Welcome to the Biochar Journal (tBJ)

We seek to spark innovative research to find economically and environmentally responsible uses for biochar. We seek to bring scientific content to life in a manner that inspires academics and non-specialists alike. Although we use certain elements common to scientific publications such as peer review and references, we do not aspire to be an academic journal. We use these standards as we want our readers to be confident that what is written in the Biochar Journal is based on sound science and practicality.  In the same way that we are not an academic publication, neither are we an industry journal although we hope that industry and entrepreneurial people find inspiration and ideas for new products and successful models for biochar deployment.

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Climate Farming Odyssey to Nepal

image:Climate Farming Odyssey to Nepal

The Ithaka Institute is pleased to announce our second educational odyssey where travelers will not only experience the beauty and splendor of Nepal, but will learn how Nepali farmers are improving resiliency and creating new rural jobs through climate farming and biochar based agro-forestry. Compared to our first trip earlier this year we include a broader perspective of rural Nepali life. The trip is planned for November 20 – 30th, 2016.


Over a 10 day period, travelers will see parts of Nepal which are definitely off the beaten path. Though we will begin and end the journey just outside the capital of Kathmandu, we will travel to remote villages such as Ratanpur (Tanahu) and experience rural life by living individually with a local host in a ‘homestay’. En route to Ratanpur we will visit the magnificent old-world charm of Bandipur, a mountaintop village 143 km West of Kathmandu. 


Thanks to restorative agricultural practices developed by Ithaka, a growing number of Nepali farmers are engaged in climate friendly farming and agroforestry and have achieved significant successes in improving yields while reducing costs. Travelers will learn how farmers have thrived, despite an embargo on mineral fertilizers, by creating their own well balanced, organic fertilizers using biochar, livestock urine and bones. Tours through agroforestry projects will highlight newly created best practices for tree planting and review the basics of carbon credits for such projects. As November brings the rice harvest in Nepal, travelers will have the opportunity to join and learn from local farmers about all aspects of rice harvesting. Travelers will participate in ‘Daain’ a communal rice threshing event, where they can drive an ox, thresh rice, measure grains and more.


Through collaborative workshops and shared lunches with local farmers and Nepali agricultural extension agents, travelers will have plenty of opportunities to exchange ideas on farming techniques, ask questions and share stories. Evenings will include local music, cooking lessons and dancing while tending fires and making biochar. Low key morning treks will provide time to admire beautiful views of the Himalayas while seeing terraced farming up-close.


Our trip will have a limited number of spots (minimum of 10; maximum of 15 participants). This trip is ideal for anyone interested in sustainable agriculture, anyone interested in experiencing rural life in a developing economy up-close and anyone interested in learning about the many cultural aspects of Nepal. Given the mountainous terrain in Nepal, a certain level of physical fitness is required!

Profits from the trip will be used to promote reforestation and forest gardening efforts in Nepal.  A donation will also be made to the local school that will be providing travelers with a morning tutor/translator to make their homestay experience more enjoyable!

A wonderful video from our first trip was made by Marty Dodge and can be found here

Please check the Ithaka website for further information.