Monday, April 21, 2008

Radical Reengineering - Boo-shoot Rhizomes

Comes now Big Don making a locally showcased donation to the collective offering plate of radical reengineering solutions. This is actually pretty cool in the context of who'da thunk type initiatives.
Before tissue culture, it wasn't feasible to farm bamboo on large-scale plantations because it was hard to find enough seed or divisions to plant. Despite their invasive reputation, bamboos are in short supply because most species flower and produce seed only once every 60 to 120 years, and propagation by division is labor intensive and iffy.

That all changed with the advent of cloned bamboo.

"We've never had a true supply of bamboo," Heinricher says. "We don't know how big the market will be." Boo-Shoot is the main commercial player in America, successfully cloning bamboo types that can be used for horticulture, agriculture, industry and carbon mitigation. A Belgian company, Oprins, clones mostly landscape bamboo. This winter, Heinricher retrofitted her greenhouses, enabling her company to produce 4 million plants a year.

Heinricher sees bamboo as an alternate lumber and source of pulp for paper, a way to ease pressure on trees. Bamboo plantations on unused agricultural land could be sustainably harvested while simultaneously functioning as carbon sinks. And, she asks, what about highway plantings for erosion control and noise reduction?
Cracking the code to 'the perfect plant' opens a path to saving the planet Since the primary up-front challenge has been met, this now sounds like a business with low-capital cost franchise opportunities written all over it. It's been my experience that picking up the phone or dropping an email is typically all that's required to get a good-faith bidnis dialogue spun up in earnest. Sounds like this one has at least some of the benefits of hemp cultivation with none of the associated social stigma and legal downside risk.