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David Sparks Ph.d Smart Approach to Waste
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: March 17, 2017

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University of Idaho researcher Dr. Lilian Alessa strongly believes in the economic and sustainability values of using manure, byproducts of food processing, and other agricultural and aquacultural materials which, in the USA, are often considered to be waste. As an example, manure can be recaptured, mechanically and chemically treated and then be used as a perfectly good fertilizer. But, the public as well as government organizations do not find such practices acceptable.


Reclaiming and reusing nutrients can benefit Idaho businesses by giving them new sources of profit and reducing the state’s dependence on external resources. “For example, waste is a raw material. It’s something that we typically dispose of, but we’re throwing money out when we do that,” Alessa said. “We have technologies that we’re developing here in Idaho to re-use nutrients in waste. Those technologies aren’t new, but figuring out how they best fit into a whole social-ecological system on a landscape scale is. We have a systematic and collaborative approach to increasing resilience in the FEW system for Idaho and, more broadly, the American West, and this project is a demonstration on how this can be scaled up to create strong and sustainable economies in both rural and urban communities.” To accomplish this, Alessa is taking lessons learned from her previous work on sustainable agriculture in extreme and arid environments and applying them to this project.

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