Public concerns regarding pesticide misuse, food safety, water use and contamination, and depletion of non-renewable resources have motivated the reevaluation of some of the practices of conventional agriculture and the exploration of alternative, more sustainable approaches to growing food. In 1988, the Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems (SAFS) project was established at the University of Californiaís Davis campus to study the transition from conventional to low-input or organic farm management in the Sacramento Valley. The original 28-acre replicated experiment on UC Davisís main campus was unique within the nation. Now located at a joint research site with UCDís Long Term Research on Agricultural Systems (LTRAS) with an expanded mission and research goals, the project continues to involve hands-on practitioners (e.g., farmers and farm advisors) in planning, executing, and interpreting all facets of the research, as well as providing a bridge to the farming community. Close ties to the agricultural community keep the farming philosophy realistic and the focus on meaningful research questions.
SAFS provides leadership in scientific research and education in alternative, more sustainable approaches to growing food and fiber, including minimizing the impact of farming practices on soil and water resources. SAFS serves the California agricultural community, particularly farmers, farmworkers, ranchers, researchers, industry professionals, policy makers, educators and students. SAFS will soon be part of the University of California ANR/UC Davis campus joint Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI), which includes the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.