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A Sustainable Society - by ASHS President Curt Rom
Sustainability is an often-used term—and as often misused.
About 15 years ago, because of changes in the university experiment station priorities, my role as a pomologist was dramatically changed—it was ended. It was determined that, in Arkansas, the cost of operating an apple breeding, rootstock evaluation, and apple physiology program was “not sustainable” given the resources required and the size of the “industry” in the region. Horticulture in my department was moving in new directions and attending to new needs. It was a harsh personal reality to know that my primary research direction was ended. New times require new directions, new thinking, and new actions. It was time to do something more relevant and more sustainable.
After a period of reflection and working with farmer–horticulturists in Arkansas and Colorado, I shifted my primary interests and emphasis to organic and sustainable production systems. If what I was doing was unsustainable, I really wanted to do something that was, at least and in part, contributing to sustainability.
Sustainability is a term that is often used, misused, and abused. Some even believe it is undefinable. It can, however, be defined and it can inform decisions today while providing direction for the future.
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