer. I find that the woody unburned bits are colonized fairly
                          quickly by a range of organisms, while the lumps of charcoal remain
                          inert for very long periods of time. Now, I know that my environment
                          is very different than yours, but a simple test in two small plots
                          might tell a significant story . . .

                          Harvest


                          --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, william maxwell <true_tom@...>
                          wrote:
                          >
                          > I should be clear.  Where I live, it burns.  It burns whether we
                          humans do it or not.  The ecosystem is fire-adapted because of it. I'm
                          simply seeing if something that aided the fertility and diversity in
                          another environment (one where the burning was caused by humans) can
                          be of some use here where the topsoil has been devastated by rampant
                          development.  I'm not looking to add; I'm looking to adapt.
                          >
                          > In the specific context of Fukuoka, humans -- as with all things --
                        • Jeff
                          Ok, so I think we covered this topic a while back but I ll give it a go... Biochar is the reductionistic commericialized derivitive of Terra Praeta- the black
                          Message 12 of 18 , Jan 18, 2009
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Ok, so I think we covered this topic a while back but I'll give it a go...

                            Biochar is the reductionistic commericialized derivitive of
                            Terra Praeta- the black earth of the amazon.

                            This soil is highly productive, and self-regenerative.
                            It is capable of sustained yields of maize (corn) for several years
                            without any outside imputs of fertilizer

                            How this soil came to be is still somewhat of a mystery. And while the
                            'wild' variety includes much much more than bio-char. Bio-char none
                            the less appears to be the primary component.

                            Other components include pottery shards and animal bones, which my
                            actually be part of the renewing aspects as these components can
                            slowly weather into primary nutrients of calcium, phosphorus and
                            potassium (Ca and P from the bones and K from the clay in the pottery)
                            But thus far, science has (WRONGLY) ignored these important aspects of
                            Terra Praeta (mainly because commericalizing these products has
                            consumer predjudice against it, also ashes were likely a part of the
                            orginal complex suppling nutrients to the existing poor soil

                            That being said, Bio-Char has several advantages:
                            First of all bio-char does not oxidize easily .. in this respect it is
                            similar to the stable humus this means any bio-char added to the soil
                            will stay there... for example adding 100 lbs of organic matter will
                            result in less than 10 lb of stable humus, however adding 100 lbs of
                            bio-char, this stays 100 lbs... for woody products conversion to
                            bio-char loses only 30-60% of its mass, there fore in an extremely
                            depleted organic matter, biochar is more efficient in this repect by a
                            factor of AT least 3-6.

                            Secondly like all organic matter (and bio-char should be considered
                            such)- bio-char has excellent moisture retention characteristics.
                            Thirdly like all organic matter the bio-char adds CEC.. the ability to
                            bind nutrients for storage and resiting leaching.

                            Because of the increased surface area of bio-char: thoerhetically it
                            should have more CEC than standard organic faire

                            These microsites also hold water (adsorbing instead of absorbing)
                            this water provides a unique place for fungi to live in teh soil.
                            Terra preata has very very high amounts of soil microorganisms. THis
                            appears to be another KEY contributions of bio-char to the terra
                            preata complex. This is acknowledges by the scientists as well.
                            It appears from window-sill experiments that it take 2-3 years to develop.

                            ok, and one must be careful to not compare ashes to or regular
                            charcoal to bio-char
                            ashes are basic/alkaline and primarly consist of potassium and fair
                            amounts of Ca/Mg There is no organic component of ash

                            charcoal is a widely used term, but USUALLY refers to completely
                            oxidized black carbon, this no longer has organic molecules in it, and
                            is essentially biologically innert, it does not display the pore
                            structure to provide the benefits of bio-char

                            bio-char is partially oxided at low temperatures (less than 600 F)
                            organic acids remain and are likely important in moderating extrmely
                            acid soils found in tropical areas. Further more the partial
                            oxidization leaves a pore structure that provids the benefits above.

