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Alaska Food Policy Council: Autumn 2018

News and Happenings from Around the State
(credit: Tundra colors gathered at King Salmon, Alaska by Jaime Welfelt.)
The Alaska Food Policy Council and the Alaska Farmers Market Association are partnering for the 4th semi-annual

Alaska Food Festival & Conference
 

The Alaska Farmers Market Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting vibrant and sustainable farmers markets throughout Alaska.
 

We're still in the early planning stages of the conference, but will continually post details on this website, or contact the Alaska Farmers Market Association at info@alaskafarmersmarkets.org for more information. 

Call for Abstracts!
Deadline: November 31st

 
Interested in presenting a topic at the the Alaska Food Festival & Conference?  We'd love to see your ideas! 

Please submit your ideas for conference topics, presentations, or posters through our online submission portal by clicking the button below
Call for Abstracts - CLICK HERE for more Information!

AFPC Anchorage Downtown Urban Farm Project - KICKSTARTER COMING SOON!

 AFPC is taking its first step toward revitalizing a long-neglected parcel of land on 3rd Avenue in Anchorage.  Once the site of the Alaska Native Medical Center, these 15 acres along Ship Creek currently lay bare and underutilized. We have been granted a permit by the Municipality of Anchorage to install 6-8 raised beds and begin growing produce.

While this is happening, the Municipality is working through a master planning process to map out a long-term vision for the site -- and the more we can show the benefits of food production on 3rd Avenue, the more likely urban agriculture will be a component of the city's vision!  We want to demonstrate how urban food production can beautify a neglected site, bring community together, and ultimately contribute to increased availability of healthy foods.

 Over the past year, with early support of local government leadership, a working group of neighborhood, university, and non-profit volunteers have dedicated themselves to both short- and long-term planning efforts, including drafting a vision for food production and community programming at the site, obtaining permits to grow food there, and participating in Municipality stakeholder meetings.  Most recently, the AFPC and the working group  received a Local Foods Local Places technical assistance grant through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  As part of this grant, a community visioning workshop was held in August 2018, which has informed plans for moving the Downtown Urban Farm Project forward.

What the project needs now is support to build the raised beds and be ready to grow in Spring 2019.  Soil has already been donated(!), and we now need to purchase lumber for the beds, bed liner, seeds, and some gardening tools.  

We are launching a Kickstarter campaign to help us raise $2,000 (or more) to make it happen.  Your donation will support the installation of these beds and the planting of fruits and vegetables. 

We'll send you the details on how to support the project next week!

NEW AFPC REPORT:

Potential Infrastructure Investments
for Alaska-Grown Food


by Crossroads Resource Center
 

This month, AFPC Board member Danny Consenstein presented the latest findings by food system economist Ken Meter to the Alaska House Resources Food Security Subcommittee at a field hearing in Palmer.
 
At the end of the last legislative session in Juneau, the House Resources Committee
led by co-chair Representative Geran Tarr, formed the subcommittee to work over the interim to find solutions to food security challenges in Alaska. 
 
When 95% of our food is imported from outside, one solution that will create jobs, build healthy communities, and prepare us for the next emergency is to encourage more Alaska Grown food production by Alaskan farmers, 
ranchers, and growers. 
 
But Alaskans will need access to land, farmer training, markets, storage, and other infrastructure to support a local food economy.  The state can play an important role, and this latest report from AFPC makes a few suggestions.
 
An Alaskan Incubator Farm Pilot Program
 
We looked at “incubator farm” programs in other states in the lower 48 and listened to Alaskans with experience in training beginning farmers.  The report recommends launching a pilot program on state lands suitable for agriculture in several areas across the state. 
 
An Alaska incubator farm project on state lands could be modeled for success with:

  • Appropriate size land parcels for beginning farmers growing vegetables
  • Assistance with marketing and business plans
  • Shared facilities for washing and packing
  • Ongoing farmer training and mentoring
  • Support industry nearby
  • Access to affordable energy, possibly using renewable energy

 
Need for Food Storage Infrastructure
 
Alaskans are nervous about food security without adequate food storage in our communities.   Rural villages are feeling the impact of changing climate and need to find new solutions to storing subsistence foods.  In times of emergency, we are all at risk.  Local farmers need more storage to support more food production for crops like carrots, potatoes, 
and cabbage, and to help us be better prepared.
 
Another recommendation in the report is to create a Community Food Fund that could be used for R and D to create new storage models, build climate-protected facilities, and foster learning across villages.   Potential funding sources 
include grant programs for private foundations, federal, state, and local government, Alaska Native Corporations, and others.
 
