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Organic Food, Good Tools, Vancouver R&E, Silver ACE

Posted by | April 9, 2008

More Nutrition Per Bite

Three WSU researchers have co-authored a comprehensive study comparing the nutritional quality of organic and conventional foods. Their conclusion? “Organic plant-based foods are, on average, more nutritious in terms of their nutrient density for compounds validated by this study’s rigorous methodology.” The study shows that organic plant-based foods contain higher levels of eight of 11 nutrients studied, including significantly greater concentrations of the health-promoting polyphenols and antioxidants.

In the first comprehensive review of the scientific literature comparing nutrient levels in organic and conventional food completed since 2003, the team of scientists conclude that organically grown plant-based foods are 25 percent more nutrient dense, on average, and hence deliver more essential nutrients per serving or calorie consumed.

Nutrient levels were studied in 236 matched pairs of foods with scientifically valid results on the levels of 10 nutrients, plus nitrates (high levels are undesirable because of food safety risks). Each matched pair contains, for example, an apple crop grown organically and another apple crop from a nearby conventional farm with similar soils, climate, plant genetics, irrigation systems, nitrogen levels, and harvest practices.

The new report is published as a “State of Science Review” by the Organic Center and is entitled “New Evidence Confirms the Nutritional Superiority of Plant-based Organic Foods.” The co-authors are Charles Benbrook, the Organic Center’s Chief Scientist, Xin Zhao of the University of Florida, and three Washington State University scientists: Neal Davies of WSU’s College of Pharmacy, Preston Andrews of the department of horticulture and landscape architecture, and Davies’ grad student Jaime Yáñez. Dr. Andrew Weil, a Center board member, wrote the “Foreword.”

The full report and its executive summary are available on the Organic Center’s Web site:

Three WSU researchers have co-authored a comprehensive study comparing the nutritional quality of organic and conventional foods.

Right Tool for the Job

From wheel hoes, seeders, and cultivators to binders, thrashers, walk-behinds and spaders, the tools available to modern farmers can be overwhelming. What do you need? What size? Is that rusting cultivator behind the barn worth refurbishing? What about hay-fueled horsepower?

A Washington State University Snohomish County Extension workshop will focus on the tools and equipment available to help today’s small-scale farmers save time and increase their bottom line.

The workshop will be held on Saturday, April 26, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Klesek Family Farm in Stanwood. The farm is located at 24101 Miller Road in Stanwood. The cost is $55 and includes lunch.

Space is limited and pre-registration is required by April 22. Download the form at and mail with your check, or call Karie Christensen at 425/338-2400, email

Tool know-how helps small farmers improve their bottom lines.

Historic WSU Center Changes Ownership, Mission

Washington State University’s historic 78th St. Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Vancouver has new owners as of today, along with a new mission and a new plan for the future, all based on a decades-long partnership.

Clark County commissioners today announced they will assume ownership of the 79-acre property from WSU. They also outlined a new vision of what activities will take place there.

“Our goal is to preserve the site as part of the county’s agricultural heritage with a specific focus on sustainability and to make it available to the public,” said Mark McCauley, director of Clark County General Services. “Our principal partner will be WSU.”

Linda Kirk Fox, associate vice president and dean of WSU Extension, called the change in ownership and vision “a natural and healthy next step in the evolution of the 78th St. center.”

“Since its inception nearly 60 years ago, this center has been about partnering with Clark County to develop and distribute research-based information to the residents of Clark County and surrounding areas,” she said. “We are happy to continue as a partner in the new future of this property.”

WSU Extension will maintain offices on the site. The county will be conducting a community outreach process over the next several months to develop a final concept plan. Actual work to implement project elements will occur over time as money becomes available.

The 78th St. Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Vancouver has new owners.

On Solid Ground Wins Silver ACE

On Solid Ground won a Silver Award for editorial excellence in an electronic publication. The award is from ACE, an international professional organization with an emphasis on agricultural communications.

In related news, Marketing, News, and Educational Communications writers Kathy Barnard and Brian Clark won a Gold ACE Award for their work on “Expect Perfect Pairings.” “Expect Perfect Pairings” is a four-page brochure that presents the fruits of Washington State University’s long partnership with the Washington wine and grape industry. “Expect Perfect Pairings” covers WSU’s educational offerings (undergraduate, graduate, and professional certificate programs), current research projects, as well as WSU’s 70-year history of collaboration with the state’s growers and winemakers.

Clark is the editor of On Solid Ground as well as a companion newsletter, Voice of the Vine, which focuses on viticulture and enology at WSU and in the state of Washington. If you’re interested in grape growing, winemaking, and the business of wine, subscribe to Voice of the VIne at

On Solid Ground wins Silver ACE Award.

On Solid Ground wins Silver ACE Award.