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Perspectives on Sustainability - CSANR Blog

  • We are the 98%. Thanks to farmers and ranchers, from the rest of us.

    November 25, 2015

    Just 2% of our population are farmers. Perhaps this should cause us as much concern as the 99-1% divide (highlighting economic inequality in our country), but today my goal is not warning, but thanksgiving. Here are some observations that we, the 98% should consider about the 2% of farmers, ranchers, growers, producers or whatever they would like us to call them.

    Thank you to the producers of our feasts. Photo: Lauren M. via Flickr CC.

    Thank you to the producers of our feasts. Photo: Lauren M. via Flickr CC.

  • Carkner of Terry’s Berries awarded “Farmer of the Year”

    November 23, 2015
    Tilth 2015 (14)

    Terry Carkner (left) as she is presented with the “Farmer of the Year” award at the annual Tilth Producers of Washington conference earlier this month. Photo: C. Donovan.

    After 31 years, Terry Carkner has retired from her namesake farm, Terry’s Berries, in the Puyallup River Valley. She and her husband Dick converted a 25-acre conventional raspberry farm into a diversified organic vegetable farm and started one of the first CSA farms in the state. At their recent conference, the Tilth Producers of Washington honored Terry with their “Farmer of the Year Award,” an award that recognizes innovations in organic farming, excellence in enhancing natural resources and biodiversity, soil stewardship, and inspiration to other farmers and community members.

  • Being prepared: what we got can help us understand what to expect

    October 12, 2015

    As I shared in my last post, “Climate is what you expect, and weather is what you get.” But if the climate is changing, and part of what experts predict is that we’ll see more extreme weather and weather-related events—think floods, droughts, big storms—what should we expect?

    Chelan, WA vineyard. Photo: A. Simonds

    Wine grapes; a crop of growing importance in eastern Washington that tolerates drought better than other important crops. Photo: A. Simonds

    More than one research group is working hard to develop models that can help answer this and other questions. They are also working to collect real-world data against which to compare the model projections, to improve our confidence in what these models tell us. It is this combination of data and good models—models that do a good job at representing what actually happens in the real world—that would allow us to say to what extent a particular event is due to a changing climate, and how much is just the natural, year-to-year variability that we are all used to experiencing.

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