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Alaska's Farmers Markets are Growing!

  Alaska Local Food Program awarded part of $13.4 Million Dollar USDA Grants

Alaska Local Food Program awarded part of $13.4 Million Dollar USDA Grants

Homer, AK- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $13.4 Million this year to 52 recipients across the country including $403,000 to Alaska’s Cook Inletkeeper, a community-based non-profit organization and major recipient of USDA’s 2017 Farmer’s Market Outreach Program (FMPP).

“It’s an amazing step forward for local food programs in Alaska,” said Robbi Mixon, Local Foods Director at Cook Inletkeeper and Director of the Homer Farmers Market. “These new funds will be focused on market and producer sustainability, helping markets throughout the state assist participating producers, as well as the markets’ outreach to consumers”.

The project will recreate the Alaska Farmers Market Association, a statewide collaboration, with a targeting pilot effort across the Kenai Peninsula, will identify farmers’ market producer needs and provide specific trainings and support for those networks.  The Association will also provide funding for market manager and farmer trainings, annual statewide conferences, and shared marketing, while collecting baseline data on a number of market metrics.

“Increasing food security and reducing food miles are vitally important to the sustained well-being of our communities around the state,” she explained. Mixon also manages the Kenai Peninsula & Anchorage Food Hub, a program of Cook Inletkeeper that provides an online market for 100% local foods and crafts. “95% of Alaska’s food is currently imported. Purchasing local food supports farms, increases our region’s food security, protects the environment, creates jobs and boosts the local economy. ”

Since its creation in 2002, FMPP funding has assisted local producers to grow their businesses by helping them connect directly with the shoppers at farmers markets, roadside stands and through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. During that time, the number of farmers markets in America has more than doubled from 3,137 to over 8,684 today. FMPP grantees report an average 27% increase in vendor sales since receiving their grant, and 94% report an increase in first time market customers.


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Get a jump start on your 2018 garden at the Southeast Garden Conference for a three day Feb. 19-18 in Haines.  Topics will range from growing local produce in our climate, home use and small-scale farms, soil health, gardening practices, storage and preservation, composting, and food security.

Jeff Lowenfels, long-time Alaska gardener and author will be the keynote speaker!

To register for the event visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/southeast-garden-conference-2018-tickets-41345584757

To learn more visit:  https://sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/2018/01/03/southeast-alaska-garden-conference-set-for-feb-16-18-in-haines/


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The Alaska Food Policy Council (AFPC) and UAA's Center for Community Engagement and Learning (CCEL) is excited to announce that they are now co-shareholders in the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (JAFSCD)!  

What does this mean?  Why is this exciting?

By recruiting shareholders from across the US to cover the costs of maintaining a peer-reviewed journal, the JAFSCD is now OPEN ACCESS.  This means that anyone can read their content for FREE.  This is great news for anyone involved (or interested) in issues of agriculture, food systems, and community development -- and who wants to know what is happening at the forefront of food across the nation.  In this journal, you will find research, case studies, commentaries, and more about food projects, policies, and education, including many articles authored by Alaskans.

Additional benefits to AFPC members and UAA faculty, students, and staff include:

-eligibility to receive a waiver of the $500 publishing fee when their article is selected for publication.

AND

-professional author mentoring (i.e., guidance for those authoring submissions)

For more information, please contact Liz H Snyder at ehodges4@alaska.edu 

You can find the journal at:  https://www.foodsystemsjournal.org/index.php/fsj/index


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Enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, in Alaska increased by 36.3% from FY16 to FY17. Thousands of Alaskans are relying on SNAP to have regular access to nutrition. Cuts or harmful restrictions to SNAP funding would increase hunger in our communities.

Here are some actions you can take to support SNAP

Sign on the Food Bank of Alaska’s letter of support

Stay informed

Follow the Food Bank of Alaska at SNAP Works AK to stay up date with accurate information regarding the threats SNAP is facing.

Contact your legislator

Sending your legislator an email or giving their office a phone call is a measurable way to have your voice heard. State your name, that you are a constituent, and be specific and brief about why you are contacting them.