CST Helps With New Interactive E-Book about Cold Climate Strawberries

Last winter, starting in early January, the Center for Small Towns (CST), the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC), the University of Minnesota, Morris Instructional and Media Technologies, and the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Research Sciences (CFANS) worked in partnership to address the needs of strawberry growers in the region. Together WCROC and CFANS worked to create a new strain of strawberries that can be grown in cold weather, flourishing from May through October in colder Midwest climates. The organizations came together to create a free, interactive, electronic book to help potential and current strawberry growers throughout the area to best utilize a new breed of strawberries, as well as help them with strawberry growing overall.

The Center for Small Towns held conversations and focus groups with both organic and non-organic farmers to get a better idea of their questions, ideas, needs, and then to see if the materials they were working on fit those needs. Student employee Lizzie Gelderman was instrumental in convening these conversations, recording everything said, and then making that information accessible to everyone writing the e-book itself. 

CST facilitated focus group with Strawberry farmers

Her partner on the early stages of the project, Hannah Knott, helped to gather initial information from a survey sent out to strawberry growers and farmers, she then organized that information in a way that could be shaped into the framework of the e-book.

Work from WCROC and CST was largely funded by a Walmart Foundation grant to CFANS, who released the final version of the e-book. The book is available through the online publishing company, Inkling, and is readable on both desktop and iPad platforms. You can download the e-book here: https://www.inkling.com/store/book/cold-climate-strawberry-farming-1st/.

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