Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mark Hare, really getting into the idea of biochar, using charcoal powder produced in an MIT, D-Lab workshop (solicited by MPP) as part of a soil mix for the Road to Life Yard's vegetable tires. November 2011

Amy Smith, Director of MIT's D-lab, teaching participants in an MPP workshop on design to produce  charcoal powder from agricultural scraps (corn stalks and husks, coconut shells, harvested bean pods, palm branches, etc.). The charcoal powder is ideal for forming into briquettes for cooking needs, but it also has potential for using in soil mixes used to produce vegetables in tires. Photo by Mark Hare, all rights reserved, November 2011

Morning friends,

I'm working on translating a project proposal for the Presbyterian Hunger Program, and I needed to make sure I was using the right terminology for "biochar" or "biocharcoal" and I found this site:

Then I went back to my connection with Amy Smith, director of the D-Lab at MIT and found their excellent description for making charcoal from pretty much any type of organic waste product. Amy and one of her associates, Kofi Taha have worked with MPP a couple of times, and I have a good set of pictures of the process of making charcoal dust, which can then either be formed into briquettes or mixed into the soil for our tires. Maken Pierre (Road to Life Yard crew member) and I did a preliminary test with two tires, both with the same soil mix, except one had charcoal dust made during one of Amy and Kofi's workshops. I left Haiti to spend Christmas with my family in Nicaragua before being able to get a look at the final results in the two tires, but word from the crew is that while the first harvest was really bad in the biochar tiree, the second harvest was clearly superior in the biochar soil. Amaranth, or "epinà" was the crop planted in both tires for both harvests.

Here is the D-lab link:

Really cool stuff, this.

Blessings to all.


P.S. The project I am translating was put together by a leaders of four communities, all located in the mountains of Bassin Zim, near Mache Karida--the Carida Marketplace. The committee who put together the project is looking for funds to help participants in MPP's yard garden program move forward more quickly. They want to help participants establish systems for rain water collection and storage, buy watering cans and other tools and provide workshops on a variety of topics. We are planning on providing the group at least one workshop on producing and using charcoal dust.

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