Sylvia Kantor

It’s Time to Get Serious about Soil

Posted by Sylvia Kantor | January 3, 2013

The U. S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology list of the top scientific challenges facing agriculture includes “the need to manage new pests, pathogens, and invasive plants; increase the efficiency of water use; reduce the environmental footprint of agriculture; adapt to a changing climate; and accommodate demands for bioenergy – all while continuing to produce safe and nutritious food at home and for those in need abroad.” All are challenges that WSU’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR) has tackled in its first 20 years.

But David Montgomery, a University of Washington geomorphologist and author of Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, argues that saving our soils is missing from that list. As part the recent 20th anniversary celebration of CSANR, Montgomery told the story of how fundamental soil is for sustaining civilizations and how agricultural practices throughout history have accelerated the loss of this life-sustaining resource. Read more »

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Seeding the Future with Genetic Diversity

Posted by Sylvia Kantor | November 16, 2012

Over 200 people gathered in Port Townsend Nov. 9 to talk about seeds. The WSU symposium Seeding the Future: Ensuring Resiliency in Our Plant Genetic Resources kicked off the annual Tilth Producers organic farming conference. The audience, mostly farmers plus a significant contingent of young people, including more than 60 students from WSU and The Evergreen State College, was eager to participate in a dialogue about plant genetic resources that support a regional organic agriculture. Here are just a few highlights from the day. Read more »

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