Sonoma Ecology Center workshop teaches biochar usage

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The Sonoma Biochar Initiative, a program of Sonoma Ecology Center, is hosting a biochar workshop and invites all local farmers, growers, gardeners and others interested in this “coral of the soil” to attend.

Participants will learn about biochar, its many uses and how to make it, including a demonstration of the “conservation burn” technique – a cleaner method of agricultural burn that reduces smoke pollution while conserving carbon. The workshop is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, at Circle Bar Ranch, 25700 Arnold Drive, in Sonoma.

Biochar is a form of charcoal shown to be useful as a soil amendment, and organizers of this event hope to spread the word on its merits. Friday’s workshop is hosted by Raymond Baltar, director of Sonoma Biochar Initiative and biochar project manager for both Sonoma Ecology Center and the Redwood Forest Foundation; and Cuauhtemoc Villa, a teacher, entrepreneur and soil consultant and the manager of agronomic operations at a large, legal cannabis farm in Oregon.

Also at the workshop, Baltar will discuss where growers can purchase high-quality, locally made biochar. Baltar’s work with Redwood Forest Foundation has been completed for the year, and large quantities of the resulting biochar are available.

For more information, contact him at 291-3240.

Balter said the knowledge obtained from this workshop, on how to obtain and use biochar, will lead to a lifetime of improved and enriched soil for your farm or garden.

Tickets are $65 for the general public and $25 for students, and may be purchased at

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