1000 x 90

Free Workshop Biochar: Renewable Energy Source for Greenhouses Happens This Sunday

On Sunday, April 29th, 2018 at 3:00 PM join Springhouse Farm and Against the Grain Farm as they walk us through the Nexus Biochar system and share with us the great benefits it may have for a farmer.

The Biochar System is a source of renewable energy for heating greenhouses and producing small-scale biochar material. The bioenergy research team at Appalachian State University has built pilot systems at two local cooperative farms: Against the Grain Farm and Springhouse Farm.

The pilot system includes a biochar kiln, solar thermal collector, food dehydrator and water tank. The heat from the biochar kiln and solar collector is collected in the water tank and radiated to the soil (root zone heating) through tubing installed under the germination/growing tables at their greenhouses during the cold season.

Hei-young Kim from the Appalachian Energy Center says, “Root zone heating is a more energy efficient way to deliver heat to crops compared to conventional space heating. During the warm season when heating is not needed, the collected heat is used to dry food in the food dehydrator.” Dried food such as dried apples and sun-dried tomatoes is a good way of food preservation, and can be another source of income for farmers. Biochar produced from the kiln is known as useful soil amendment due to its unique ability to increase water and nutrient retention.

About Springhouse Farm

Located in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, Springhouse Farm grows certified organic produce and raise pastured pork. ​Springhouse Farm is named for an original feature of the farmhouse, built in the late 1800’s. The springhouse, still intact, cooled food using naturally cold water from a nearby spring. Previously part of a 45 acre tract farmed by a family of 5, the soil still turns up arrowheads carved from granite on the land. Mindful of the ingenuity of the springhouse and the deep history of the land, they use environmentally responsible methods to nourish the community in a sense of stewardship. Springhouse farm has been certified organic since 2011. They never use synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or GMO seeds.

About the ATG Farm

Against the Grain is a small-scale diversified farm located 15 minutes from downtown Boone in Zionville, North Carolina. They live on a 20 acre farm and raise a broad spectrum of Certified Biodynamic and Organic vegetables on a little under 2 acres. They also raised pastured turkey and Animal Welfare Approved chicken, pork, beef, and goat. The focus at Against the Grain is to nurture the soil in order to grow high quality nutritious food for the local community.

This workshop is a part of Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture’s CRAFT Program and is open to all growers at any level. CRAFT stands for Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training. The program:

  • Connects aspiring farmers with experienced farmers
  • Encourages innovative on-farm educational and professional experiences
  • Provides tools to established farmers that will enhance their mentorship abilities.

Blue Ridge CRAFT does this through an Apprenticeship Opportunities webpage, summer on-farm peer-to-peer workshops for aspiring and established farmers, and winter farmer-driven gatherings.

Workshop Details

Location: The workshop will begin at Springhouse Farm and then carry over to ATG Farm. Springhouse farms is located at 433 Silverstone Rd. Vilas, NC 28692 and ATG Farm is located at 619 Camp Joy Rd in Zionville, NC 28698

Cost: FREE

Date & Time: Sunday, April 29th at 3:00 PM

RSVP: by emailing craft@brwia.org or by calling (828) 386-1537

Website: craft.brwia.org

Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture is dedicated to strengthening the High Country’s local food system by supporting women and their families with resources, education, and skills related to sustainable food and agriculture. We do this by providing opportunities for women farmers to share knowledge, hosting a Farm Tour, providing opportunities for consumers to learn about self-sufficiency and connecting everyone to our local agricultural heritage and landscape. Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture currently serves: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Mitchell, Wilkes, Watauga, and Yancey Counties in North Carolina as well as Johnson County, Tennessee.


For more information about this workshop or others, please contact Dave Walker at craft@brwia.org.