FAYETTEVILLE — Projects from several states and $2.64 million in grants will add up to more sustainable strawberries for U.S. consumers, the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture's Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability announced Wednesday during the last week of National Strawberry Month.

FAYETTEVILLE — Projects from several states and $2.64 million in grants will add up to more sustainable strawberries for U.S. consumers, the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability announced Wednesday during the last week of National Strawberry Month.

One of the projects selected for grant support is at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff:

• Leonard Githinji, UAPB, “Establishing and Expanding Sustainable Strawberry Production in Eastern Arkansas and Surrounding Areas.” Extensive outreach and education including hands-on exercises and demonstrations on sustainable strawberry production will be conducted across the Delta region of Arkansas. Project activities will include five sustainable strawberry production workshops and the creation of three demonstration sites with high tunnels, row covers, plastic mulch and drip irrigation systems.

The grant awards are part of a $3 million donation made in February by the Walmart Foundation to the Division of Agriculture. The competitive grants program, administered by CARS, attracted 56 proposals from agricultural research and extension personnel at land-grant public universities in 29 states.

As part of the National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative, grant recipients will have 12 months to complete their projects. CARS will release the project reports in September 2014.

“This grant project seeks to move the science and technology for alternative strawberry production systems and areas away from laboratories and experiment farms into the producers’ fields,” said Curt Rom, professor of horticulture in the Division of Agriculture and member of the CARS leadership team.

“The goal is to increase local and regional production of strawberries, to reduce the environmental impact of production, to reduce transportation distances between farms and markets or consumers, to reduce product loss in the supply-value chain and improve the environmental and economic sustainability of the production system. It will make significant local and regional impacts,” Rom said. “Upon completion of these projects, we will have a foundation for improving the sustainability of the U.S. strawberry production system through the supply chain, from growers to consumers.”

Details: http://strawberry.uark.edu.