Our farmer network teams in Kenya and Malawi have been expanding; they each have around 200 farmers in the Biochar Life Carbon Removal Credit program and thousands more trained and using biochar. Our team leaders and their trainers are now the go-to people for many organizations looking to add biochar to the methods used to enhance farmers' yields.
Our Kenya Country Manager, Mercy, has been presenting at workshops on sustainable agriculture, recently one hosted by Cornell University. The other workshop participants have been following up with her to get help starting their own farmers using biochar. She has also arranged meetings with field visits for a couple of large farmers' networks to help them evaluate the impact of adding biochar to their training methods.
Farmers in Malawi and Kenya have been calling our trainers to come to see their healthy crops. These farmers are improving their soils and their food security grows each time they use biochar. At the same time, they are eliminating the dangerous smoke of open field burning while they help cool the climate.
"My family in Kenya are now Happy and settled, they no longer cry of hunger, thanks to biochar. It's a miracle that I met you. I am ever grateful for making my family be what they are today" - from one of our team leaders.
We continue to get requests from organizations across Africa to learn about using biochar. Our open-access online training materials are available through our website. We incorporate feedback while we continuously improve and add to the library of materials. The Warm Heart team is testing new feedstocks like water hyacinth, to solve the problem of invasive species and provide fertilizer for smallholder farmers.
Thank you for your enduring support to improve lives and keep our team delivering on our programs.
Best wishes to you for the months ahead,
Dana, Evelind, Michael, and our teams in Malawi, Kenya, and Tanzania.
After 3 years and 10,000 farmers trained, co-founders Michael Shafer and Evelind Schecter were joined by Warm Heart Thailand Biochar Program Manager, Aom Kwanpirom Suksri, on a visit to meet the trainers and farmers in Malawi, Kenya, and Tanzania. Over three weeks we met with the teams in all three countries.
Our first stop was with the person who started it all in Malawi, Sister Miram Paulette in Zomba. She is as charismatic and wonderful as anticipated. She and Sylvester, the country program leader, set up training at Zomba Prison, including an introduction to the musicians who make the beautiful music that was nominated for a grammy a few years ago. If you remember the original story - when we received a random email from Sister looking for funds, Michael responded because the signature was from Zomba and he was a fan of the prison music. He told her we do not have any funding, but if she watched our videos she could teach people to improve their livelihoods with biochar. As so she did and farmers saw the benefits and her networks trained thousands of farmers.
At every stop, we were greeted by traditional songs and dances. We saw the fields with biochar and without, pleased to see how healthy and high the biochar side grew. They used biochar mixed with manure when they plant the seeds for corn and then again when it is about waist high, putting a "top dressing" of biochar and manure around the plant to hold water and protect the roots.
Thank you for changing the lives of these individuals, small holder farmers!
Dana, Evelind, Michael, and the Bichar Team
P.S. # Giving Tuesday is coming up on November 29, from (00:00:00 EST to 23:59:59 EST). GlobalGiving will give away $1.2 million to nonprofits around the world as part of their #MoveAMillion campaign for GivingTuesday. Each donation, big or small will help us unlock a greater share of those bonus funds! Join us to finish the year and start the new year on a firm footing!
Smallholder farmers around the world are learning about biochar to improve their livelihoods while they cool the climate. The Carbon Removal C-sink markets are emerging to include the smallholders as well as the huge carbon removal corporations.
We've trained over 1500 farmers in East Africa so far this year while making over 50 tons of biochar that is being used in farms in Malawi and Kenya. We have commitments from farmers to make another 500 tones in the next year. At the same time, we are talking to new networks of farmers in Tanzania and Nigeria to get the farmers they are training to commit to specific goals over the next year. BiocharLife has closed a contract to sell another 1000 tonnes of CO2 credits over the next year. The contract creates income for the farmers beyond the benefits of biochar in the soil
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 for different feedstocks. In Nigeria and Malawi, we are testing the carbon content of biochar made from Water Hyacinth to find positive uses for this invasive plant. One group in India is trying a recycled commercial trash dumpster to pyrolyze wheat straw. Coffee growers in South America are starting to use biochar to retain water around their trees to offset drought conditions. 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.
You make this all possible. Please continue to support our training and the extension of biochar adoption to smallholder farmers in Africa.
Dana, Evelind, Michael, and the Warm Heart Biochar Team.
The word is getting out and we are getting new requests for training every day. Our Kenya team just trained a group of trainers in Tanzania and Uganda is most likely next. The big news is that 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.”
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 very 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.
While the accreditation will eventually enable millions of farmers to access the carbon removal markets, it is costly to do the verification and it will take a large investment to scale the operation. 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.
Thank you for all you have done to make this all possible. We still need your support as Warm Heart continues to raise funds to train farmers, build networks, and find new ways to make biochar effectively with different feedstocks.
Our Malawi and Kenya teams are busy keeping up with the demand for training from smallholder farmers while testing our process for verifying Carbon Removal with the use of biochar in the soil and animal feed.
The enthusiasm of the trainers in Malawi and Kenya has spread the word and training process to Uganda, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
With the USDS Embassy of Lilongwe grant and your donations, Malawi has trained 4,000 farmers this year and Kenya is up to 1000 now that COVID restrictions are lifting. (That's a total of 8,000 between last year and this year.) The farmers are doing their own tests and spreading the news of the great results. (See videos links.)
In the meantime, Michael (Shafer) and Jason (Highberger) have been connecting with biochar experts around the world to get smallholder farmers included in the world Carbon Removal market.
When biochar is produced and then used in soil or animal feed, it removes carbon from the atmosphere. When our process of verification is accepted, the carbon removal credits can be sold to corporations to offset their carbon footprint and farmers will get a majority share of the funds as extra income.
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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