Field Day at Chelenzo Farms: Johnson-Su Bioreactor Construction and Filling

posted in: Champions, Field Days | 2
Filling Johnson-Su Bioreactors. Image by Isabelle Jenniches CC BY 2.0

Please join us for a Johnson-Su Bioreactor Construction and Filling workshop on July 23rd, 2022 at Hacienda Domínguez & Chelenzo Farms in Cerrillos, NM led by farm employees, Nina Listro and Grant Weaver.

In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn how to construct and fill Johnson-Su Bioreactors. Created by University of New Mexico’s very own Dr. David C. Johnson and his wife Hui-Chun Su, the Johnson-Su Bioreactor is an ideal method of composting in dry, arid climates as it reduces water usage up to six times compared to other composting methods. Little labor is required after the initial set-up as it is a completely no-turn composting process (no need for a tractor or hours of shoveling!). The compost created in these bioreactors is biologically diverse, fungally dominated and therefore has exceptional potential to regenerate poor and degraded soils.
→ Learn more about the Johnson-Su system.

Field Day registration is free-of-charge, however, there is an option to take home your own bioreactor kit for just the cost of the materials ($140 per bioreactor). You will be able to pay when registering. Please bring a truck or other large vehicle if you are interested in this option.

Participants will be provided lunch at the farm as well as an early dinner and drinks at Beer Creek Brewing Co. after the workshop. Thank you to the Seeding Regenerative Agriculture project for making this possible! 


  • 9:00 – 9:15am Introductions and workshop overview
  • 9:15am – 12:00pm Guided Bioreactor Construction
  • 12:00 – 1:00pm Lunch Break (food provided)
  • 1:00pm – 4:00pm Filling Bioreactors
  • 4:00 – 4:30pm Wrap-up and drive to Beer Creek Brewing Co. for those who would like to celebrate their hard work with food and beverages
  • 4:30 – ~6:00pm Dinner and drinks at Beer Creek Brewing Co.

This field day is hosted in partnership among NM Healthy Soil Working Group and the Seeding Regenerative Agriculture Project.

Vegetable gardens at Chelenzo Farms. Image courtesy of Chelenzo Farms.


Founded upon a dream of a healthier life closer to nature, Chelsea & Lorenzo (Chelenzo) moved to New Mexico from New York in 2021 with their family to plant regenerative roots in the Land of Enchantment.

Set in the high desert mountains of Cerrillos, New Mexico, Hacienda Domínguez offers guests the experience of a farm in action as well as the opportunity to hike on 350 acres just east of the Turquoise Trail (Route 14) and directly above the Galisteo River Basin. Nature lovers, hikers and outdoorsmen alike will discover arroyos, caves, mesmerizing 360 degree vistas of the mountains that surround Santa Fe, and witness awe-inspiring sunrises and sunsets.

At Chelenzo Farms we are applying permaculture, soil health, agroecology and agroforestry principles and are enthusiastic about applying innovative and indigenous practices to achieve our goals.

Our organic research farm serves to educate the community, resolve food insecurity issues and offer training in the areas of permaculture farming, land conservation, indigenous agricultural and sustainability practices, and the realm of sciences that look to understand the relationship (past, current and future) that humans have with nature and the land. We also aspire to contribute to knowledge about agricultural practices that improve soil health in an arid environment, amidst a 22-year megadrought.

Most immediately, we aspire to rejuvenate the magical landscape into a flourishing garden and small-scale farm replete with edible native plants and trees, such as cacti, agave, succulents, saffron, beans, herbs, various other greens, fruits and vegetables. Currently, our animals include chickens, goats, and ducks, and we intend to acquire more, which we will integrate into our farming practices via grazing and the creation of compost and organic-based soil amendments.

2 Responses

  1. Lorenzo Dominguez

    We are looking forward to seeing you all at Chelenzo Farms! Thanks to Isabelle Jenniches, Patrick DeSimio and their teams for all your support.

  2. Sylvia Ernestina Vergara

    Dear Lorenzo,
    I am so very very sorry that I will not be able to be at the biochar workshop today. I was really looking forward to going. I have an orchard in Rio Arriba county in Norhern New Mexico and I see it as an important way to midigate the prunings from the orchard.
    I really do want to learn more about biochar. I also noticed that you are using watering with tubes ( I forgot the name of the technic) for your gardens. I want to learn that as well. I irrigate with acequia water which I like to do very much, but for areas above the ditch I need to use other methods. I hope that at a later time I can come down and visit you even for a short time since I know you must be very busy to get a mini feel for what happened at your workshop today. If you have made a youtube video of today, I would be very interested if you could send me a link.
    Best Wishes and looking forward to meeting you.
    Sylvia Ernestina Vergara

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