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Winter 2016-17 Newsletter
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Dear AFPC Members
We know it's been a tough past year.  The images we see and stories we hear of those caught in the middle of international conflict are distressing and can make us feel powerless.  At the national level, no matter whose presidential candidate won, many are weary after months of divisive rhetoric.  And, here in Alaska, the future of our local economies (and the families that rely on them) remain as uncertain as the future of the oil industry.  In light of such things, the AFPC realizes that our day to day challenges in pursuing our organizational mission to strengthen Alaska food systems are small potatoes.  We realize that we must focus on our successes, big and small; to celebrate our wins so that we can stay inspired, inspire others, and make progress toward improving the health, self-reliance, and prosperity of all Alaskans.  Sure, we've had our setbacks (we miss our wonderful staff person Sam Ford!), but we've also had many wins -- a successful food conference and festival; productive collaboration with the Alaska Governor and Anchorage Mayor; development of a new productive relationship with the Alaska Humanities Forum (see below); promotion of a new local food group (see below); some renewed funding; and new business partnerships, to name a few. 
Like some of you, we are ready to say goodbye to 2016, and to welcome 2017 with open arms that are ready to work for a food secure Alaska.  We encourage you to join us.  Maybe that means donating some time or money to the AFPC to further our mission.  Maybe that means you give to some other organization that is addressing the local, national, or global needs that are weighing most heavy on your mind.  Maybe that means you initiate your own efforts in your own community.  Or, maybe you've got some other plan altogether.  Either way, we're committed to doubling down in 2017, and we invite you to join us.
From all of us here at the AFPC, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season! 



The next AFPC Conference and Food Festival will be Fairbanks, November 3 & 4, 2017
A call for abstracts will be coming out soon. Please let us know if you would like to support the conference by being a presenter, donor or vendor.  If you are interested in assisting with conference planning please contact

Welcome New AFPC Governing Board Members!

The AFPC has three new Governing Board members! Please help us in welcoming Lia Hiefetz from Juneau, Ryan Wiswesser and Bree Kessler.
Lia Heifetz was born and raised in Juneau, left to further her education, and soon returned to call Southeast Alaska home. She enjoys spending time outdoors - hiking, biking, running, and kayaking and all things food. If there's growing, harvesting, catching, canning, drying, freezing or sizzling in a cast iron skillet happening, she's happy.

Lia runs a small consulting business, Grow Southeast, that works with regional and community based organizations throughout Southeast Alaska to increase food security. Grow Southeast works with a collective impact initiative, the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, striving to nurture resilient Southeast Alaskan communities. Within the Partnership, Lia works to strengthen and localize food systems in an effort to support long-term self-reliant communities, vibrant place-based culture, healthy functioning ecosystems, and robust local economies.

An emphasis of Lia's has been working closely with rural communities and tribes in Southeast Alaska. She engages community members, entrepreneurs, and organizations to identify opportunities and overcome challenges related with building sustainable food systems and businesses as a mechanism to increase economic activity in the region.

Lia is excited to be working with the Alaska Food Policy Council and connecting efforts in Southeast to statewide initiatives and projects.

Some of her projects and accomplishments include a traveling greenhouse, building community and local food harvesting, education on food preservation, launching community and school garden, and promoting farm and fish to school efforts- she facilitated the first-ever Southeast Alaska Farm and Fish to School Conference in 2015 which was a great success.
Ryan Wiswesser is the Founder and CEO of Alaska Artisanal, an e-commerce gift basket business that specializes in Alaskan foods, co-Founder and CEO of Grow and Gather Market, an e-commerce retail supplier of Alaskan small batch foods, and Managing Partner of Chugach Chocolates, a small batch chocolate and confections manufacturer. 


Bree Kessler is a freelance writer and researcher based in Denali National Park.  She is the author of the travel guidebook Moon: Big Island of Hawaii and her writing has appeared in publications such as Alaska, Alaska Dispatch News, Anchorage PressEdible Alaska, Edible Hawaiian Islands, and Bitch: A Feminist Response to Pop Culture.  She has graduate degrees in Social Work, Public Health, and Natural Resource Management.  Her PhD research is on the subject of Winter Cities and the place-based interventions that occur in public spaces to make these places more livable.  Bree has over ten years of university teaching experience both domestically and abroad with the School for International Training.  Most recently she was an assistant professor of Health Sciences and faculty fellow at the Center for Community Engagement and Learning at University of Alaska Anchorage and still continues to teach a course in civic engagement and be involved in the Urban in Alaska movement that she founded.  

Calypso Farm and Ecology Center Awarded USDA Farmer Training Grant!

We are so happy to announce that Calypso is a 2016 recipient of a USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher grant! The funds will support their Farmer Training Program over the next three years - allowing them to increase the breadth of the program through their partnership with the Folk School Fairbanks and increase the level of support that they can provide to beginning farmers! Participants learn how to become self-reliant farmers by working alongside experienced farmers through the entire growing season, gaining hands-on experience in all of the following:
  •  Seeding and caring for greenhouse transplants
  • Prepping the field for planting
  • Planting and direct seeding
  • Managing soil fertility
  • Weed and pest management
  • Caring for farm animals
  • Harvesting
  • Operating a CSA
  • Running a farm stand and selling to local restaurants
  • Working safely, using Natural Balance
To learn more about the program and how to apply for it please visit…/calypsos-farmer-training-prog…/!
Congrats to Dale Marshall on his prize winning, state record-breaking GIANT 1469 pound pumpkin at the Alaska State Fair!

Support the AFPC's work to improve our food system for the benefit of all Alaskans by choosing the AFPC to receive a small donation when you shop
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