Resilient Communities: Biochar, a portable factory, septic tank cleaning, and guerrilla grafting

John Robb, on his site is advocating a change in lifestyle that gets us closer to the point where food grows and where the necessities for daily life have their origin. Resilience is the ability to withstand sudden changes in environmental conditions, including all those economic factors that make up our day to day ‘living environment’.

Robb is preparing the first issue of his up and coming “Resilient Communities newsletter”. He lets us in on some of the things that are going on and that he will report on in the newsletter.

The first is a portable factory project by a team called re:char. This team is working on ways to help farmers in Kenya produce biochar from sugar cane stalks, rather than simply burning them.

NOTE: Biochar is organically inert solid that is produced by smoldering (low heat) biomass. Why should you produce it? Biochar is an amazing soil amendment that can last thousands of years. When mixed with existing soil, it improves water and nutrient retention as well as increasing the population and activity levels of beneficial microbes.

To do this, the team came up with a design for a biochar kiln (it is technically a low cost pyrolizer) that uses a 55 gallon oil drum…

The portable factory is a shipping container decked out with all the tools needed to manufacture the kilns on site. It was needed to get around the lack of suitable tools in the communities where the kiln was to be donated.

The issue will also include instructions on how to maintain a septic tank without having to call that company to pump it clean.

And then there is an item on the Guerrilla Grafters. They graft real fruit branches onto ornamental trees.

This is part of a cultural conversation that seeks to bring our cities closer to the sources of food that can easily be opened up within the city limits. Guerrilla gardening (and now Guerrilla grafting) are ways to start bringing the reality of freely growing food in our larger cities closer to the people and the administrators.

The Guerrilla Grafters have a page on facebook and if you’re interested on the where and how, here is an article in the San Francisco Gate: “Guerrilla Grafters go out on a limb”

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