Biochar and its benefits are being recognized on a global level and we get requests for information and partnership daily. In Thailand, the growing community of organic farmers is using the biochar produced by other farmers with access to large quantities of crop wastes or making it on their own. In Africa, the farmers are reaping the benefits of improved soil and food security on their small farms. In Mae Chaem the agroforestry program is moving forward, although we had one setback this year.
Another area you are supporting is finding the least expensive, most effective way to make biochar with different feedstocks This also means we are working on improving our training materials and looking at ways to make them more accessible online. When the Tanzania farmers were having problems getting access to a TLUD because the used oil drums are so expensive, our Biochar Manager, Aom, worked out the details of making biochar from corncob in a trench. This method works for feedstocks like coconut husks and cacao pods as well. Before this, corncob was pyrolyzed in a TLUD; only cornstalk and branches were pyrolyzed in a trench. (See video link below.).
Aom, recently visited the coffee and agroforestry farms in Mae Chaem to confirm when they will be making biochar from the corn harvest and using it for the trees. The coffee trees and most of our agroforestry trees were doing well. On one farm, some of the trees had been burned when a neighbor started a fire to make a firebreak and let it spread. Luckily, he was willing to admit his mistake and has provided funding to replace the burned trees.
Busy, but never dull. Always learning and spreading the knowledge.
Thank you for your enduring support of our work. You are improving the lives of smallholder farmers and their families around the world and; at the same time stopping the open field burning that creates harmful smoke that we breathe and heats the atmosphere.
Best wishes for the months ahead,
Dana, Michael, Evelind, and the Biochar Teams.
After three years of working through emails and Whatsapp, we organized a trip to Malawi, Kenya, and Tanzania to meet the trainers and farmers making biochar with the methods developed by Warm Heart in Thailand. Co-Founders Michael and Evelind were joined by Aom, the manager of the Warm Heart Thailand Biochar Programs.
Aom and Michael created the training videos that the trainers in Africa used to get started making biochar. They wanted to meet the creator of the team, Sister Miriam Paulette, and the country leaders Sylvester (Malawi), Mercy (Kenya), and Chris (Tanzania).
We reviewed the trench method of making biochar with cornstalks and compared notes on the impact of biochar in animal feed. One study in Thailand showed that biochar in chicken feed reduced the amount of feed required to produce chickens. One farmer invited us in to see her chicken that had been sick but recovered once it started to eat biochar in its drinking water and feed. The chicken had been near death but now is healthy and lays lots of eggs.
One of the farmers showed us his watermelon field and was happy to show us the section without biochar and the main section with biochar. There was a marked difference in the size of the fruit and sellers from other villages who had come to pick fruit to sell.
Biochar has been improving the lives of farmers as they restore their soils and their crop yields increase. The animals are healthier and also produce more milk and eggs.
It was a joyful trip and we were delighted to meet everyone and discover that they are as wonderful as anticipated.
Many thanks for helping us share the benefits of biochar in Thailand and with our friends in East Africa.
Dana, Evelind, Michael, and our Biochar Teams.
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The Coffee and Agroforestry projects in Thailand continue to make steady progress. The coffee cooperative has been plowing the baren hillsides to prepare the soil. Our manager, Aom, set up tests with larger, deeper trenches to pyrolyze the volume of biomass. After several tries, the system worked and the team made 10 tons of biochar using corn cob and husk waste. They are adding biochar to the soil to absorb water and prevent the flooding that has started in the villages from the bare mountainsides.
As the Carbon Removal Markets evolve we have daily queries from near and far. Warm Heart continues to work with farmers' network organizations around the world to test new feedstocks for carbon content and review ways to make biochar from different feedstocks. In Indonesia, we've looked at coconut husks, in Malaysia Palm waste, and in Thailand macadamia nut shells. Each presents different issues with paralysis and carbon content.
The European Carbon Certificate standard for Tropical Farmers is still evolving and Warm Heart continues to provide input from our farmers in the field as well as our network partners leading the farmers. As part of the standard, the smallholder farmers commit to stop open-field burning in their fields. As more farmers reap the benefits in their farms, we gain in our air.
