WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

Decarbonise the Air, Recarbonise the Soil

Agriculture: State-of-the-art soil

A charcoal-rich product called biochar could boost agricultural yields and control pollution. Scientists are putting the trendy substance to the test.

14 January 2015

Jeff Hutchens/Getty

Biochar — a soil additive made by heating biological material — is catching attention as a means to improve crop growth and clean up contaminated water.

For more than 150 years, the Brooklyn Navy Yard constructed vessels that helped to stop the slave trade from Africa, lay the first undersea telegraph cable and end the Second World War. Now, this sprawling industrial facility in New York City is filled with artists, architects, producers of artisanal moonshine and people growing organic vegetables. On a drizzly day in autumn, Ben Flanner tends a sea of red and green lettuce on a 6,000-square-metre rooftop farm.

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