Biochar Workshop & Artist Talk in Lime Ridge

Posted Aug 21, 2017 | No Comments

Verge, an art installation seen on the 2016 Farm/Art DTour, returns to the area on August 26-27 with a series of events at the Art Asylum on County Road S, ¼ mile west of Main St.,Lime Ridge. In 2016, artists Sara Black, Amber Ginsburg and Lia Rousset worked with local builders of all skill levels to create and place 220 Leopold benches at a farm site between two adjacent ecological communities: where field meets forest. Join the artists for a weekend of transformation from bench, to charcoal and then to biochar – a material host for microorganisms that promote soil biodiversity and long-term carbon storage. The weekend will include a hands-on Biochar Workshop, an Artist talk, and a day-long event where the artists will transform the remaining benches to biochar.

Biochar is the name of a 2,000 year-old practice that converts plant matter into a soil enhancer that can hold carbon, boost food security and increase soil biodiversity. The process creates a highly porous charcoal that helps soils retain nutrients and water. OnSaturday August 26 from 2 – 5pm Tony Saladino will present a workshop in which participants learn-by-doing, producing batches of biochar. Participants will leave with some char of their own and a whole lot of knowledge about the history, benefits, process of making and uses of biochar. Tickets are required for this workshop. Visit for more information.

Following the workshop at 6:30 pm, Chicago-based artists Sara Black and Amber Ginsburg will give an overview of their works that address ecological change across forest systems and how these changes are linked to larger systems like the global carbon cycle. Their large-scale projects reach into time on a geologic scale but engage with audiences in the present moment.

On Sunday morning, Sara and Amber will stoke up eight anaerobic charcoal kilns, transforming the remaining material of the original Verge benches into charcoal and then on to biochar for the enrichment of local growing systems. Join them in the morning to tend the roaring kilns while chatting about carbon. The afternoon will be spent working together to turn charcoal into biochar. Participants may take away biochar for their own use at the end of the weekend. All remaining biochar will go to local partner farms.

The Saturday artist talk and Sunday event are free of charge.

This weekend of events is part of Wormfarm Institute’s Test Plots series leading up to Fermentation Fest in October. The exhibit is made possible in part through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Sauk County Arts and Culture Committee, the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the state of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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