Shared Use Commercial Kitchens
 
An integral part of maturing food business clusters are intermediate processors. These entrepreneurial ventures take many shapes — bakeries, catering, milling, flash-freezing, meal production, etc. Building or renting a full commercial kitchen can be cost prohibitive to new and growing entrepreneurs that may only need a few pieces of equipment for a few hours a week at the onset.
 
The report looks at our current inventory of commercial kitchens and finds opportunities to use more shared use kitchens across the state to support our food entrepreneurs.

 

Read the full report here. 


2018 USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program Grant Awarded to:

Calypso Farm & Ecology Center
"Encouraging local food production and environmental awareness through hands-on education in natural and farming ecosystems"

Learn more about their project here

How Alaska Eats
Alaskans take DIY food to the extreme. They fill freezers with wild game, fish and berries that they harvest themselves then transform the raw ingredients into hearty meals like Salmon Pot Pie and moose meatballs. Food blogger and Anchorage Daily News Editor Julia O’Malley is testing classic Alaska recipes for a new project called How Alaska Eats. 

Listen in to Alaska Public Media's broadcast, including an appearance by AFPC Board Member Liz Synder!

Savoring Seafood: National Seafood Month 2018

If you're a seafood fan like us, you'll be happy to hear that October is National Seafood Month. We will be highlighting sustainable (and delicious) U.S. seafood with new features, videos, and more. Follow along online using the tag #SeafoodMonth. Please start by digging into the seafood features below!

Visit FishWatch—the nation's database on sustainable seafood—to find up-to-date information on the status of some of the nation’s most valuable marine fish harvested in U.S. federal waters as well as U.S. farmed fish that help meet our country’s growing seafood demand. FishWatch helps consumers make educated seafood choices.
Celebrate National Seafood Month! Click here for more info
Mark your calendar for National School Lunch Week
October 15-19, 2018!


The #NSLW18 theme is “School Lunch: Lots 2 Love,” which was designed to help students and school nutrition professionals connect and share what each loves most about school lunch with parents, school officials, the media and the general public. Start planning your celebration today—Click here for more information!

 
National Farm to School Month is the entire month of October. Take the pledge and get entered to win a prize with National Farm to School Network
 
National School Lunch week is the third week of October and there are three ways for school districts to win a prize:
  1. Participate in the School Nutrition Association’s School Lunch: Lots 2 Love contest
     
  2. Be entered for a state level prize by also submitting your plans and photos to the Child Nutrition Programs at the State of Alaska, Elizabeth Seitz at Elizabeth.seitz@alaska.gov
     
  3. If you are serving a local lunch you can enter the Alaska Farm to School contest to win an Alaska Grown prize at: https://www.research.net/r/2018FarmtoSchoolMonth.

Upcoming Local Food Festivals & Events

Over the years, many of you have reached out to us because you want to launch (or scale) food recovery in your region. But we had to do it right. These past three years, we worked hard to design, prototype, launch and learn. We scaled Food Recovery in Pittsburgh. Almost 8,000 people have downloaded our Food Rescue Hero app. In the last 3.5 years, we have completed over 28,727 rescues, resulting in 4.5 million pounds of rescued food. 

This is the largest scale of retail food rescue in any urban region. And now, we want to help you make it happen in your city. 

Sign up to learn how.

Date: Tuesday, October 30

Time: 12:00PM
To join the webinar on October 30, click here.
Alaska Farm Bureau’s Friday Forum, Scholarship Banquet and Annual Meeting:
 
November 16 & 17, 2018
Crowne Plaza in Anchorage


Friday we’ll hear from Representative Tarr on the Food Security Subcommittee meetings, get the status of the new hemp laws, learn about findings in the Movi study and more!  Saturday the Alaska Farm Bureau conducts business including setting 2019 Legislative Priorities.

Interested in participating? 
Register online 
All of the updated information is on our website

What: This gathering began in 2015 when commercial farmers and producers in Southeast Alaska decided to come together to learn from one another about producing local food in a challenging growing environment and how to bring these products to market. Since then, this summit has met every other year in a different community to reconnect, expand their knowledge, and share their experiences with a growing network of local food producers. The 2019 Farmer’s Summit will be the third annual gathering for current commercial growers and for those who would like to explore this potential in our region.

We hope to continue to hold this meeting every other year with the long-term goal of building medium to large-scale food production to strengthen food security in Southeast Alaska. Together, we will build a robust local food economy in Southeast Alaska!

Registration opens in late October 2018.

When: February 15 - 17th, 2019 (Feb 18th optional "On Farm Food Safety" workshop)

Where: Sitka, AK 



Get Your Name in Front of Alaska Foodies!
Being a vendor or sponsor is a great way to advertise your business and connect with others in the industry 
Visit the AFPC page for more information!
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