training · transition town

Biochar Workshop: 20-21 April

Kyneton Transition Hub & Bendigo Sustainability Group have joined together to bring about this event, great work! Had some long chats to Paul Taylor at Woodford about Biochar, & Joost Bakker is amazing.

Caring for the Earth:
Farmers and Gardeners Leading the Way

Info evening: Fri 19th April, 7 to 9 pm
Bendigo Bank Theatre at The Capital, 50 View Street

Workshop: Sat & Sun April 20-21, 9 to 5 pm
1203 Goornong-Mayreef Rd, Elmore

“Biochar may represent the single most important initiative for humanity’s environmental and agricultural future.”
– Dr Tim Flannery

As a soil additive, biochar offers numerous benefits. It increases the capacity for soil to hold water & nutrients, greatly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, enhance crop yields and capture and store carbon for the long term.

Who is this workshop for?
For home gardeners, commercial and small-scale land users – this event is a great opportunity to interact with specialists while making special biochar mixtures for your soil, enjoying great company and having a good time.

Learn how to:

Make and operate a simple biochar reactor
Produce a range of different biochars at different temperatures
Carry out basic tests on your biochars
Make biochar/compost/mineral blends
Understand the properties of different biochars
Effectively apply biochar in different ways
Use biochar in composting toilets
Use biochar in vermiponics, hydroponics and aquaponics for food growing
Prof Stephen Joseph – Univ. of NSW. Co-founder IBI
Paul Taylor PhD – Author of “The Biochar Revolution”
Russell Burnett—Biochar Energy Systems

Workshop cost – includes lunch both days & Friday evening intro:
$195 before 1st April; $250 regular price
Only $149 for extra family member or partner

To ensure a valuable experience for all, the number of participants is limited, so please register early. Upon registration you will receive further details in preparation for the workshop.

If you can’t afford the time or cost for two days please contact us to discuss concessions – there may be availability for 1 day participants and/or scholarships. If you find it difficult to afford accommodation costs please contact us as there may be limited billeting opportunities available locally.


Brought to you by Kyneton Transition Hub &
Bendigo Sustainability Group
Contact Julie (03) 5422 3023 or

Accommodation: Caravan park & motel in Elmore and many options in Bendigo

Workshop includes the Friday introductory evening.

If you can’t make the workshop don’t miss…

Biochar Information Evening
Open to the Public
Friday, 19th April, 7 to 9 pm

Bendigo Bank Theatre at The Capital, 50 View Street, Bendigo
Gold coin donation entry

Special guest speaker – Joost Bakker
Sustainability entrepreneur
Creator of the Greenhouse Restaurant concept – Perth, Melbourne & Sydney

About Biochar

The way some people talk about biochar it sounds like a magical solution to all our key sustainability problems. So what is it? And is it so good?

Biochar is a special form of charcoal that improves soil productivity and it’s made by burning waste products in a low oxygen environment. It is based on the terra preta of the Amazon, an amazingly rich black soil that was made by the local people over thousands of years. The simple technology of making and using biochar has been rediscovered and is being adopted around the world.

Biochar’s key use is increasing soil fertility. Studies have shown agricultural productivity increasing by three times or more. But that’s not its only benefit. When added to the soil it sequesters carbon for many thousands of years. It reduces the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases being released to the atmosphere by half or more compared with other ways of getting rid of the same waste products. And the waste products you can use include gorse and other weeds, manure, sawdust, timber off cuts, and garden waste – anything that was once alive. At the same time it produces energy.

So by ticking all those boxes – improving soil fertility, using waste products, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, sequestering carbon for the long term and producing energy – it does go some way toward being a “magical” solution.

Kyneton Film Session

Explore the magic of biochar by joining us to watch and discuss the film “The Secret of El Dorado”.

When: Sunday 10th March, 6 pm

Where: Kyneton Mechanics Institute

Gold coin donation

From the website:
“In 1542, the Spanish Conquistador, Francisco de Orellana ventured along the Rio Negro, one of the Amazon Basin’s great rivers. Hunting a hidden city of gold, his expedition found a network of farms, villages and even huge walled cities. At least that is what he told an eager audience on his return to Spain.

“The prospect of gold drew others to explore the region, but none could find the people of whom the first Conquistadors had spoken. The missionaries who followed a century later reported finding just isolated tribes of hunter-gatherers. Orellana’s story seemed to be no more than a fanciful myth.

“When scientists came to weigh up the credibility of Orellana’s words, they reached the same conclusion. As productive as the rainforest may appear, the soil it stands in is unsuited to farming. It is established belief that all early civilizations have agriculture at their hearts.”

More Biochar Information

The Biochar Revolution book may be purchased at discount at

View a video of the Byron Bay workshop in May 2012 by Paul Taylor and Stephen Joseph

Other Biochar Videos:
“Biochar – agrichar – Terra Preta” – Presentation of the potential of biochar to improve the fertility of poor soils, and to sequester carbon. Focus on Australia. 11 mins

“Secrets of El dorado” – About the Terra Preta soils of the Amazon – is a ‘must see’ documentary if you haven’t already. 49 mins.

“The Promise of Biochar” Part 1 of the Biochar movie. 9 mins

“Biochar on the farm” Part 2 of “The Promise of Biochar” 2 mins

“Biochar: The oldest new thing you’ve never heard of” – TedX talk by Wae Nelson. 10 mins

Biochar Workshop
Caring for the Earth – Farmers and Gardeners Leading the Way Friday 19 April – Introduction to Bi

Biochar Workshop

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