BIOAg (Biologically- Intensive Agriculture and Organic Farming) for Sustainability
Agriculture has many goals. First and foremost, it provides food for society. It can also provide many other economic, societal, and environmental goods and services. Meeting all of these goals together is one definition of sustainable agriculture.
Societies’ goals, tools, problems, and tastes change over time, so our agriculture will change too. Knowing that the world of tomorrow is not the world of today, we would be wise to keep options open. One definition of sustainability is “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (UN Brundtland Commission).
The goal of my work is to improve agricultural sustainability in both senses, so that we meet the multiple production, economic, societal, and environmental needs of today without sacrificing the resources we will need in the future. In fact, we can practice agriculture in ways that actually improve the resiliency of natural resources and societies, that give us more options instead of fewer.
Alternative methods and materials, and research to support their use, are needed to replace problematic agrichemicals and fertilizers. The approach I use is biologically intensive agriculture. Biologically-intensive agriculture could be used and further developed to supply a far greater proportion of the nutrients and energy needed for productive agriculture, and to couple rather than compartmentalize agricultural inputs and outputs, improving both environmental and economic sustainability. My research investigates and develops more sustainable biologically-intensive methods and materials to replace current hazardous and/or unsustainable chemicals and methods used for disease control and fertilization. Areas of emphasis are composting and compost teas, biological nitrogen fixation, and crop-livestock integration.
Alternative education is also needed to support the mental and physical dexterity and creativity that improve our ability to find our way out of pickles. In addition to teaching traditional and online courses, I partner with the WSU Center for Civic Engagement in the annual “Spring to Action, Break for Change” alternative spring break trip. We meet people from all walks of life who contribute to sustainable food and resource management, and we learn by lending a hand.
The issues and opportunities in sustainable agriculture are large-scale and require team efforts to address them. I’m happy to use and grow the skills I have while supporting multidisciplinary teams to meet goals and needs I could never reach alone.
Dr. Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, Ph.D.
Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources
Washington State University
PO Box 646420
227 Johnson Hall
Pullman WA 99164-6420
Dr. Lynne Carpenter-Boggs grew up on farms and in rural communities of Oregon and Idaho. She received a B.S. (1991) in Biophysical Environmental Studies at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. She received her M.S. (1994) in Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry from Iowa State University, and her Ph.D. (1997) in Soil Science from Washington State University. She joined the WSU faculty in 2006 and is an Associate Professor of Sustainable and Organic Agriculture. Her personal goal is to foster the growth of a sustainable and vibrant agriculture using knowledge and effective management of biological cycles. To meet this goal, her research studies beneficial soil and compost microorganisms. She sees many opportunities to combine traditional knowledge and producer know-how together with researcher knowledge and new innovations, to create paths toward increased sustainability. She enjoys the natural beauty and abundance of the West and wants it to last.