                            activated carbon is similar in this respect (pore structure)

                            No one knows how terra praeta will perform in dry sites or cold sites,
                            but based on the structure and function of the elements I would guess
                            that the results would be similar

                            A key aspect would be to charge the biochar (FILL Up the CEC)
                            before adding it to the soil (soaking in urine would be good, a few
                            ashes mixed in)



                            -- It calls for something more dramatic.  Biochar might be that.  NOT
                            the bagged crap being foisted as the next great savior of the
                            Universe.  I'm talking about adapting a technique from one place --
                            where it looks like it could have been successful -- to another --
                            where it looks like it might be successful.
                            >
                            > I'm well aware of the arguments against slash and burn; hells, I've
                            been mocking it for years.  However, it turns out I'm wrong.  Some of
                            the slash and smolder (slow burn) techniques actively promote the
                            health of the 'invisible world', the network of micchorhizal networks,
                            different fungi, bacteria, et. al which in turn leads to a healthy
                            macro-structure above the soil.

                            this slow smolder would likely provide the bio-char portion
                            of the terra praeta...
                            but a better way would be to use a down draft gasifer or similar...
                            in this way the charcoal creating process can also yeild usuable
                            heat/cooking gas

                            >
                            > does biochar work in its environment, what are the keys to its
                            success and can those keys be transplanted to a Mediterranean
                            environment?  I'm not interested in scorching the earth. I'm not
                            interested in Biotech hype.  I'm just interested in something that
                            people did that might prove to be beneficial to the world within which
                            I live.
                            >
                            From Robin

                            From everything I have read, raw - unburnt - organic matter is far
                            better at supporting microbial life than charcoal and ashes . . . I
                            am curious about where you are getting your information . . .

                            the reaserch into terra praeta is relatively new and a lot of the
                            results are being manipulated by commercialized labs, however, there
                            are a few avant gard gardens who have tried side by side experiments,
                            and generally have achieved decent results

                            I do use ashes in my garden, because I heat with wood and it is a
                            byproduct that I produce. Rather than send it to the land fill or
                            pile it up where it would concentrate alkalinity, I spread it on the
                            garden. There are often piece of charcoal in the ashes. I also clip
                            excess woody material that my garden produces and drop it into the
                            mulch layer. I find that the woody unburned bits are colonized fairly
                            quickly by a range of organisms, while the lumps of charcoal remain
                            inert for very long periods of time. Now, I know that my environment
                            is very different than yours, but a simple test in two small plots
                            might tell a significant story . . .

                            let me know if you have any more questions
                          • robin
                            excuse me, i don t mean to but in, but putting uncomposted ashes straight on the garden or field will kill your spiders and increase pests. the ashes
                            Message 13 of 18 , Jan 18, 2009
                            • 0 Attachment
                              excuse me, i don't mean to but in, but putting uncomposted ashes
                              straight on the garden or field will kill your spiders and increase
                              pests. the ashes disintegrate the webs. this was addressed by
                              fukuoka-san in one-straw revolution, page 7 and 8. he used it to
                              illustrate the point that many essential dramas of nature are affected
                              by our every action.***robin

                              --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Harvest McCampbell"
                              <harvest95546@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > I know a lot about your environment, I have lived in Southern Ca and
                              > have studied the ecosystems extensively. I am not sure if anyone on
                              > this group can help you with what you are seeking in regards to
                              > bio-char . . . and I am not sure it is within the realm of natural
                              > farming or Fukuoka's teachings . . . However, I imagine that if
                              > someone has some expertise they will share it with you.
                              >
                              > I do recommend that you visit your library and request a copy of
                              > Holistic Management by Alan Savory. He directly addresses your
                              > environment and how it came to be a fire ecology . . . Which was not
                              > by natural forces. Additionally, most of the fires, to this day, in
                              > Southern CA are started by people, most often accidently, and
                              > occasionally by arson. The ecosystem that was created and managed by
                              > people, and which ultimately may not have been sustainable, is no
                              > longer being managed by fire. Fuels build up, and burn at much
                              > greater intensities than in the past. We are well beyond the time,
                              > especially near urban areas, that this system can be put back into
                              place.
                              >
                              > You are right--you can not manage the land outside your sphere.
                              > However, you can influence its management by having an open mind,
                              > continually educating yourself, and sharing what you learn with others.
                              >
                              > This is just a question; but if you, or anyone else, were to use
                              > bio-char as a possible tool where would it come from?
                              >
                              > From everything I have read, raw - unburnt - organic matter is far
                              > better at supporting microbial life than charcoal and ashes . . . I
                              > am curious about where you are getting your information . . .
                              >
                              > I do use ashes in my garden, because I heat with wood and it is a
                              > byproduct that I produce. Rather than send it to the land fill or
                              > pile it up where it would concentrate alkalinity, I spread it on the
                              > garden. There are often piece of charcoal in the ashes. I also clip
                              > excess woody material that my garden produces and drop it into the
                              > mulch layer. I find that the woody unburned bits are colonized fairly
                              > quickly by a range of organisms, while the lumps of charcoal remain
                              > inert for very long periods of time. Now, I know that my environment
                              > is very different than yours, but a simple test in two small plots
                              > might tell a significant story . . .
                              >
                              > Harvest
                              >
                              >
                              > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, william maxwell <true_tom@>
                              > wrote:
                              > >
                              > > I should be clear.  Where I live, it burns.  It burns whether we
                              > humans do it or not.  The ecosystem is fire-adapted because of it. I'm
                              > simply seeing if something that aided the fertility and diversity in
                              > another environment (one where the burning was caused by humans) can
                              > be of some use here where the topsoil has been devastated by rampant
                              > development.  I'm not looking to add; I'm looking to adapt.
                              > >
                              > > In the specific context of Fukuoka, humans -- as with all things --
                              >
                            • Harvest McCampbell
                              I have heard a little bit about Terra Praeta from the Indigenous Permaculture Program. They came here to Hoopa and did a number of presentations. The
                              Message 14 of 18 , Jan 19, 2009
                              • 0 Attachment
                                I have heard a little bit about Terra Praeta from the Indigenous
                                Permaculture Program. They came here to Hoopa and did a number of
                                presentations. The director is Indigenous from South America, where
                                he often returns to work with Indigenous people. He discussed Terra
                                Praeta and their work with it in South America. According to him, it
                                is a living thing, self renewing if fed, and cultures of it can be
                                sometimes be started in new locations . . . If you remove it all from
                                it's originating beds, it does not renew . . .

