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The Swette Center supports transdisciplinary research that is solutions- and impact-oriented. It is a hub for faculty members engaged in food systems research, as well as a source of research opportunities for students passionate about working on food system transformation.

The Swette Center is a part of the Global Futures Laboratory, an initiative committed to use-inspired research and service to the global community in which we live. Research at ASU is rooted in innovation, service, and impact, reflected in ASU’s ranking from the National Science Foundation as the top university for transdisciplinary research.

Featured Research Projects

True Cost Accounting

cows in fieldThe price of a fast-food burger does not reflect the cost to society, the environment, and human health. True cost accounting is an innovative and evolving method for determining the true costs, and benefits, of different types of food production systems. This new way of accounting will help to develop practical policy solutions for agricultural practices, and help move us to a more sustainable food system.

The Swette Center, in partnership with Colorado State University, is exploring the true cost of beef livestock production in Arizona and Colorado. This research will contribute to the methodological refinements of True Cost Accounting practices globally. This project is supported by the Global Alliance for the Future of Food.

Digitalization and Regional Food Systems

In partnership with the TMG Think Tank for Sustainability, a Berlin-based organization, the Swette Center is investigating the role of digitalization in local and regional food systems. This research focuses on the nexus of digitalization, local communities, and food systems.

The Future of Organic Agriculture

It has been 30 years since the USDA organic label became law. Since then, we’ve seen the organic sector grow into a multibillion dollar industry, and organic farms thrive in every corner of the United States. What does the next 30 years hold for organic? The Swette Center, in partnership with the Organic Trade Association, is exploring that question and more through stakeholder interviews, policy analysis, and facilitated ideation.

Food Systems of the Future

As part of the Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership Certificate students work with client partners to prepare reports on cutting edge topics of sustainable food systems. The final reports showcase the interdisciplinary approaches needed to solve the most urgent problems facing food and agriculture today. These reports are publicly available and intended to be used by policymakers and other decision makers in the food and agriculture sector.

2020 Projects

Carbon Markets: With increasing climate impacts predicted across the globe, many see soil carbon storage and sequestration as an opportunity to reduce atmospheric carbon and mitigate climate change. This report assesses the current opportunities for Minnesota agriculture and proposes solutions, policies, and management practices for these markets to benefit farmers and Minnesota’s agricultural sector.

Local Slaughter in the Hawaiian Islands: Cattle and livestock make up a significant portion of agricultural production value in Hawaiʻi. However, 95 percent of Hawaiʻi-raised cattle are shipped to the Continental United States for grain-finishing and slaughter. The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of current ranching and slaughter capacities in Hawaiʻi, highlight relevant regulations and identify missing elements, offer case studies of similar operations and their procedures, and provide recommendations that Hōkūnui might consider in their pursuit to expand their slaughter capacity, while processing slaughter waste safely and sustainably.

NRCS in Arizona: EQIP provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to implement certain approved conservation practices. The program is available to producers through a competitive application process during which applications are ranked based on criteria developed by both the NRCS national headquarters and NRCS State Conservationists.This report assesses the barriers faced by ranching clients and potential clients of NRCS in Arizona and highlights opportunities for mitigating those challenges in the future especially through the implementation of the three key 2018 farm bill changes.

Organic Innovation: Organic continues to be one of the fastest growing sectors in the United States.This year marks 30 years since enactment of the Organic Foods Production Act.This report is a compilation of opportunities for organic innovation – it is an organic innovation catalogue – and deep dives on specific opportunities that may be of interest for the Organic Trade Association, or others, to pursue as distinct initiatives.

Interested in partnering with us? Email Director of Strategic Initiatives, Suzanne Palmieri.

Cultivating solutions

Seed grants

The Swette Center awards small grants, on a competitive basis, to spark new faculty research and collaborations. On an annual basis, the Swette Center issues a request for proposals for which all Swette Center affiliated faculty are eligible to compete. In addition to financial support, awardees receive Swette Center administrative support and guidance from the Center’s leadership team. Check our News page for the most up to date information about these grants.

To become an affiliated faculty of the Swette Center email Director of Strategic Initiatives, Suzanne Palmieri