In the early 1990s, leaders in Washington’s agriculture and food communities had the vision to create an incubator for sustainable and organic agriculture research and education at Washington State University (WSU). Now more than two decades later the Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources (CSANR) is a critical part of WSU’s sustainable agriculture efforts. Thanks to the groundwork laid by those early visionaries (many of whom are still actively engaged), WSU is a place where students, faculty and partners eagerly engage in sustainable and organic agriculture research, extension and educational activities.
Articulating the breadth and depth of the Center’s work is a challenge. Our affiliated faculty, staff and students work on issues that range from nutritional quality of organic produce to alternative marketing, and from the fate of environmental contaminants in compost to trace gas emissions from soil. We function through a model of topically based programs that convene faculty, students and partners to advance the science and practice of sustainable agriculture. The thread that ties the Center’s work together is our commitment to generating and disseminating scientific knowledge that improves the sustainability of agriculture, natural resource and food systems in Washington State.
In 2014, the Center awarded 11 new seed grants through our BIOAg grant program for faculty and students to initiate research inquiries in new areas and to provide educational training to Washington farmers and ranchers.
Through the diverse efforts of our affiliated faculty and students, more than $6.3 million in new extramural grants and contracts were secured and nearly 60 new research papers published in 2014. In this report, you’ll read a few examples of the work from our affiliated faculty and students.
We welcome your ideas or suggested opportunities for new projects. Virtually every project we work on was spurred through a conversation with someone who cares about the sustainability of Washington’s food and agriculture system.
Please take a few minutes to peruse this report for a taste of what the Center is about. If you like what you see, I’d encourage you to dig deeper on our website and blog, and follow us via social media on Facebook and Twitter.