Re:char Re-vitalizing Communities in Kenya

Re:char Re-vitalizing Communities in Kenya

Regenerative business targets global growth

After Jason Aramburu Lowres graduated from Princeton University where he nurtured his passion for environmental sustainability studying ecology and environmental science, he found himself in New York working in venture capital (VC).

New York is a long way from the jungles and agricultural plots of Panama where he’d worked with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and was first introduced to the ancient concept of bio-char; the foundation of the business he currently operates that is changing the lives of small-scale farmers in Kenya.

Aramburu enjoyed the work in venture capital, though; he was helping finance the aspirations of clean energy entrepreneurs and offering his contribution to environmental sustainability.

The VC market slowed significantly with the global financial meltdown of 2008, however, so plans changed.

“It just seemed like a good time to start a company,” he says, and the ancient process of enhancing and enriching depleted soil that he learned about in Panama became its foundation.

Re:char sprung from that ambition and is making a significant impact on more than 750 small-scale farmers in Kenya. They’re able to increase crop yields and supplement their income with Re:char, which effectively traps the carbon in plant waste through the process of pyrolysis and turns that waste into a carbon-rich soil supplement.

In doing so, they’re also helping keep excess carbon from entering the atmosphere.

Seeing this process in action on the ground in Kenya is a great source of pride for Aramburu and the Re:char team.

“It’s fantastic,” he says. “It’s great to be on the forefront of something exciting and impactful.

“When you see people grow maize that’s taller than they are, that’s just really exciting because that doesn’t happen there, and you know that they’re going to have enough food that season or they’re going to be able to sell that food and make money.”

He adds that helping create jobs connected to Re:char is equally exciting, because more families will have the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty they’ve known for far too long.

One gentleman who operates a Re:char test farm, for example, now lives in a home with electricity; a great step up from the mud hut he knew before.

Aramburu is heading to Kenya again this month for an extended period of time and as he looks to the future his goal is to continue to scale the business upwards and expand into other parts of the world where farmers and communities could benefit from the technology.

Please leave your comments below, or e-mail kristian(at)axiomnews.ca.

Axiom News provides Stakeholder News services to Social Venture Network where a version of this article originally appeared.

 

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Kristian Partington

Kristian says he's been a storyteller all his life, and from an early age he thrived in the creative process of putting pen to paper. With Axiom News, he says he finds as much power in the conversations he has with sources for stories as he finds in the stories themselves.

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