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Podcast: How Can Alberta Help Feed the World?

With 10 billion people projected to be on planet Earth by 2050 how can Alberta's agricultural expertise be put to use

Apr 1, 2012

by Duncan Kinney

Project: Transform Alberta is all about addressing big, bold ideas for the province. In this month’s Project: Transform Alberta article Jennifer Cockrall-King explores how over the next century of population growth Alberta’s farms, farmers and innovators could help feed those many mouths.

In our podcast we spoke to Cockrall-King about bio-char and growing more farmers and we headed to Delta Genomics and spoke to Colin Coros about the state-of-the-art genomic testing that is helping to build better cows and pigs. Click below to listen.

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Abridged Transcript

Alberta Venture: Can you explain what bio-char is and the company you featured in the story?

Jennifer Cockrall-King: Bio-char is a very cool substance. It’s any type of carbon product, mostly wood but it can be straw or hay and you burn it in the absence of oxygen. It removes the moisture and concentrates the carbon and you get this feathery light charcoal black product which is highly stable.

AV: Compare it to something we would find out in the world

JCK: It’s a bit like fireplace sweepings or if you’ve ever been on the site of a forest fire you will bio-char like charcoal.

AV: So what are the possibilities with bio-char in regards to feeding the world?

JCK: Well, we’re running out of soil with climate change and weird weather patterns soil is eroding from our farm lands. You lose soil through erosion, it just washes away. You add bio-char to the soil and it’s a very stable product, it doesn’t wash away, it retains a lot of nutrients and it has all of these nooks and crannies in it where micro-flora live. It actually rejuvenates the vitality of the soil.




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