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.