The UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program is collaborating with Verliant Energy Partners to launch a new approach, called solutions centers, to showcase the latest sustainable solutions to critical issues in agricultural and food systems.
A solution center is a combination of virtual, web-based information portals along with networks of live demonstration sites and technical experts who can provide practical, science-based information to end-users. Each solution center will focus on a specific issue in agriculture and food systems, and will provide guidance on how to adapt information to a wide range of conditions, or different use cases, in California.
"Given the diversity of California agriculture, we prioritize engaging end-users like farmers and cooperative extension farm advisors to help us to develop a structure for solution centers that is highly adaptable, and avoids a one-size-fits-all approach," says Sonja Brodt, Academic Coordinator and SAREP's leader on the first solution center project.
Verliant Energy Partners is partnering with SAREP in the first phase of this launch, to develop a prototype solution center focused on re-purposing agricultural waste streams for bioenergy creation (using anaerobic digesters) and for nutrient capture and re-use. The first steps in this phase are already underway - to organize all UC assets on this topic into a central repository. These assets include existing information and learning tools, as well as an inventory of demonstration sites and researchers.
"Best practices in sustainable agriculture are being sought by the ag industry in general. UC Davis is a thought-leader in this field. Creating a platform on campus to allow easy collaboration and flow of information helps all parties. We are committed to supporting this platform by helping to make the SAREP Solution Center a reality," said Haider Nazar, CEO of Verliant Energy Partners and incoming ASI External Advisory Board member.
"SAREP has 25 years of history connecting UC science with the needs of California farmers and ranchers. With the help of Verliant Energy Partners, we feel SAREP's solution center approach will enhance our ability to assist California agriculture in addressing new challenges and seizing emerging opportunities," said Tom Tomich, Director of SAREP and ASI.