SBI well represented at the Sonoma 4th of July Parade!

Written by admin on . Posted in Initiative News

A great time was had by all at the City of Sonoma 4th of July Parade, 2013.  As part of the Sonoma Ecology Center Contingent of about 15 people, Ray Gallian, David Morell, and myself represented our organization by shaking and dancing around the streets of the Plaza to an enthusiastic and talented group of drummers that walked with us. What a great way to spend the 4th!

The Sonoma Ecology Center was well represented at the Parade.

The Sonoma Ecology Center and the Sonoma Biochar Initiative was well represented at the Parade.

Ray Gallian During the 4th of July Parade in Sonoma, California

Ray Gallian During the 4th of July Parade in Sonoma, California

 

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Ray Gallian in his 4th of July finest.

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The younger generation was well represented at the Parade.

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SBI Board members David Morell and Ray Gallian.

Cool Planet Energy Systems Secures More Funding

Written by raymondbiochar on . Posted in Initiative News

Cool Planet Energy Systems, a promising venture that seeks to make advanced biofuels and biochar from “waste” and sustainably produced biomass has secured $29.9 million in additional funding. Their distributed production model takes the production technology to the source of the biomass rather than bringing the biomass to a centralized facility.

Cool Planet announces additional funding

Cool Planet Energy Systems

Community Meeting Reminder—Tonight

Written by raymondbiochar on . Posted in Biochar General, Citizen Science Project, Initiative News, Member News, Uncategorized

Just a quick reminder that we are hosting a community meeting tonight at the Sonoma Grange, from 6:30 to 8:30 P.M., featuring Judith Harwood of the Mendocino Woody Biomass Working Group and Jason Aramburu of re:char. You can register online here: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=mausxnlab&oeidk=a07e7iq4sa59e54b840&oseq= or just come to the meeting. We are asking for donations at the door to help us offset costs: $15 general, $10 SBI members, and $5 students and seniors.

Bring your ideas and questions about biochar!

Sonoma Valley Grange
18627 Sonoma Highway
Boyes Hot Springs, CA 95416

June 12 Community Meeting Speakers

Written by raymondbiochar on . Posted in Biochar General, Biochar Technology, Citizen Science Project, Initiative News, Member News

We have just confirmed two keynote speakers for our next Community Meeting on June 12th at the Sonoma Grange.

First, Judith Harwood of the Mendocino Woody Biomass Working Group will be filling us in on their exciting activities and plans for a biochar production facility to be used for sustainable forestry management. Our second speaker will be Jason Aramburu of the re:char organization, a youthful and dynamic company that designs and builds cleaner, more efficient, biochar-producing cook stoves for villages in Africa and elsewhere, and also sells a biochar bagged product called Black Revolution. More information will follow but we wanted to let you know right away about this wonderful opportunity to learn about people creating positive changes in the world. Mark your calendars now!


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May Meeting Postponed

Written by raymondbiochar on . Posted in Biochar General, Initiative News, Member News

SBI has been incredibly busy these last two months with grant proposals, educational outreach and Open Burn workshops. We have therefore postponed our May community meeting that was scheduled for May 8th until next month—June 12th. We will be featuring several great speakers—one of whom is Jason Aramburu of the re:char organization—and we will have lots of exciting news to share and ways you can become involved with our organization. Stay tuned for a newsletter that we will be sending out in early June, and be sure to mark June 12th on your calendars. The meeting will be at the Sonoma Grange, from 6:30 P.M. to 8:30 P.M.

We recommend you check out a meeting on May 8th instead in Santa Rosa on Navigating the New Economy.

When: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
7-9 pm, doors open at 6:30 pm
Glaser Center, 547 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa
Tickets: General $10 in advance or $15 at door
Students $5 in advance or $10 at door
Advanced Tickets

Citizen Science Project Reaches Goal!

