Hi friends,

The communities of the alta-Talmanca are served by fleets of 6-10 meter dug-out cargo canoes plying a network of rivers.

  2012 has been an amazing year for SeaChar.Org on both the local and international fronts. The Estufa Finca-Talamanca Project in Costa Rica has built and distributed a total of 146 biochar producing stoves since we began stove promotion and training in January of 2012: 110 have been sold to families participating in the Estufa Finca-Talamanca program, 25 stoves sold retail to the local Costa Rica market, 3 stoves are placed for use at community centers (including one in Panama)

6 stoves are being used by Estufa Finca staff/employees for training or demonstrations and we have provided 2 replacement stoves. We have a waiting list for both participation in the Estufa Finca Project and for simply buying a stove.

New cooks in the Estufa Finca Program receive two days of training on their new stoves.

SeaChar employs two local indigenous Bribri women, Viviana Salazar and Sobeida Morales, to handle stove promotion, training and follow-up with their communities, as well as Laura Roldan; a talented, young Costa Rican, as our Field Coordinator. Our innovative community based training program was designed and initiated by former SeaChar Board member Kate Selting and we have been blessed with illustrated training materials drawn by Seattle artist Sara Porter.

The Biochar “Buy-back” program has now completed it’s 7th month. We now have 22 regularly participating households. We have collected 273 feed-sacks of biochar, paying families approx. $5 per sack. This is a total of 2162.5 kilograms = 4767.5 lbs.or  2.4 Tons. This biochar is going in the ground in research and demonstration projects, on cacao farms, in large organic plant nurseries, in two school garden projects, local organic truck gardens and we are pleased to announce we are selling biochar at a dollar per kilogram. We could increase the number of households we are buying biochar from , but as with the unmet demand for stoves we are constrained by a lack of funding.

 

 

This finca in Suretka is one of four paticipating in a multi-year study of biochar and cacao led by grad. students from CATIE and supported by SeaChar.Org

The first year of  plot-testing and nursery pot-testing with biochar and organic cacoa was led by Juliano Hojah da Silva. Juliano was a second year graduate student at C.A.T.I.E. (The Center for Tropical Agricultural Investigation and Education) http://globalmdp.org/network/catie  Soil testing and analysis show across the board gains in terms of physical, chemical and biological soil indicators. The same applies to incidence of  fungal disease and harvest-able weight, We will be sharing these results on SeaChar’s web-site in early 2013. In the coming year this line of research will be continued and enlarged in scope to include the interaction between biochar and bananas. We are pleased to announce that C.A.T.I.E. graduate student Jorge Orlando Acosta Buitrago.will be the lead researcher in 2013.

  

All the cooks in the Estufa Finca Program must have their own stove settings built. Families design their own to our safety standards. Our promoters were the 1st to pick up hammer and saw.

Working with a lot of support from the Biochar Company’s Jeff Whallin; SeaChar has helped to form the Char Alliance or CAFT: http://biochar.us.com/244/biochar-bob-and-char-alliance   We will be working together with Carbon Roots International (Haiti) and Eco-Fuel Africa (Uganda), sharing ideas on technology, implementation, marketing and fundraising.

Although much of the attention SeaChar has received in 2012 has focused on the Estufa Finca Project. There have been equally exciting developments in the Seattle area.
I am very pleased to announce that SeaChar is now working with Pacific Bamboo Resources http://pacificbamboo.com/about-the-farm/  and Antioch University to develop six beautiful acres of farmland east of Seattle into Morethana Farm, a permaculture and biochar teaching farm project, This activity has been funded initially with a generous grant from Green Mountain Coffee. SeaChar has worked with these partners to design and teach the first two of three biochar workshops held at Morethana Farm. These have been two-day workshops. We are planning the third for sometime in April, and will focus on inoculation and application of the biochar we are producing at the farm, details will be released soon.  Of course. SeaChar’s educational outreach has continued through the year with multiple biochar/ stove building workshops and community initiatives. My proudest moment was when SeaChar volunteers Larry James and Steve Anderson led an effort to bring Estufa Finca cook-stoves to the inhabitants of Seattle’s Nickelsville, a semi-permanent homeless encampment of over one hundred individuals. Steve and Larry hosted fund raising events that payed for a stove building workshop for cooks at the camp, who are living in conditions as rough as any of the poorest people we have been working with in rural Costa Rica.

SeaChar's Art Donnelly leading the 1st of three 2-day biochar workshops @ Sammamish's Morethana Farm

SeaChar’s work would not have been possible this year without the financial support of National Geographic, the Environ Foundation and countless private individuals. Despite the fact that this support has been significant we are currently facing a $20,000 funding gap from the end of January 2013 through early June.  We need your help to bridge this gap. Help me keep the char going into the ground. SeaChar is a 501c3.  You can donate via PayPal @ http://seachar.org/donate or by check to: SeaChar 4705 Memory Lane West, University Place,  WA. 98466