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Food, Earth, Climate and Stewardship - resources for further discussion

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From Dale Hendricks:

It was an honor to participate in the discussion [at Kennett Friends Meeting] on Sunday. Here are a few articles about the Quaker and tree related works of Downingtown’s John Hershey (1897-1967) that I promised to send along.

-          Last July (’18) this was fun to see in a mainstream mag:

-          And this is the better- and more photos, tree info and hyperlinked (the last word of this article links to a treasure trove of John Hershey catalogs++++ written by our friend Max Paschall:

Also below is:

- An informal working document describing talks I present, perhaps the discussions could continue?
- A handout with a good bit more info and links.

Dale Hendricks, Green Light Plants, Landenberg PA.  Talks:

  1. John Hershey, Friend of the Trees:  Mr Hershey was a devout Quaker who had a vision of farms that built and protected soils and water, which included trees shrubs, vines, birds and berries. He was growing and selecting superior and improved trees for higher nutritive value and long season productivity with happy farm animals and healthier farmers in mind. He practiced what he preached by demonstrating this at his Downingtown farms and Nursery from 1923 to 1967. He demonstrated the practice by planting a great diversity of tree crops that rained food down for most all of the growing season. Sadly when he died the properties were developed. In the talk we’ll look at the many trees that remain and our beginning efforts to preserve their improved genetics and hopefully the trees themselves. The work and life giving vision of this pioneer still have a lot to teach us.  More info: And more links, plant info:
  2. The Rest of the Story: Soil, Carbon, Water, Climate and Agriculture: A deep dive into living- and breathing- soils: Can we have diverse, regenerative and productive gardens and farms while building carbon in soils? Is it all about just minimizing emissions? Where is the "Carbon Action" and how can we as gardeners most productively engage? What is biochar? What roles do life and diverse perennial plant systems play in building carbon in the soil? What is the “Liquid Carbon pathway”?? Is carbon the whole climate story?? What about the water cycles and transpiration?
  3. Permaculture, Native and Invasive Plants: Building resilience, Diversity and Opportunity: Permaculture provides us an opportunity to look at our landscapes and the native plant movement with fresh eyes. How can the native plant and permaculture movements inform and enrich each other? How can we add more natives to our diet? Is the real world so simple as “good guys and bad guys”? Must we be at war with invasive plants? Why are they moving and taking over so fast? Can we be a civilization of stewards and gardeners?

An article I wrote explaining as best I could about permaculture and horticulture:

  1. An Introduction to Bionutrient or Nutrient Dense Growing:  Organic produce is generally healthier than conventionally grown- but often todays organic is tasteless and lacking in nutrients. Let’s look at how gardeners can work with and enhance living soils, encourage robust microbial soil food webs and grow tastier crops. We’ve learned that we have indispensable microbiomes that primarily support our immune and digestive systems and it turns out that plants are really not so different.


Green Light Plants, LLC, 1834 Flint Hill Road, Landenberg, Pa 19350 610-633-7637 [email protected]

Soil, Carbon, Climate and Water: The Rest of the Story

Soils: Jones, C. (2018). Light farming: restoring carbon, organic nitrogen and biodiversity to agricultural soils. 

Machmuller, M.B., Kramer, M.G., Cyle, T.K., Hill, N., Hancock, D., and Thompson, A. (2015). Emerging land use practices rapidly increase soil organic matter. Nature Comms.

Mao, J.-D., Johnson, L., Lehmann, J., Olk, D.C., Neves, E.G., Thompson, M.L., and Schmidt- Rohr, K. (2012). Abundant and stable char residues in soils: implications for soil fertility and carbon sequestration Environ. Sci. Technol. 46(17):9571–9576.

Fungi/Plant Communication: Macfarlane, R. (2016). The secrets of the wood wide web.

International Biochar Initiative (IBI) provides a platform for fostering stakeholder collaboration, good industry practices, and environmental and ethical standards to support biochar systems that are safe and economically viable.

Simard, S. (2016). How trees talk to each other TEDSummit. en



Newport, A. (2017). More soil organic matter makes more rain. BeefProducer

Pearce, F. (2018). Rivers in the sky: how deforestation is affecting global water cycles. YaleEnvironment360. 

Judith Schwartz: “There’s another story to tell about climate change. And it starts with water.”

Jared Diamond: Agriculture- the Worst Mistake in Human History?


More Resources- Books:

Burn: Using Fire to Cool the Earth  Albert Bates and Kathleen Draper

Nature & EnvironmentBusiness & EconomyCommunity Resilience

How We Can Harness Carbon to Help Solve the Climate Crisis 

The Biochar Revolution: Transforming Agriculture & Environment

A friendly, informative, inspiring reference guide, this book has contributions from 18 biochar experts and authors.

The Biochar Solution- Carbon Farming and Climate Change by Albert Bates.  New Society Press, 2010

Terra Preta: How the World's Most Fertile Soil Can Help Reverse Climate Change and Reduce World Hunger Paperback – Ute Scheub, Haiko Pieplow, Hans-Peter Schmidt, Kathleen Draper, Tim Flannery (Foreword)

Biochar: A resource for farmers and gardeners:

Stockholm Biochar Project, a Mayors Challenge Winner, Biochar for district heat and healthy street trees: 

Looking deeper + Characterizations:

A comprehensive and thorough review of the many great uses for Biochar

A wider view with many more environmental and entrepreneurial possibilities:

Biochar use in European farming:

Biochar for rural water filtration:

Biochar and Forest Restoration:

This video takes us through an entire run of biochar production, using the Kon-Tiki kiln.

Simple, portable Trough Biochar making in Thailand via:

Good, basic open burn/pit biochar outline/video:

Presented by Dale Hendricks

[email protected]