Farm to Fork to Farm: Biochar, Compost, Working Landscapes, and a Circular Economy in Warren Co., NC

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2023-04-28

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Abstract

Working Landscapes, a non-profit organization located in Warren County, NC, aims to create new value from their natural and cultural assets and share them in more equitable ways. This project explores the market opportunity, community interest, and externalities of installing and operating a biochar unit in and around Warren County. Biochar, a carbon-rich, solid by-product that results from the pyrolysis of discarded woody material sourced from the community, combined with compost generated by Working Landscapes’ food scraps, can increase soil health and contribute to the creation of a circular supply chain. Beyond the economic benefit of waste reduction is the environmental benefit of keeping natural materials from producing greenhouse gasses in landfills. We conducted a market and cash-flow analysis, a geospatial analysis of the soil types, and analyzed results from an electronic survey for community input. To demonstrate a tangible example of a circular supply chain in Warren County and make use of otherwise wasted materials, we recommend that our client invest in biochar production along with scaling up their compost generation. Working Landscapes will gain a new customer touchpoint, reduce its waste, and increase circularity within its supply chain.

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Fast, Clara, Madeline Bowers, Eliza Carter and Karina Taragittigul (2023). Farm to Fork to Farm: Biochar, Compost, Working Landscapes, and a Circular Economy in Warren Co., NC. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27208.


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