Ithaka Institut

Travel & Workshop in Nepal

Ithaka Climate Farming Odyssey to Nepal

The Ithaka Institute is pleased to announce our second educational odyssey where travelers will not only experience the beauty and splendor of Nepal, but will learn how Nepali farmers are improving resiliency and creating new rural jobs through climate farming and biochar based agro-forestry. Compared to our first trip earlier this year we include a broader perspective of rural Nepali life. The trip is planned for November 20 – 30th, 2016.

Over a 10 day period, travelers will see parts of Nepal which are definitely off the beaten path. Though we will begin and end the journey just outside the capital of Kathmandu, we will travel to remote villages such as Ratanpur (Tanahu) and experience rural life by living individually with a local host in a ‘homestay’. En route to Ratanpur we will visit the magnificent old-world charm of Bandipur, a mountaintop village 143 km West of Kathmandu. 


Thanks to restorative agricultural practices developed by Ithaka, a growing number of Nepali farmers are engaged in climate friendly farming and agroforestry and have achieved significant successes in improving yields while reducing costs. Travelers will learn how farmers have thrived, despite an embargo on mineral fertilizers, by creating their own well balanced, organic fertilizers using biochar, livestock urine and bones. Tours through agroforestry projects will highlight newly created best practices for tree planting and review the basics of carbon credits for such projects. As November brings the rice harvest in Nepal, travelers will have the opportunity to join and learn from local farmers about all aspects of rice harvesting. Travelers will participate in ‘Daain’ a communal rice threshing event, where they can drive an ox, thresh rice, measure grains and more.


Through collaborative workshops and shared lunches with local farmers and Nepali agricultural extension agents, travelers will have plenty of opportunities to exchange ideas on farming techniques, ask questions and share stories. Evenings will include local music, cooking lessons and dancing while tending fires and making biochar. Low key morning treks will provide time to admire beautiful views of the Himalayas while seeing terraced farming up-close.


Our trip will have a limited number of spots (minimum of 10; maximum of 15 participants). This trip is ideal for anyone interested in sustainable agriculture, anyone interested in experiencing rural life in a developing economy up-close and anyone interested in learning about the many cultural aspects of Nepal. Given the mountainous terrain in Nepal, a certain level of physical fitness is required!

Profits from the trip will be used to promote reforestation and forest gardening efforts in Nepal. A donation will also be made to the local school that will be providing travelers with a morning tutor/translator to make their homestay experience more enjoyable! And the carbon footprint of your airtravel will be compensated through Ithaka's Nepali Climate Farming Fund with trees to be planted in the villages that we visit. 

A wonderful video from our first trip was made by Marty Dodge and can be found here

TRAVEL DATES: arrival Sunday November 20th – Wednesday November 30th

COST: $1,750; includes all cost for workshops, accommodations, mini bus transportation & driver to rural villages, full time guide/interpreter, meals in the villages and carbon offset for all travel which will be paid to participating Nepali farmers to create and utilize biochar; it does not include airfare or certain meals in Kathmandu. The trip may, depending on group interest, include a short rafting trip (2 hours).

Non-refundable deposit of $200 due by October 21st; full cost due by November 1st.

IDEAL FOR: anyone interested in sustainable agriculture, biochar, international development, climate change mitigation and adaptation in the developing world. You will learn:

  • Biochar production using various Kon-Tiki kilns
  • Organic fertilizer production techniques combining biochar, livestock urine and bonechar
  • Livestock urine collection techniques
  • Biochar application techniques
  • Biochar field trial designs and monitoring techniques
  • Irrigation pond design and construction techniques
  • Agroforestry overview using biochar for successful tree planting
  • Carbon Sequestration from Climate Farming & Agroforestry
  • Urban farming
  • Rice harvesting process
  • Local cooking, crafts, dancing and music

Please find the complete program of the tour here.

For further details concerning the Nepal voyage please send an email to Kathleen Draper. For more information about our biochar, climate farming, agro-forestry and sustainable house construction projects, please consult our website



Bishnu Hari Pandit

Bishnu heads up the Nepali branch of the Ithaka Institute. He is founder of the Nepali Agroforestry College and initiated reforestation with more than 2 Million trees throughout Nepal. He led forestation projects in Pakistan and Afghanistan, an introduced biochar to Eastern India and Bangladesh. Bishnu will lead workshops on agroforestry, new forest garden products and social enhancement through carbon credit programs.


Kathleen Draper

Kathleen heads up the US branch of the Ithaka Institute and is co-editor of the Biochar Journal.  She is on the Board of Directors for the International Biochar Initiative as well as the US Biochar Initiative and works with different academic institutions and commercial enterprises on various biochar related projects.  She will serve as the “Charpa” throughout the entire 8 days and will be happy to answer most biochar questions!