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The Changing Climate and Bio-char

Bio-char, a key component of our system design for cellulosic bio-mass management and according to scientific evidence, one promising solution to the changing climate.

1544336_10153061850136600_43515571665462062_nWe understand that artificially altered climate conditions can only be solved through ideas and solutions rooted in solving the very issues that gave origin to the problem. These can be summarized in unsustainable use of fuels and the subsequent gas emissions, lack of scaled-up use of pollution neutral options -sun, wind, geo, and to top the list, unsustainable food and agriculture systems.

The enclosed photos (on the Facebook) show one example of how we are approaching this issue at Main Street Project as we seek to grow our free range poultry systems for both meat and eggs. As we do this the production of manure the biomass that comes from annual and perennial crops also increases. The manure is easily managed as most of it is taken up by the field crops inside the paddocks, what accumulates in the barns is used in alley cropping systems separate from the chicken ranging paddocks.

Perennial and annual crops are planted to optimize the natural outdoor living environment for the poultry, for food security, increased productivity of the same area and for nutrient management, soil protection, biomass production, etc.

10441256_10153061853276600_6900034387174951496_nIn the last photo taken in our desktop microscope of a particle of the bio-char we produced from hazelnut husks (vegetative material that covers the nut and has to be removed after harvest) one can see why this is such a miracle worker for the soil. It provides a massive infrastructure for micro-organisms to populate and stay in the soil, increasing the capacity of this to transform and make available nutrients, minerals, and other critical components for plant growth.

It is said that the cell walls (left after the charing process extracts all of the gasses contained inside them) in one cubic inch of bio-char, which still contain about 85% of the original carbon in the cellulosic material, would cover a basketball field.

Now, think about what this would do to the midwest’s carbon footprint if we fed the soil this infrastructure instead of destroying the soil’s physical systems with machines, and then killing everything that wants to live in it. We hope this will help all of us imagine a different way of thinking about agriculture to make it more economically viable, non-extractive and more in alignment with the interest of the majority of us who just don’t want to pollute and destroy our natural resources as we keep moving forward in this self-destructive path the industrial system set us on.

Article by: Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, Chief Operating Officer of Main Street Project
Additional pictures can be found on our Facebook!