Why Systems Research?
Years ago Southern SARE’s Administrative Council determined that the most practical way to support sustainable agriculture would be to invest the bulk of Research and Education grant funds into systems research.
However, the term systems research has been elusive to define in a way that AC members, technical reviewers, staff, and applicants can communicate effectively with each other.
Southern SARE has provided a bulletin to help grant applicants and others interested in sustainable agriculture better understand what it means to take a systems research approach to sustainable agriculture.
"Perspectives on Systems Research" seeks to demystify the term "systems research" as it relates to sustainable agriculture. The articles explore some perspectives on systems research to help Southern SARE constituents use the term confidently when applying for grants, reviewing proposals or deciding program policy.
Systems research scholars Laurie Drinkwater and Louise Buck of Cornell University provided background material for the articles.
Interviews with seven Southern SARE project investigators noted for their work in sustainable agricultural systems provide perspectives on issues of time, space, and collaboration in systems research. Capsule summaries of their SARE projects are on page 7.