Craig Sams, the organic food pioneer – better known to the public at large by the company he founded, Green & Blacks – was in Rye last week to speak about his latest venture.
Carbon Gold, he told the annual meeting of the Rother Environmental Group, is refining the production of charcoal or Bio Char from agricultural wastes. Bio Char when added to soil improves water retention and microbial activity beneficial to growing plants. Adding charcoal to soil is also an effective way of sequestering carbon for the long term and so a way of earning “carbon credits”.
Currently the value of these credits is as low as 3 euros (about £2.40) for every tonne of carbon sequestered. Following the recent co-operation between China and the USA to tackle climate change there could be a global carbon tax. Sams, a former chairman of the Soil Association, was hopeful this could be announced at the next Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015. The ability for companies – and individuals – to reduce this tax by purchasing carbon credits could lead to the development of new global industry both establishing and trading in credits. Sams also explained the complex life of soils: how industrial agriculture had wasted and damaged them and how important it is to protect and improve the soil remaining on the planet.
Dominic Manning conducted the formal part of the meeting at The George in Rye on Tuesday evening [November 25]. The accounts were presented by treasurer Sue Wilson. A new committee was elected with two new members from Battle: Bev Marks and Sue Burton. Nick Hanna briefly summarised the progress towards a Rother cycling strategy and asked for a volunteer to represent Rye at the next meeting of the transport group. Sue Burton presented the new leaflet produced by the Battle Waste and Recycling group with tips on reducing waste over Christmas.