                                So, according to his view, the living component is more important than
                                any produced component . . .

                                I know that sometimes soils may need some sort of measure other than
                                following Fukuoka's teachings . . . if one is not patient enough. I
                                myself purchased crushed oyster shells and spread them around a few
                                times to correct a calcium deficiency problem that was causing weak
                                stalks, blossom end rot, hollow fruit, and poor fruit set.


                                Biochar, as opposed to Terra Praeta, seems to be a rather high tech
                                product, perhaps not easily produced by the small farmer or gardener,
                                and perhaps needing outside energy sources to be produced????

                                Harvest
                                http://www.HarvestMcCampbell.com

                                --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Jeff" <shultonus@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Ok, so I think we covered this topic a while back but I'll give it a
                                go...
                                >
                                > Biochar is the reductionistic commericialized derivitive of
                                > Terra Praeta- the black earth of the amazon.
                                >
                                > This soil is highly productive, and self-regenerative.
                                > It is capable of sustained yields of maize (corn) for several years
                                > without any outside imputs of fertilizer
                                >
                                > How this soil came to be is still somewhat of a mystery. And while the
                                > 'wild' variety includes much much more than bio-char. Bio-char none
                                > the less appears to be the primary component.
                                >
                                > Other components include pottery shards and animal bones, which my
                                > actually be part of the renewing aspects as these components can
                                > slowly weather into primary nutrients of calcium, phosphorus and
                                > potassium (Ca and P from the bones and K from the clay in the pottery)
                                > But thus far, science has (WRONGLY) ignored these important aspects of
                                > Terra Praeta (mainly because commericalizing these products has
                                > consumer predjudice against it, also ashes were likely a part of the
                                > orginal complex suppling nutrients to the existing poor soil
                                >
                                > That being said, Bio-Char has several advantages:
                                > First of all bio-char does not oxidize easily .. in this respect it is
                                > similar to the stable humus this means any bio-char added to the soil
                                > will stay there... for example adding 100 lbs of organic matter will
                                > result in less than 10 lb of stable humus, however adding 100 lbs of
                                > bio-char, this stays 100 lbs... for woody products conversion to
                                > bio-char loses only 30-60% of its mass, there fore in an extremely
                                > depleted organic matter, biochar is more efficient in this repect by a
                                > factor of AT least 3-6.
                                >
                                > Secondly like all organic matter (and bio-char should be considered
                                > such)- bio-char has excellent moisture retention characteristics.
                                > Thirdly like all organic matter the bio-char adds CEC.. the ability to
                                > bind nutrients for storage and resiting leaching.
                                >
                                > Because of the increased surface area of bio-char: thoerhetically it
                                > should have more CEC than standard organic faire
                                >
                                > These microsites also hold water (adsorbing instead of absorbing)
                                > this water provides a unique place for fungi to live in teh soil.
                                > Terra preata has very very high amounts of soil microorganisms. THis
                                > appears to be another KEY contributions of bio-char to the terra
                                > preata complex. This is acknowledges by the scientists as well.
                                > It appears from window-sill experiments that it take 2-3 years to
                                develop.
                                >
                                > ok, and one must be careful to not compare ashes to or regular
                                > charcoal to bio-char
                                > ashes are basic/alkaline and primarly consist of potassium and fair
                                > amounts of Ca/Mg There is no organic component of ash
                                >
                                > charcoal is a widely used term, but USUALLY refers to completely
                                > oxidized black carbon, this no longer has organic molecules in it, and
                                > is essentially biologically innert, it does not display the pore
                                > structure to provide the benefits of bio-char
