The Alaska Food Policy Council (AFPC), having commissioned a detailed analysis of Alaska’s food and farm system from Crossroads Resource Center in 2014 (Meter & Goldenberg, 2014), has succeeded in making use of that study to gain the attention of legislative leaders concerning the future of farming and food for the state of Alaska.
This new study is designed to provide more detailed recommendations and assist the AFPC as it works with the new Food Security Subcommittee of the Alaska House Resources Committee, co-chaired by Rep. Geran Tarr. It will focus on specific initiatives that might be advanced by AFPC, offering both an overall description of each project, and detailed financial projections for each.
Executive Summary (2018 Report)
The most critical concern facing the Alaska food system is the security of its food supply. Traditional food gathering skills are in decline due to mechanization. The state’s former agricultural economy has withered in the face of imported food.
This means that more than $1.9 billion leaves the state each year as Alaskans purchase food sourced outside. Alaska youth, both rural and urban, typically grow up with few skills in subsistence gathering or farming. Cultures which long supported this activity, building food self-reliance as well as economic and spiritual strength, have waned.
While a solid core of farms has risen to the challenge of raising food inside the state, making Alaska one of the national leaders in community-based food, these farms require supportive infrastructure to sustain themselves over the long-term. If Alaska wishes to feed itself, it will need to make a sustained investment in new farms, supportive services and infrastructure, and a lasting culture that ensures skills and insight are instilled in future generations. This will build upon prior investments in farm-to-school programs and Alaska Grown foods.
This report does not answer the question of which infrastructure investments would be optimal for Alaska to make; that is beyond the scope of this project. It does, however, provide costs estimates for several options, and make recommendations for how to proceed if any of the strategies outlined here were adopted.
We focus on three areas:
1. Workforce Development Through Farming on State Lands
2. Food Storage in Climate-Protected Food Caches Across the State
3. Shared-Use Community Kitchens
Read the full 29-page report here. (Also accessible from our Resources page)