Researchers from several states will share $2.64 million in grants to study how to grow strawberries more sustainably.

The funds are part of a $3 million donation made in February by the Wal-Mart Foundation to the University of Arkansas' Division of Agriculture, according to a news release.

A request for proposals attracted 56 from agricultural research and Extension personnel at land-grant universities in 29 states.

As part of the National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative, recipients have 12 months to complete their project.

Among the projects funded were:

• Jeffrey Brecht, University of Florida, "Reducing Strawberry Waste and Losses in the Postharvest Supply Chain via Intelligent Distribution Management;"

• Thomas Gordon, University of California, Davis, "Sustainable Strawberry Production in the Absence of Soil Fumigation;"

Carlene Chase, University of Florida, "Organic Open-field and High Tunnel Strawberry Cropping Systems for Long-term Viability of the Southeastern Industry;" and

• Chieri Kubota, University of Arizona, “Sustainable Off-Season Production of High-Quality Hydroponic Strawberry in Desert Southwest.”

The first project report will be released in September 2014.