                                >
                                > bio-char is partially oxided at low temperatures (less than 600 F)
                                > organic acids remain and are likely important in moderating extrmely
                                > acid soils found in tropical areas. Further more the partial
                                > oxidization leaves a pore structure that provids the benefits above.
                                >
                                > activated carbon is similar in this respect (pore structure)
                                >
                                > No one knows how terra praeta will perform in dry sites or cold sites,
                                > but based on the structure and function of the elements I would guess
                                > that the results would be similar
                                >
                                > A key aspect would be to charge the biochar (FILL Up the CEC)
                                > before adding it to the soil (soaking in urine would be good, a few
                                > ashes mixed in)
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > -- It calls for something more dramatic.  Biochar might be that.  NOT
                                > the bagged crap being foisted as the next great savior of the
                                > Universe.  I'm talking about adapting a technique from one place --
                                > where it looks like it could have been successful -- to another --
                                > where it looks like it might be successful.
                                > >
                                > > I'm well aware of the arguments against slash and burn; hells, I've
                                > been mocking it for years.  However, it turns out I'm wrong.  Some of
                                > the slash and smolder (slow burn) techniques actively promote the
                                > health of the 'invisible world', the network of micchorhizal networks,
                                > different fungi, bacteria, et. al which in turn leads to a healthy
                                > macro-structure above the soil.
                                >
                                > this slow smolder would likely provide the bio-char portion
                                > of the terra praeta...
                                > but a better way would be to use a down draft gasifer or similar...
                                > in this way the charcoal creating process can also yeild usuable
                                > heat/cooking gas
                                >
                                > >
                                > > does biochar work in its environment, what are the keys to its
                                > success and can those keys be transplanted to a Mediterranean
                                > environment?  I'm not interested in scorching the earth. I'm not
                                > interested in Biotech hype.  I'm just interested in something that
                                > people did that might prove to be beneficial to the world within which
                                > I live.
                                > >
                                > From Robin
                                >
                                > From everything I have read, raw - unburnt - organic matter is far
                                > better at supporting microbial life than charcoal and ashes . . . I
                                > am curious about where you are getting your information . . .
                                >
                                > the reaserch into terra praeta is relatively new and a lot of the
                                > results are being manipulated by commercialized labs, however, there
                                > are a few avant gard gardens who have tried side by side experiments,
                                > and generally have achieved decent results
                                >
                                > I do use ashes in my garden, because I heat with wood and it is a
                                > byproduct that I produce. Rather than send it to the land fill or
                                > pile it up where it would concentrate alkalinity, I spread it on the
                                > garden. There are often piece of charcoal in the ashes. I also clip
                                > excess woody material that my garden produces and drop it into the
                                > mulch layer. I find that the woody unburned bits are colonized fairly
                                > quickly by a range of organisms, while the lumps of charcoal remain
                                > inert for very long periods of time. Now, I know that my environment
                                > is very different than yours, but a simple test in two small plots
                                > might tell a significant story . . .
                                >
                                > let me know if you have any more questions
                                >
                              • Harvest McCampbell
                                Hi Robin, Pleas do but in, because you may be bringing up a point that others are not aware of. Both Deiter and I discussed the spider-ashes connection back a
                                Message 15 of 18 , Jan 19, 2009
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  Hi Robin,

                                  Pleas do but in, because you may be bringing up a point that others
                                  are not aware of.

                                  Both Deiter and I discussed the spider-ashes connection back a few
                                  pages . . .