You make this all possible. Please continue to support our training and the extension of biochar adoption for carbon removal and smoke reduction.
Dana, Evelind, Michael, and the Warm Heart Biochar Team.
Years of perseverance have paid off as Warm Heart received accreditation from the Ithaka Institute of the European Biochar Certification organization for a new Carbon Removal category of "Tropical Farmer".
“On March 4, Michael Shafer and Jason Highberger, of Warm Herat, along with Hans-Peter Schmidt of the EBC, presented the Tropical Farmer category at an International Biochar Initiative sponsored Webinar with 195 participants from 35 countries. IBI Webinar: Verified Carbon Removal by Smallholder Farmers.”.
This is a major achievement to help encourage farmers to stop burning their crop waste, and instead turn it into carbon credits that can be sold on the emerging Carbon Removal market.
It is exciting that biochar is starting to be recognized in the global carbon removal and sustainable agriculture forums as a means to remove carbon from the air. To date, most carbon removal has been focused at a large commercial level, but there are millions of smallholder farmers who can make a difference in reducing climate temperatures if they do not do open-field burning.
As we train farmers, they reap the benefits of the biochar in their soils and the world benefits from clean, cooler air. Now the smallholder farmers can make some additional income through access to the growing global carbon removal market.
We have partnered with Task.io, and with the help of their phone app we are able to capture the biochar production and usage to verify the carbon removed. Warm Heart has initiated an impact venture with Biochar Life, a Public Benefit Corporation, to manage the demand and supply for the carbon markets.
In Kenya, the first order for 50 tons of carbon credits has 32 farmers making and using their biochar for the planting season. They will receive additional income once their sequestered biochar is verified by our local team. While it is still a small amount of money, it is a source of income they did not have before. This is a new concept in a new market, and for now it is a giant step forward for climate action and smallholder farmers.
In Thailand, Aom is gearing up for another year working with the agroforestry program in Mae Chaem. The first year's planting survived the drought with a 60% survival rate, higher than the expected normal 40% survival rate. Contributions to this fund will go to help re-plant more trees and train more farmers to make biochar. Additional rai are under discussion to add to the program, using biochar and framework trees to retain water and reduce flooding.
Thank you for your faithful support of our work as we extend our training and build farmer networks to make biochar, and help stop the smoke.
The Stop the Smoke Program has been training farmers to make and use biochar and in the process, we are always looking for new ways to use biochar to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. We have had renewed interest from a couple of universities that are doing testing and research into the uses and efficacy of biochar.
As we started our pilot to test capturing biochar activity on our blockchain app, Task.io, Maejo University asked to take some biochar to bury in test plots for new crop production techniques.
Our biochar Program Manager, Aom Kwanpirom Suksri has 5,000 kg of biochar to apply in a test to "use", (meaning bury in the soil or use in animal feed), thus sequestering the carbon.
The farmers have signed a statement that they will not do further open field burning and provide photos of the biochar as it is being used. These are recorded on our blockchain application and Stop the Smoke (STS) tokens are created for purchase for anyone looking to offset his/her carbon footprint.
In order to certify that our farmers are complying with the standards being developed to sequester carbon, Warm Heart is working with the international standards boards to have "Tropical Farmer c-sink biochar" accredited as removing carbon from the atmosphere.
The biochar lots are tested for their carbon content and to date, our samples are meeting the carbon content standards. We have tested biochar made from corn cob, corn stalk, and longan fruit tree branches. We have used both the TLUD barrel and trough methods, along with the Trench method commonly used in Africa.
As this program goes forward, smallholder farmers around the world can reap the benefits of biochar renewing their soil while cooling the climate. At the same time, the carbon removal credits will create additional income for the farmers.
Thank you for making this possible!
P.S. #GivingTuesday is almost here. We would greatly appreciate your support of our Harnessing the Power of the Sun campaign on November 30.
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