Biochar—is a soil-enrichment approach to cultivation that is being explored in many places in the world. While its long-term effects are still under investigation, many people are looking to biochar as a possible response to two of the world’s most dire issues: hunger and climate change. Israel, which has been rising to the challenges of growing crops in stubbornly difficult conditions for many years, is on the forefront in this field.
The two-part film Solutions from the Land includes “Saving the Soil: Israel Explores Biochar” and “Biochar: A New Path.” It highlights the work of Yoram Kapulnik, head of the Volcani Center (the research arm of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture), and award-winning Volcani scientist Ellen Graber; together they are experimenting with biochar with a view to improving impoverished soils and countering the adverse effects of chemicals and pesticides, while increasing crop yield. In the film, Yoram and Ellen visit a U.S. biochar facility, and take stock of how work is advancing on both sides of the Atlantic. The film also focuses on neuroscientist-turned-biochar-entrepreneur Nadav Ziv, surrounded by hundreds of thousands of date-palm trees near the Dead Sea; he explains that greenhouse gases taken out of the air by the growing palm trees are fixed via a process known as pyrolysis in the form of biochar, which can be used to great advantage. Each of these remarkable figures is contributing to Israel’s—and the world’s—progress in the area of sustainable agriculture.
These stills are from the film Solutions from the Land available with the purchase of The Desert and the Cities Sing: Discovering Today’s Israel.