The National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative

Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Desert Ballroom: Salons 7-8 (Desert Springs J.W Marriott Resort )
Curt R. Rom, Co-Director, Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability , Horticulture, Dale Bumpers College, Fayetteville, AR
Heather Friedrich , Horticulture, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Luke Freeman , University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Marty Matlock, Co-Director , Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Jennie H. Popp, Co-Director , Dept. of Agriculture Economics and Agribusiness, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Ronald L. Rainey, Co-Director , Agric. Econ. & Agribus., University of Arkansas, Little Rock, AR
The National Sustainable Strawberry Initiative (NSSI) is a competitive grants program managed by University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability (CARS) with funding from the Walmart Foundation to support the expansion of sustainable strawberry production throughout the country. The mission CARS is to increase prosperity for rural Arkansas through sustainable practices.  CARS 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.  The purpose of the NSSI 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.  The goal of the NSSI is to improve sustainability of the U.S. strawberry production system throughout the supply chain, from growers to consumers. To meet this goal, outreach, education, demonstration, and development priority areas include but were not exclusive to the following: 1) increase the production season and regional diversity of U.S. strawberry production; 2) reduce the chemical inputs for soil sterilization, fertilization, weed control, and pest management; 3) reduce the energy inputs in production, handling, storage, and transportation; 4) conserve and preserve water resources used in the production system; 5) improve soil quality and health in the production system for succeeding crops; 6) reduce the risk of human health pathogens spread on fresh berries; 7) reduce the postharvest product loss through the supply chain from production through distribution and sales; 8) increase product value and economic return to growers and participants through the supply chain; and  9) implement meaningful and constructive metrics for strawberry production sustainability.  The NSSI program issued a request for proposals generating more than 70 preproposals.   After external review, proposals were selected based upon potential to achieve project goals across the United States.  Projects will be initiated July 1, 2013 and conclude on June 30, 2014.  This report will highlight funded projects.  A program website and blog will feature reports, videos, outcomes and impacts from the funded projects.
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