                                  Where I live, spiders are not active in the winter, which is when I am
                                  producing ashes from my wood stove and spreading them on the garden.
                                  I apply the ashes carefully to the ground and mulch, and avoid as much
                                  as possible applying them to living plants.

                                  In the warm parts of the year, I have tons of spiders and other
                                  beneficial insects and not much of a pest problem at all. I manage my
                                  mulch layers and my flowering plants and borders to foster these
                                  creatures. Slugs used to be a problem, but are less so now that I
                                  have plenty of toads and frogs. I still have a bit of harliquin or
                                  stink bug problem at times . . . but I no longer have to pick cabage
                                  worms or worry about aphids, the beneficials that I have attracted and
                                  maintained in the garden eco-system take care of these former problems
                                  . . .

                                  The ashes actually help, because as they decompose in the mulch layer
                                  they help the soil become more granular and crumbly, which enables it
                                  to hold more moisture, provides for drainage, and makes it easier for
                                  the creatures to burrow into the soil . . .

                                  Observation is key to managing your garden or farm ecosystem . . .

                                  And knowing what your goals are is also important.

                                  One of my goals is to have as small a waste stream as possible and as
                                  small an ecological foot print as possible. Recycling my ashes into
                                  top soil helps me achieve those goals, as well as contributing to the
                                  productivity of the garden . . .





                                  --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "robin" <witchessocks@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > excuse me, i don't mean to but in, but putting uncomposted ashes
                                  > straight on the garden or field will kill your spiders and increase
                                  > pests. the ashes disintegrate the webs. this was addressed by
                                  > fukuoka-san in one-straw revolution, page 7 and 8. he used it to
                                  > illustrate the point that many essential dramas of nature are affected
                                  > by our every action.***robin
                                  >
                                • william maxwell
                                  Thank you to the people who have responded & given me several good channels to go down! This is the wonderful heart of what I think this group is about. Just
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Jan 19, 2009
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    Thank you to the people who have responded & given me several good channels to go down! This is the wonderful heart of what I think this group is about.

                                    Just to correct my part in the conversation, my interest would be in starting "San Fernando Valley / Los Angeles Terra Praeta," taking advantage of local waste streams (animal bones, clay, ashes) to enable a transformation into something different.  I apologize for using the term "biochar"; my interest is in the whole living package, not an amendment.

                                    Even with a lower-energy profile, I anticipate me and mine will still (a) eat some source of animal protein, (b) use some sort of storage that will include clay and (c) burn things.  With that in mind, I'd like to turn it to some sort of benefit in a deprived ecosystem.

                                    --- On Mon, 1/19/09, Harvest McCampbell <harvest95546@...> wrote:
                                    From: Harvest McCampbell <harvest95546@...>
                                    Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Organic / charcoal: Biochar / question about its production
                                    To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                                    Date: Monday, January 19, 2009, 10:27 AM











                                    I have heard a little bit about Terra Praeta from the Indigenous

                                    Permaculture Program. They came here to Hoopa and did a number of

                                    presentations. The director is Indigenous from South America, where

                                    he often returns to work with Indigenous people. He discussed Terra

                                    Praeta and their work with it in South America. According to him, it

                                    is a living thing, self renewing if fed, and cultures of it can be

                                    sometimes be started in new locations . . . If you remove it all from

                                    it's originating beds, it does not renew . . .



                                    So, according to his view, the living component is more important than

                                    any produced component . . .



                                    I know that sometimes soils may need some sort of measure other than

                                    following Fukuoka's teachings . . . if one is not patient enough. I

                                    myself purchased crushed oyster shells and spread them around a few

                                    times to correct a calcium deficiency problem that was causing weak

                                    stalks, blossom end rot, hollow fruit, and poor fruit set.



                                    Biochar, as opposed to Terra Praeta, seems to be a rather high tech

                                    product, perhaps not easily produced by the small farmer or gardener,

                                    and perhaps needing outside energy sources to be produced????



                                    Harvest

                                    http://www.HarvestM cCampbell. com

                                     

















                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • Harvest McCampbell
                                    Jeff stated that Terra Praeta was likely important in moderating extrmely acid soils found in tropical areas. However most dry lands, and much of southern
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Jan 23, 2009
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      Jeff stated that Terra Praeta was "likely important in moderating
                                      extrmely acid soils found in tropical areas. "

                                      However most dry lands, and much of southern CA actually has alkaline
                                      soil . . .

                                      I don't claim to know a whole bunch about bio-char and Terra Praeta,
                                      but I have these questions . . .