Written by raymondbiochar on . Posted in Biochar General, Citizen Science Project, Initiative News

The Citizen Science Project reached its goal today of distributing 200 free bags of biochar and compost to gardeners around the Bay Area. Attendees at the Sonoma Garden Park Plant Sale put us over the top and we now have now given out 204 bags—-with more going out to Thomas Page Elementary School and a Daily Acts project on Monday. We want to thank everyone who has agreed to take part in this first-of-its-kind project in the U.S., as well as all the volunteers that helped us reach and exceed our goal. We also want to thank the Mental Insight Foundation and Sonoma Compost for their important contributions to this project. We do still have a few bags left so you can still take part if you contact us by signing up this week on the Citizen Science page. We will contact you about when and where to pick up.

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Bagging the Biochar for the Citizen Science Project

Written by raymondbiochar on . Posted in Biochar General, Citizen Science Project, Initiative News

Volunteers from the Sonoma Biochar Initiative, the Sonoma Ecology Center Garden Park, and Green Valley Village filled bags of biochar and compost this past Saturday in preparation for the big Citizen Science Project distribution on April 20th. We greatly appreciate everyone’s help and are looking forward to distributing the material next weekend! Volunteers from San Francisco, Mill Valley, Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, and Windsor have agreed to act as pick-up locations, so if you take part you won’t have to drive to Sonoma to get your bag. More information on these locations will be sent to participants the coming week. To sign up for the Citizen Science Project please GO HERE.

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2013 Citizen Science Project Launches April 20th

Written by raymondbiochar on . Posted in Biochar General, Citizen Science Project, Initiative News

Help us explore how biochar works in local soils using your personal, community, or school garden. Biochar has been shown in lab tests and scientific field trials around the world to be beneficial for soil health and plant production, and we want to test it in Sonoma County and the Bay Area. The project is easy, fun, and will be an interesting, science-based activity for the whole family. We are particularly interested in partnering with school and community gardens, so please let us know if you are connected to one of these.

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All you will need is space for two 3′X3′ plots (preferably using the section of your garden with the WORST soil), some seeds or starts, a camera, a measuring device (a home- made pole ruler works fine), and email capability.  You will be engaging in a scientifically accepted form of research called photo-monitoring-the simplest U.S. EPA-approved method of demonstrating plant success.

We will provide you with free bags of biochar and compost blended together, instructions on how to plant, how to take the photos in a scientifically accepted manner, and when and where to send them to add to our data set. We are working on expanding our web site and developing a special blog to allow you to stay connected to the project and see the results others are having.

Distribution will take place on Saturday April 20th at several locations in the town of Sonoma, and we are looking for volunteers and distribution locations in other areas of Sonoma County (and elsewhere) to keep the carbon footprint as low as possible.

We only have 200 bags to give out so please click the link below to reserve yours now. We are taking reservations on a first-come, first-served basis. Feel free to tell friends and neighbors about this experiment, and if they are willing to take part in the planting and photo-monitoring protocols please have them sign up as well.

Click the link below and scroll down to fill out the
simple form. Please indicate if you can help us
bag or distribute the biochar as well.
Distribution Date:  Saturday April 20th, 9 A.M. to noon, at Sonoma Garden Park & 1 P.M. to 4 P.M. at the Sonoma Ecology Center Earth Day Celebration at the Sonoma Plaza. You will be sent directions and other information when you sign up.

USDA Conservation Innovation Grant Application Goes to Second Phase

Written by raymondbiochar on . Posted in Biochar General, Biochar Technology, Initiative News

The Sonoma Biochar Initiative received word on Friday that our California GIG grant application to fund the development and study of a farm-scale biochar operation has made the cut to stage two, and a full 30-page proposal has been requested. This grant, with matching funds provided by the Sonoma County Water Agency, would allow for the purchase of a steel retort from New England Biochar, to be located at Swallow Valley Farm in western Sonoma County, and 18 months of biochar field trials at Swallow Valley Farm, Oak Hill Farm in Glen Ellen, and Green String Farm in Petaluma.

The grant would study the economic feasibility of a small-scale biochar operation, using feedstock primarily from the farm, and provide enough biochar for the field trials and some income for the farm as well. The field trials would focus on biochar’s effectiveness in increasing soil carbon, decreasing water needs over time, and increasing production.  Heat produced from the unit would be captured and utilized in the farm’s cheese-making facility.

SBI is competing with 16 other grant proposals from around the state vying for $375,000 in funds.

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Lambing Season at Swallow Valley Farm

 

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