Workshop participants in wheat fieldScience in Action to Improve the Sustainability of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Food Systems

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Perspectives on Sustainability - CSANR Blog

  • True Cost Accounting

    June 18, 2018

    Anne Schwartz is a long-time CSANR Advisory Committee member, former Tilth Producers of Washington president, proprietor of Blue Heron Farm, and lifelong advocate for sustainable agriculture.  Anne is a guest blogger, challenging College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resources Sciences faculty, and CSANR faculty in particular, to focus on and address the challenges of True Cost Accounting.

    Anne Schwartz holding bunches of radishes

    Anne Schwartz

    True Cost Accounting is the study in economics that addresses all of the upstream and downstream costs and benefits associated with a set of management decisions and ensuing practices, and their long-term impacts on natural resources and communities.  Other terms used to indicate a similar approach include: Full Cost Accounting (FCA), Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), Triple Bottom Line (TBL), Natural Capital Accounting (NCA), and Cradle to Cradle (C2C).

  • Calculating Climate Benefits for Climate Smart Farms

    June 14, 2018
    Dale Gies near silos

    Farmer and long-time CSANR advisory committee member, Dale Gies. Photo: S. Kantor.

    What are the climate impacts of a given farm practice?  While we know lots of strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions on farms, quantifying that impact can be difficult.  However, there is at least one farm in our region –one that uses some pretty neat practices – for which scientists have attempted to answer that question.  And the farmer just happens to be a long-time member of CSANR’s advisory committee, Dale Gies.

  • Turning Urban Wood Waste into Biochar

    June 11, 2018

    Biochar as a soil amendment has been the subject of much attention in recent years because of its ability to sequester carbon and to improve aggregation, water holding capacity, and organic matter content of soil amended with it (Lehmann, 2007; Marris, 2006). A recent article on the Ag Climate Network blog from our colleagues at Oregon State University discusses what’s needed to economically produce forest to farm biochar. In contrast, researchers at Washington State University are investigating what we could call waste to farm biochar. Waste to farm biochar, if deployed on a larger scale, could offer a two-part benefit – removal of wood from the municipal solid waste stream and creation of a valuable product from this wood. In recent work, researchers are looking at two possible wastes that could be made into biochar: wood-based fractions of municipal solid waste and the large woody material remaining after compost production—referred to as “compost overs.”

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