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Biochar: the new Black Gold Workshop **SPECIAL**

March 22, 2015 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm


“Boost your soil fertility and plant production, recycle waste and help mitigate climate change”

About Biochar

Are you at a loss about how to dispose of woody garden waste sustainably? Why not turn the problem into a solution and make biochar? Biochar is a soil amendment that consists of pulverised charcoal enriched with nutrients. Surprisingly, it has many amazing benefits for soil health, plant production, waste recycling, and not least climate change mitigation! Because of this wide range of benefits, it could well be considered the new black gold. Over the last 15 years there has been a lot of research interest into biochar’s properties and large-scale application. Similar to compost, it improves soil structure, water holding capacity, nutrient retention, and disease resistance in plants. However, unlike compost, biochar persists in the soil for a very long time, from decades to centuries and maybe even millennia. This means it can be used to lock away carbon in the soil and therefore contribute to climate change mitigation. It is most suitable for small scale production, but there is scope to use in on a large scale, provided that the biochar is made from existing biomass waste and not biomass from land clearing.

About the Workshop

This workshop will explain the properties and many benefits of biochar, and how to use it as a soil amendment. It will also have a hands-on demonstration of how to build and operate your own simple biochar maker that produces high quality biochar without smoke. Whether you live in the city or in the country, you can make biochar yourself and turn woody waste into black gold.

Workshop Program

The workshop covers both theory and practical hands-on skills. At the end of the workshop will have the knowledge, confidence and skills to be able to construct your own biochar Kiln from cheap and easily available recycled materials. You will be surprised at just how easy it is. Within days you will be applying this new “Black Gold” to your own home garden, community garden or farm and see amazing results straight away.

You will know:

  • About the properties and benefits of biochar
  • Why it is the oldest new thing you’ve never heard of
  • The scientific knowledge of why and how it works
  • Why it is perfect to regenerate the soil and help mitigate climate change
  • How to build a kiln
  • The process of firing
  • Safety precautions
  • How to prepare and apply the biochar
  • And lots more.

About the trainer 

JOHANJohan Swinnen is a life-long organic gardener, beekeeper, permaculturist, potter, wood worker, nature lover, vegetarian cook, wine maker and self-sufficiency enthousiast. He grew up in Belgium, where he obtained a degree in agronomy and a PhD in soil carbon dynamics. He has worked as a scientist at the Directorate for Agricultural Research in Wageningen, The Netherlands, at the University of Adelaide and at CSIRO in Canberra. For the last 15 years he has worked as a web GIS developer, primarily with the Department of Environment in Canberra. He is about to start aid work in Cambodia related to sustainable agriculture and permaculture. Johan has seen the benefits of biochar on organic farms in Australia and Thailand and has been making Biochar for his home garden replicating great results. He is committed to spreading the knowledge and skills about this wonderful free resource.

$75 for full day workshop (Autumn special ½ price workshop!) No other discounts apply


March 22, 2015
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Event Categories:
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Bandusia Country Retreat
1056 Upper Macdonald Rd
Upper MacDonald (St Albans), NSW Australia
+ Google Map
(02) 4568 2036


Old work clothes; own leather gloves (if you have them); camera; own water; hat & sunscreen