In America, co-ops and community supported agriculture (CSA) schemes are well known and well supported. CSAs began in Japan in the 80’s when some city-dwelling women started the teikei movement which means “putting the farmers’ faces on the food”. They were underwhelmed with the lack of knowledge about where the food came from, who grew it and how. Australians are usually more familiar with box schemes, which is a similar concept, but has some fundamental differences, usually in the finances of the schemes.
If I stop to assess my motivations, I always wanted to buy a farm because of the perceived security that it offers – owning land on which to grow food and collect water and feed my soul. The space to roam and dream and work and be free. But I have come to realise that it doesn’t work that way. I don’t own the land. In some ways it owns me! But more importantly, I am only care-taking. This land was here long before me. It is ancient and bold and brave and awesome and beautiful, even though it is currently degraded and denuded and devalued.
My recent experiment with biochar is working really well as a mulch for the feijoa trees at the farm.
I have been thinking of ways to refine the process to produce maximum charcoal and little or no ash. I should have stayed up all night to watch the previous burn but I didn’t and so lost a fair amount of the charcoal in the process. I’m now curious to see if it’s possible for me to produce charcoal with no ash at all.
Today I got my medieval on and had a go at making biochar. This is a skill still practiced by charcoal burners in Europe, although it’s been a dying art for a while now. It’s rediscovery as a potential solution to climate change has caused a resurgence in interest and production of this ancient material as it helps sequester carbon when the charcoal is added to soil.