National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative announces project awards
Projects from several states and $2.64 million in grants will add up to more sustainable strawberries for U.S. consumers. The grant awards, announced by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability (CARS), are part of a $3 million donation made in February by the Walmart Foundation to the Division of Agriculture. Grant recipients will have 12 months to complete their projects. CARS will release the project reports in September 2014.
The National Sustainable Strawberry Initiative is a new competitive grants program of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Center for Agriculture and Rural Sustainability (CARS) with funding from the Walmart Foundation to support the expansion of sustainable strawberry production throughout the country.
The purpose of the program is to move sustainable production forward by supporting multidisciplinary projects focused on outreach, education and demonstration of innovative and new technologies that will result in increased production and supply of strawberries.
Successful projects will have:
- Eligible applicants that are land-grant colleges and universities (1865, 1890, 1994) or state funded public universities and colleges
- Partnerships with industry such as growers/grower organizations, breeders, distributors, suppliers etc,
- Focus on dissemination, education and outreach of technology, innovation, and transfer of practices that improve the sustainability of strawberry production, food safety and marketing,
- Demonstrated and measurable outcomes and impacts,
- Anticipated awards of $50,000—$200,000 with a 12 month timeline.
Funding Priority Areas
The goal of this Program is to improve sustainability of the US strawberry production system throughout the supply chain, from growers to consumers. To meet this goal, outreach, education, demonstration, and development priority areas may include but are not exclusive to the following:
- Increase the production season and regional diversity of US strawberry production
- Reduce the chemical inputs for soil sterilization, fertilization, weed control, and pest management
- Reduce the energy inputs in production, handling, storage, and transportation
- Conserve and preserve water resources used in the production system
- Improve soil quality and health in the production system for succeeding crops
- Reduce the risk of human health pathogens spread on fresh berries
- Reduce the postharvest product loss through the supply chain from production through distribution and sales
- Increase product value and economic return to growers and participants through the supply chain
- Implement meaningful and constructive metrics for strawberry production sustainability
Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability (CARS)
The mission of the CARS is to increase prosperity for rural Arkansas through sustainable practices. The Center provides leadership in Arkansas and the world in balancing the demands of community, agriculture and ecosystems in order to meet the needs of current generations while enhancing the opportunity for future generations to meet their needs.