Vermont Biochar's Roots

The seeds of the idea for this business were planted in 2007 when Michael Low first read about how biochar created terra preta (man-made Amazonian dark earth) in Acres USA.  He began researching the uses and production of biochar at that time.

The business germinated in 2009 when we were able to procure plans from a German engineer, Chris Adam, who designs effective low-cost retorts for developing countries. We chose the Adam retort because it is scaled to our animal and human powered systems.

At Green Fire Farm we experienced two roadblocks to establishing our hill farm as a commercial enterprise, although they both are directly based on soil health.  First, the fertility of our soils was severely depleted after more than a dozen families struggled to farm on this land over the past 200 years.  Secondly, this led to our inability to ethically or intelligently export any large quantity of farm products, without further  compromising the already weak living systems here.


Restorative farming should always add more to a  system than it removes, building a deep ‘reserve’ for security against challenging natural events, and the inevitable extremes inherent in farming.  We tried manuring, composting, re-mineralizing, aerating, and liming our soils, using soil tests in an attempt to balance the necessary nutrients.  Inoculated biochar holds the potential to restore the life to our soils.

We sought out an enterprise that utilized all the resources of our land and ox-powered farm to the betterment of our community and beyond.

Burning for Change?    We Are at Vermont Biochar



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