                                      --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Jeff" <shultonus@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > Ok, so I think we covered this topic a while back but I'll give it a
                                      go...
                                      >
                                      > Biochar is the reductionistic commericialized derivitive of
                                      > Terra Praeta- the black earth of the amazon.
                                      >
                                      > This soil is highly productive, and self-regenerative.
                                      > It is capable of sustained yields of maize (corn) for several years
                                      > without any outside imputs of fertilizer
                                      >
                                      > How this soil came to be is still somewhat of a mystery. And while the
                                      > 'wild' variety includes much much more than bio-char. Bio-char none
                                      > the less appears to be the primary component.
                                      >
                                      > Other components include pottery shards and animal bones, which my
                                      > actually be part of the renewing aspects as these components can
                                      > slowly weather into primary nutrients of calcium, phosphorus and
                                      > potassium (Ca and P from the bones and K from the clay in the pottery)
                                      > But thus far, science has (WRONGLY) ignored these important aspects of
                                      > Terra Praeta (mainly because commericalizing these products has
                                      > consumer predjudice against it, also ashes were likely a part of the
                                      > orginal complex suppling nutrients to the existing poor soil
                                      >
                                      > That being said, Bio-Char has several advantages:
                                      > First of all bio-char does not oxidize easily .. in this respect it is
                                      > similar to the stable humus this means any bio-char added to the soil
                                      > will stay there... for example adding 100 lbs of organic matter will
                                      > result in less than 10 lb of stable humus, however adding 100 lbs of
                                      > bio-char, this stays 100 lbs... for woody products conversion to
                                      > bio-char loses only 30-60% of its mass, there fore in an extremely
                                      > depleted organic matter, biochar is more efficient in this repect by a
                                      > factor of AT least 3-6.
                                      >
                                      > Secondly like all organic matter (and bio-char should be considered
                                      > such)- bio-char has excellent moisture retention characteristics.
                                      > Thirdly like all organic matter the bio-char adds CEC.. the ability to
                                      > bind nutrients for storage and resiting leaching.
                                      >
                                      > Because of the increased surface area of bio-char: thoerhetically it
                                      > should have more CEC than standard organic faire
                                      >
                                      > These microsites also hold water (adsorbing instead of absorbing)
                                      > this water provides a unique place for fungi to live in teh soil.
                                      > Terra preata has very very high amounts of soil microorganisms. THis
                                      > appears to be another KEY contributions of bio-char to the terra
                                      > preata complex. This is acknowledges by the scientists as well.
                                      > It appears from window-sill experiments that it take 2-3 years to
                                      develop.
                                      >
                                      > ok, and one must be careful to not compare ashes to or regular
                                      > charcoal to bio-char
                                      > ashes are basic/alkaline and primarly consist of potassium and fair
                                      > amounts of Ca/Mg There is no organic component of ash
                                      >
                                      > charcoal is a widely used term, but USUALLY refers to completely
                                      > oxidized black carbon, this no longer has organic molecules in it, and
                                      > is essentially biologically innert, it does not display the pore
                                      > structure to provide the benefits of bio-char
                                      >
                                      > bio-char is partially oxided at low temperatures (less than 600 F)
                                      > organic acids remain and are likely important in moderating extrmely
                                      > acid soils found in tropical areas. Further more the partial
                                      > oxidization leaves a pore structure that provids the benefits above.
                                      >
                                      > activated carbon is similar in this respect (pore structure)
                                      >
                                      > No one knows how terra praeta will perform in dry sites or cold sites,
                                      > but based on the structure and function of the elements I would guess
                                      > that the results would be similar
                                      >
                                      > A key aspect would be to charge the biochar (FILL Up the CEC)
                                      > before adding it to the soil (soaking in urine would be good, a few
                                      > ashes mixed in)
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > -- It calls for something more dramatic.  Biochar might be that.  NOT
                                      > the bagged crap being foisted as the next great savior of the
                                      > Universe.  I'm talking about adapting a technique from one place --
                                      > where it looks like it could have been successful -- to another --
                                      > where it looks like it might be successful.
                                      > >
                                      > > I'm well aware of the arguments against slash and burn; hells, I've
                                      > been mocking it for years.  However, it turns out I'm wrong.  Some of
                                      > the slash and smolder (slow burn) techniques actively promote the
                                      > health of the 'invisible world', the network of micchorhizal networks,
                                      > different fungi, bacteria, et. al which in turn leads to a healthy
                                      > macro-structure above the soil.
                                      >
                                      > this slow smolder would likely provide the bio-char portion
                                      > of the terra praeta...
                                      > but a better way would be to use a down draft gasifer or similar...
                                      > in this way the charcoal creating process can also yeild usuable
                                      > heat/cooking gas
                                      >
                                      > >
                                      > > does biochar work in its environment, what are the keys to its
                                      > success and can those keys be transplanted to a Mediterranean
                                      > environment?  I'm not interested in scorching the earth. I'm not
                                      > interested in Biotech hype.  I'm just interested in something that
                                      > people did that might prove to be beneficial to the world within which
                                      > I live.
                                      > >
                                      > From Robin
                                      >
                                      > From everything I have read, raw - unburnt - organic matter is far
                                      > better at supporting microbial life than charcoal and ashes . . . I
                                      > am curious about where you are getting your information . . .
                                      >
                                      > the reaserch into terra praeta is relatively new and a lot of the
                                      > results are being manipulated by commercialized labs, however, there
                                      > are a few avant gard gardens who have tried side by side experiments,
                                      > and generally have achieved decent results
                                      >
                                      > I do use ashes in my garden, because I heat with wood and it is a
                                      > byproduct that I produce. Rather than send it to the land fill or
                                      > pile it up where it would concentrate alkalinity, I spread it on the
                                      > garden. There are often piece of charcoal in the ashes. I also clip
                                      > excess woody material that my garden produces and drop it into the
                                      > mulch layer. I find that the woody unburned bits are colonized fairly
                                      > quickly by a range of organisms, while the lumps of charcoal remain
                                      > inert for very long periods of time. Now, I know that my environment
                                      > is very different than yours, but a simple test in two small plots
                                      > might tell a significant story . . .
                                      >
                                      > let me know if you have any more questions
                                      >
                                    • Harvest McCampbell
                                      Soils in low rainfall areas tend to be very alkaline. Ashes (which are different than bio-char) are also alkaline and very high in minerals. In low rainfall
                                      Message 18 of 18 , Jan 23, 2009
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        Soils in low rainfall areas tend to be very alkaline. Ashes (which
                                        are different than bio-char) are also alkaline and very high in
                                        minerals. In low rainfall areas, excess minerals can rise to the
                                        surface of the soil (with evaporating water) and form a white crust,
                                        that can interfere with plant growth, soil life, and normal soil
                                        function. Be careful with ashes in low rain fall areas, especially if
                                        soils are low in organic matter.

