Sustainability is a widely accepted concept today that is increasingly being applied in agriculture and the food system. Whether it concerns greenhouse gas emissions and soil carbon storage, pesticide use and biological control, or farm labor and automation, many issues face growers, processors, and consumers. Sustainability implies trying to optimize the economic, environmental, and social performance of the system, recognizing that there are often trade-offs involved.


The 2007 Annual Meeting of the Washington State Horticulture Association included a session on sustainability and the footprint of fruit production. Presentations were made by Warren Morgan, David Granatstein, Jim Baird, Harry Huntley, Nick Stephens, and Scott Exo. The session described the concepts of sustainability and footprints, ways to measure or evaluate them, a grower’s response to fossil fuel by adopting bio-diesel, new orchard floor management techniques, pesticide reduction strategies, and a discussion of how the Food Alliance assesses farm sustainability and links it to potential markets. Powerpoint presentations from the session are available below.

The International Horticulture Congress held in Seoul, South Korea, in August 2006 featured a symposium on sustainable horticulture. David Granatstein, WSU CSANR, gave a keynote presentation on “Sustainability in Fruit Production” that can be viewed here. [Manuscript] [Powerpoint]


Why the Concern about Nitrous Oxide Emissions?  Cogger, C., A. Fortuna, D. Collins. Feb 25, 2014. The first of a two-part webinar series on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Soil Quality in Long-term Integrated and Transitional Reduced Tillage Organic Systems.

Topics for this webinar include:

  • Source and properties of N2O as a greenhouse gas, its relative contribution to global
  • warming, and the role of agriculture in N2O emissions
  • Review of the nitrogen cycle and the production of N2O
  • The relationship between organic practices and N2O production
  • How we measure N2O emissions

Management to Reduce N2O Emissions in Organic Vegetable Production Systems  Cogger, C., A. Fortuna, D. Collins. Feb 27, 2014. The second of a two-part webinar series on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Soil Quality in Long-term Integrated and Transitional Reduced Tillage Organic Systems.

  • This is the focus of our current research. How do different organic vegetable production systems affect N2O emissions, and how do other outcomes of those systems affect their potential for adoption?
  • Systems include full tillage with high-carbon amendment (compost), full tillage with low carbon amendment (broiler litter), pasture-vegetable rotation, and reduced tillage cover crop mulch.
  • Measurements include N2O and CO2 emissions, soil N, microbial ecology focused on denitrification organisms, crop yield, and soil quality. Measurements are focused on key times during the season, including amendment application and tillage, irrigation, and freeze-thaw.

Intended audience is other researchers, and interested extension faculty and farmers.