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New SARE Grant Awards Received at UA

April 16, 2012

Three new SARE awards were received by faculty in the UA Horticulture, all of which I am excited to be working on!

Elena Garcia received an On-Farm Research Grant working with organic producer, Patrice Gros from Foundation Farm in Eureka Springs.  We will be working with Patrice to investigate an elevated organic strawberry production system for high tunnels. With this system, we hope to increase the productive area under high tunnel by utilizing the space above the in-ground beds.  As an added bonus it’s a lot easier on the back!  No stooping to harvest those delicious berries!

Curt Rom received a SARE Sustainable Communities grant, working with Fayetteville Public Schools, Apple Seeds Inc and Feed Fayetteville to develop a model Farm to School program for the FPS summer feeding program.  Our local public radio station, KUAF, is involved as well and you can expect to hear a story or two on Ozarks at Large on this program. Although FPS has worked with Apple Seeds to incorporate educational programs into the school to teach students about nutrition, local foods and school gardens, Adam Simmons, the Nutrition Director, has had limited success finding farmers to grow for the school on a regular basis.  A successful Farm to School program has both parts – education and eating local!  By working with the UA, we have helped to identify growers that want to get into this market and develop a production plan for the summer that accommodates both Adam and the grower’s needs.

The third grant received was a SARE Research and Education grant, which was awarded to Curt Rom, Elena Garcia, Donn Johnson and Jennie Popp.  This project investigates the production and economic feasibility of season extension for organic blackberries, raspberries and blueberries using high tunnels.  Central Arkansas organic grower Kelly Carney from North Pulaski Farm is an on-farm cooperator with this project. He will be replicating some of the research at his farm.  Kelly has a 2.5 ac Haygrove high tunnel on his farm.  Look for future workshops on organic berry production under high tunnels!

Way to go UA organic team!

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