                                        What one can do in high rainfall areas is not the same as low rainfall
                                        areas. You must be very careful with how you treat the soil in low
                                        rainfall areas.

                                        I recommend reading Holistic Management by Alan Savory. He discusses
                                        the differences in soils and ecosystems in low and high rainfall areas
                                        and refers to low rain environments as "brittle." He discusses
                                        different land management techniques for different rainfall zones. He
                                        explains why what works in one area can be detrimental in another.

                                        I am currently reading "Collapse" by Jerad Diamond, who also discusses
                                        the difference between the affects of agriculture, its
                                        sustainability, and its impact on ecosystems in low and high rainfall
                                        areas. Jerad describes low rainfall areas as "fragile." I also
                                        highly recommend reading "Collapse." It is intense, and long, so I am
                                        reading a few chapters at a time, and then taking a break and reading
                                        something else.

                                        Happy Gardening!

                                        Harvest
                                        http://www.BioDiversePress.com



                                        --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, william maxwell <true_tom@...>
                                        wrote:
                                        >
                                        > Thank you to the people who have responded & given me several good
                                        channels to go down! This is the wonderful heart of what I think this
                                        group is about.
                                        >
                                        > Just to correct my part in the conversation, my interest would be in
                                        starting "San Fernando Valley / Los Angeles Terra Praeta," taking
                                        advantage of local waste streams (animal bones, clay, ashes) to enable
                                        a transformation into something different.  I apologize for using the
                                        term "biochar"; my interest is in the whole living package, not an
                                        amendment.
                                        >
                                        > Even with a lower-energy profile, I anticipate me and mine will
                                        still (a) eat some source of animal protein, (b) use some sort of
                                        storage that will include clay and (c) burn things.  With that in
                                        mind, I'd like to turn it to some sort of benefit in a deprived ecosystem.
                                        >

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