Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems Project

Created with SARE support

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Public concerns regarding pesticide misuse, food safety, water use and contamination, and depletion of non-renewable resources have motivated the reevaluation of some of the practices of conventional agriculture and the exploration of alternative, more sustainable approaches to growing food. In 1988, the Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems (SAFS) project was established at the University of California’s Davis campus to study the transition from conventional to low-input or organic farm management in the Sacramento Valley. The original 28-acre replicated experiment on UC Davis’s main campus was unique within the nation. Now located at a joint research site with UCD’s Long Term Research on Agricultural Systems (LTRAS) with an expanded mission and research goals, the project continues to involve hands-on practitioners (e.g., farmers and farm advisors) in planning, executing, and interpreting all facets of the research, as well as providing a bridge to the farming community. Close ties to the agricultural community keep the farming philosophy realistic and the focus on meaningful research questions.

After two complete rotations, the eleven researchers, two UCCE Farm Advisors and three growers on the project have participated in the production of a 24-minute educational video. The video includes a general overview of the project, the experimental design, the participatory research process and project results.

The SAFS quarterly newsletter is also available, including archives.

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This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.