Building a Johnson-Su Compost Bioreactor

Growing an inoculant to favor carbon sequestering fungi in the soil along with a great diversity of other organisms that aid plants and make spongy rich soil regenerating the water cycle.


We make and use biochar at Tracy Garden. Biochar is an ancient technology that can literally help save the world. You can make it by yourself or with friends. Watch below and learn how.

We are doing a fundraiser to expand our work.

We are asking for support to provide an internship for a UMKC Environmental Studies student. The intern will help promote neighborhood community groups to put and keep carbon in the soil as one means of mitigating climate change. They will prepare biochar and soil inoculants that promote more soil fungal activity. They will teach no-till vegetable growing; the making of mycorrhizal fungi; and the use of cover crops. The intern will help maintain education at Tracy Garden and oversee programs there.

We are trying to weave environmental understanding and awareness into neighborhood community culture, so that it is present in most interactions, thereby keeping it alive. This will lead to action supported by the neighborhood groups.

Here is an older video showing the Jolly Roger method of making biochar:

Download PDF: Putting and keeping carbon in the soil

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Ways You Can Help

Since 1987 Heartland All Species Project is a 501-c-3 not for profit in the state of Missouri. You can make donations by credit card through PayPal or mail a check or money order to

Heartland All Species Project
5644 Charlotte
Kansas City MO 64110

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Become a Gardener at Tracy Garden

Help with the work, learn & take home healthy vegetables.

Do you want to garden with us?

Two lots in the Troost Plateau Neighborhood (5630 Tracy) of the 49/63 Neighborhood Coalition are learning/community garden spaces for neighbors and others to learn Carbon Smart Gardening.

Smart Gardening (increase carbon in the soil) includes being organic, using no chemicals for pest or weed control. It also promotes no-till methods of using mulches, cover crops and timely easy weeding practices. We also promote the building of healthy soil for growing the healthiest vegetables. Our cover crops help by keeping roots in the ground as much as possible. The living roots are constantly feeding the microbes that deliver minerals and water to roots, improving the health of the plants. In the spring we will start growing mycorrhizal fungi to inoculate roots so they can more easily absorb minerals and water, increasing production.

All of these methods are Earth friendly with an eye to keeping carbon in the soil instead of it being in the atmosphere as CO2 and heating up the Earth. The most direct practice of putting carbon in the soil at Tracy Garden is the making of biochar or charcoal. We use wood chips and small sticks (what some call yard waste) to make biochar, then mix with compost and add to the soil. Charcoal lasts much longer in the soil than compost and is at least as good for the soil. It prevents the loss of Nitrogen from the soil and houses microbes.

Gardeners will receive hands on learning opportunities through the season in all these methods as well as more root-a-mentry garden practices. We will grow a large variety of vegetables and some fruits. Gardeners will work in groups or individually on tasks as necessity presents. Food grown in the garden will be shared with gardeners according to the time they work.

We will do outreach to individuals and organizations to share our methods. Gardeners will not be expected to present to these groups.

Interested? Let us know.

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No scheduled events at this time.

If you would like to be contacted when we do a biochar burn on short notice let us know and we’ll try to contact you.

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What Is No-till Gardening?

Natural No Till gardening is organic or chemical-free gardening. The soil is not tilled between harvest and planting save for some raking. The soil is either kept covered with mulch or compost, or it is planted in a cover crop to keep carbon fixed in the living soil. No till gardening attempts to reestablish and sustain a healthy, well balanced soil ecology. When living soil is exposed to air and sun by tilling, the carbon in the soil’s organic material is metabolized by bacteria resulting in carbon dioxide which escapes into the atmosphere. Reduction of CO2 emissions is a natural consequence of organic no-till gardening.

We have an online organic no-till garden calendar where you can watch videos for each seasonal task.

More information at

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Can We Have Your Limbs?

Please consider saving your dry dead limbs for us. We can’t use green limbs because we don’t have the storage space to dry them. We will use the limbs to make biochar to slow global warming and make garden soils more fertile. The sticks need to be 1 3/4 in diameter. It saves our volunteer time if they are 15 inches long or shorter.

We can come to your block party or to your neighborhood’s dumpster day to pick up sticks.

Email us at or call at 816-400-2277 and we’ll arrange to pick them up.

If you would like to save your green limbs in your back yard until they are dry we could pick them up then.

Contact us if you would like to see Tracy Garden or to watch us make biochar. We welcome schools and groups too.

Check out our new video!

Thanks, Marty Kraft

Heartland All Species Project