Moving the Needle - Accomplishments of the National Strawberry Sustainability Inititative 2013-14

Nov. 3, 2014

Contact: Luke Freeman, National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative
479-575-2798 /

Fast facts:

  • E-book reveals sustainability discoveries from 20 projects in 13 states
  • Contents grew out of National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative established in 2013 with $3 million Walmart Foundation grant
  • Downoad the e-book at

Everything you wanted to know about sustainable strawberries in an e-book

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – It could be called “Everything You Wanted to Know about Sustainable Strawberries but Were Afraid to Ask,” but this e-book’s secrets can be now be revealed though a single download.

The e-book was grown from the minds behind the National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative, also known as NSSI. Its 60 digital pages are overflowing with content and links to more than 70 videos, tools and publications created to improve the sustainability of U.S. strawberry production.

NSSI was created in 2013 by a $3 million donation by the Walmart Foundation to the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. The foundation donated another $1.05 million in 2014 to move research from concept to reality. The e-book is a summary of the project’s accomplishments so far. 

“Moving the Needle: Accomplishments of the National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative 2013-2014,” can be downloaded at  

“This book distills the creativity and hard work that were part of 20 sustainability research projects by universities in 13 states,” said NSSI Program Director Curt Rom. “With strawberries being one of America’s most sought-after fresh fruit, this research will help expand where and when the fruit can be grown. This resource really will help people and does indeed move the needle on strawberry sustainability.”

“We believe this research will expand access to fresh fruit, enhance local economies through individual farms, and in short, help people live better,” said NSSI Co-Director Ron Rainey.

Ron is a horticulture professor and Rainey is a professor and extension economist.

Among the book’s features are links to:

  • An online diagnostic tool for growers developed by specialists at North Carolina State University
  • A video series led by the University of Arkansas to show how to grow strawberries hydroponically.
  • Project materials by the University of Minnesota’s “Cold Climate Strawberry Farming” e-learning tool.

The projects funded for the second phase of the NSSI grants program are currently underway in Arkansas, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey and Texas. The NSSI is administered by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability, or CARS, within the Division of Agriculture.

About CARS

CARS is composed of faculty from multiple disciplines and focuses on enhancing economic, social and ecological prosperity for rural communities around the world. Established in 2007, CARS’ work includes developing tools for farmers in the U.S. and around the world that can predict greenhouse gas impacts in livestock operations, researching and teaching production methods that improve water quality and quantity and enabling farms to provide healthy and safe produce.

More information about the National Sustainable Strawberry Initiative at

The University of Arkansas is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

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