Teddy was born and raised in Kenya and carries on with the family tradition of eco-friendly stove design and construction. He has directed his father's legacy the Woodlands 2000 Trust over the last decade, and has contributed greatly to the conservation and enhancment of natural forest regeneration throughout Kenya .
Elsen Karstad is a Canadian national and long-time resident of Kenya who combines his educational background as an ecologist with a flair for engineering and sales. Elsen’s role in the Seedballs Initiative, through his company Chardust Ltd., is the design and operation of the innovative seedball production system. Elsen is a pilot, wildlife photographer and eco-enterpreneur.
Mikhail Kuzi is Creative Director at Avocado Creative Studio in Nairobi, Kenya. His background encompasses several disciplines in design and business including brand development, strategy and graphic design.
John Njuguna takes care of Chardust’s administrative systems, personnel, accounts and day to day operations. John and Elsen have been inseperable business partners in various ventures close to twenty years. He contributes his vast knowledge and experience of farming in Kenya to help create trees from seeds.
Amy Sandys-Lumsdaine is an established Wildlife Artist and married to Elsen Karstad. Amy has designed, created and manages the website for Seedballs Kenya and contributes her knowledge on design and merchandise.
Chardust Ltd. (www.chardust.com) is responsible for seedball production and, some 20 years ago, started what is now a thriving industry in East Africa: manufacturing eco-friendly briquettes from salvaged charcoal vendor's waste. Chardust started coal mining in some of the highest-density and lowest-income urban areas of Nairobi in 1996.
Charcoal has been a valued urban domestic fuel for centuries and remains the go-to fuel of choice for the majority of Nairobi residents to this day. At least 750,000 kg of rough unprocessed lump wood charcoal is consumed within Nairobi daily, and of that amount 15% is fines and chips: charcoal vendors waste.
Another use for salvaged charcoal waste is Biochar. Charcoal dust and chips have well documented soil improvement characteristics, particularly in acidic tropical soils (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biochar). This is where charcoal vendor's waste meets tree and grass seeds to produce Seedballs using production techniques developed by Chardust in partnership with Cookswell Jikos. The recycle circle is complete with the use of salvaged urban biochar to protect and nourish seeds delivered to areas that were, in most cases, deforested for fuel.
Charcoal mining to be precise. Elsen had discovered that beneath every long-established charcoal sales area scattered throughout most of Nairobi there were literally thousands of tons of well-preserved discarded charcoal dust 'waste'- some of it dating back to the early 1900's as evidenced by old coins recovered during 'mining' the sites.
This amounts to well over 100 tons per day of high energy combustible charcoal. and now in 2017 there are some 50 briquetting facilities of various sizes and sophistication following Chardust's lead and methods. We are happy to see that most of this 'waste' is no longer wasted. VWB- Vendor's Waste Briquettes- are now part of the charcoal value chain.