The Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart Foundation has donated another $1.05 million to the National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative, prompting a second round of research projects.
The new funding will allow some of the initial researchers to take their concepts to the field, according to a news release.
Through a competitive grant process, six projects working in nine states will share $845,000 in funding.
• “Sustainable Soil Management Practices for Strawberries: Diverse Approaches for Facilitating Adoption.” Awarded $103,784 in funding. Led by Michelle Schroeder-Moreno, assistant professor, North Carolina State University.
• “Implementing Low-Cost Wireless Sensor Networks for Irrigation, Nutrient Management and Frost Protection of Strawberry.” Awarded $150,000. Led by John Lea-Cox, professor, University of Maryland.
• “Growing Strawberries: A Public-Private Partnership.” Awarded $146,805. Led by Elena Garcia, Donn Johnson, Michael Evans, Kristen Gibson, Matt Sheckels, David Dickey and Clyde Fenton. This proposal addresses the growing interest in revitalizing the fruit industry in Arkansas, especially strawberry production in Washington and Boone County. In phase I, Garcia used high tunnels to grow wintertime strawberries.
• “Addressing Grower-Identified Priorities in Organic Strawberry Cropping Systems in the Southeastern United States.” Awarded $200,000. Led by Carlene Chase, Michkie Swisher, Xin Zhao, Oscar Liburd, Zhifeng Gao, Sanjun Gu, Sambav and Marty Mesh. Florida and North Carolina. The goal of this multi-disciplinary, integrated research and Extension project is to promote the expansion of organic strawberry production in the Southeast.
• “Increasing Grower Market Potential and Consumer Preference for Locally-Grown Strawberries through Strategic Extension Programming in Texas.” Funding: $92,267. Led by team: Russ Wallace, Peter Ampim, Juan Anciso, Joe Masabni and Larry Stein. The proposed projects will not only help to determine whether small-acreage strawberry production can expand more widely across the state, but also determine whether growers are willing to take the risks of a new crop enterprise.
•“On-Farm Performance and Nutrient Requirements of New Strawberry Varieties for the Eastern United States.” Awarded $125,000. Led by Peter Niztsche, William Hlubik, Butraigo, Handley, Demachak and Newell. Project covers New Jersey, Maryland, Maine and Pennsylvania.
Last year, the initial funding fueled 20 research projects in 13 states. The iniaitive is being administered by the University of Arkansas.