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David Sparks Ph.d Potato Peels to Profit
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: March 28, 2017

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U of I Professor and researcher Dr. Lilian Alessa uses exactly that mentality as she urges Idaho ag businesses to capture byproducts and waste and turn these materials into something very useful. Reclaiming and reusing nutrients can benefit Idaho businesses by giving them new sources of profit and reducing the state’s dependence on external resources, said Lilian Alessa, the lead researcher for ReFEWS, UI President’s Professor and co-director of the CRC. The CRC is a state-wide, interdisciplinary research group and think-tank housed in the UI College of Art and Architecture.

“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. Her team connects some of the nation’s leaders in engineering, energy and water systems modeling

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