Our story at Phoenix Rising has been like driving through a city and trying to time the stop lights just right for the flow of our business. After graduating from UCSD, I moved back to Mount Shasta with the idea of using a college project to start a small business that I felt was suited to a place like Siskiyou County.

Phoenix (Soil) Rising’s mission is to repurpose the seasonal biomass from all the glorious trees in our surrounding forests into a sustainable, natural, eco-friendly, soil amendment called biochar (aka an un-pressed charcoal briquette). This soil amendment is a great way to sequester carbon back into Earth’s top soils to keep it fertile and full of carbon. The pore sizes of the charcoal pieces are a perfect home for all the ‘good’ bacteria and microbes that help build the food web from the ground up, ensuring your crops and flowers are big, juicy, and colorful. Biochar also helps reduce irrigation and the need for nutrients/fertilizers, all while cleaning up public and private lands of those cumbersome piles of pine needles and sticks!

Despite all the community support, we were burning all this yard waste, in a special way of course, on an almost daily basis and we quickly got shut down by the Fire Marshall because of smoke emissions. The WBC at JEDI helped us to keep our enthusiasm and momentum during this trying time and refocus our energy into more productive channels to help ride out these red lights until they turned green again.

We now have a new location that allows us to conduct our business legally and enough source material to keep the fires burning. We are looking at purchasing a real furnace to make our charcoal rather than using the D.I.Y. furnace we developed. The tips and the business and networking skills we learned in JEDI‘s “It’s Your Business” class are ensuring the success of our company. With our success we can help keep the economy of Siskiyou County growing and give back to the community we were raised in and love so much. Thank you JEDI, we look forward to the next class or counseling appointment!

Learn more about Zak’s venture here:  https://www.facebook.com/phoenixrisingbiochar/

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