IMG_1027color cropScience in Action to Improve the Sustainability of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Food Systems

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Perspectives on Sustainability - CSANR Blog

  • 2015 BIOAg Projects

    April 14, 2015
    Lynne Carpenter-Boggs was funded to research acid-tolerant rhizobia to improve the production of pulse crops like lentils. Photo: Nick Mote

    Lynne Carpenter-Boggs was funded to research acid-tolerant rhizobia to improve the production of pulse crops like lentils. Photo: Nick Mote

    Each year CSANR administers an internal competitive grant program called BIOAg to fund new research and education projects focused on improving the sustainability of agriculture in Washington State. To date, through BIOAg and precursor internal grant programs, CSANR has funded 150 projects – many of which have led to significant new investments of extramural funding to further advance these ideas. Over the course of the program [and within each year] we have funded projects ranging from basic science to applied research to extension and educational products and we’ve always been able to maintain a good blend across this continuum. 

  • What is Holistic Agriculture?

    April 1, 2015
    Carol Schaffer

    Photo: C. Schaffer

    Recently, I watched a TV program about rehabilitation of sloths illegally taken from the wild for the pet trade in Colombia. According to the narrator, the sloths were treated with holistic medicine. This puzzled me. I thought holistic medicine involved treatment of body, mind, spirit, and emotions. I couldn’t help wondering what we know about the mental, spiritual, and emotional life of sloths.

  • Space Farming is Science FICTION

    March 27, 2015
    The future of agriculture? Photo: A. S. Guerreirinho

    The future of agriculture? Photo: A. S. Guerreirinho

    It said on the screen, “Bioregenerating Soil-Based Space Agriculture.” The title of the talk was “Beyond Intensification.” The speaker, a prominent researcher and prolific author, someone who I thought would present clear thinking on how, in addition to intensification of current agriculture, we can go about producing enough food for the earth’s growing population.  I glanced around to see if anyone else was astonished.  Space farming, he said, was the next step after agricultural intensification with food coming from the Moon and Mars. “Has it come to that?” I thought.

    I am a fan of science fiction, not a costumed, Trekkie-conference fan, but a fan. However, over the years, I have realized that the stories I enjoy most are mostly fiction; the science is often ignored. This is “soft” science fiction, the stuff of most Sci-Fi movies because there is a way to visit distant planets; think warp drives on the Enterprise, a hyperdrive in the Millennium Falcon, and wormholes in Interstellar.