AK Root Cellar

Pete Kinneen grew up in a family conscious of the magic of composting food scraps and yard waste for use in their organic gardens. He is the executive director of Environmental Recycling, Inc. the non-profit which operated the Pt. Woronzof Composting Facility for 15 successful years. He has joined a global discovery exploring the possibility of another natural and inexpensive ingredient found to kick convention to the curb. Join in, the more the merrier.

Climate Change is Caused by Democrats - 11/23/2011 9:23 pm

Moving From Alternative Energy to Climate Change - 8/16/2011 11:36 pm

Answer to cat_train2 - 8/13/2011 2:31 pm

Fire Island Alternative Energy - 7/31/2011 8:47 pm

Yakutat and Fire Island - 6/30/2011 1:49 pm

Yakutat: Alaska's Clean Energy Mecca? - 6/9/2011 10:02 pm

Fuel-Free Energy and Free Fresh Fish - 5/30/2011 6:53 pm

Mushrooms Improve Hamburgers and Nuclear Waste - 5/11/2011 3:32 pm

Bioneers Conference Focus on Healthy Local Foods

Okay, Local Food Enthusiasts, this weekend is your golden opportunity.
Keynoter LaDonna Redmond comes from a part of Chicago where you can buy drugs and guns, but no organic tomatoes. No grocery stores with fresh veggies, no educated customers, no farm-to-city link. LaDonna tells how she organized innovative ways that have connected organic growers to urban centers.

She is just ONE inspirational speaker at a whole conference packed with experts talking about creating healthy local food systems. This is the 6th Annual Bioneers in Alaska conference, and it is not to be missed. I truly hope you’ll come.

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The Alaska Local Food Film Festival - Mark Your Calendars!

Great Movies Oct 2-8th, 2009

Join Alaska Center for the Environment, the Beartooth Theatrepub & Grill, Delicious Dave Catering, AK Root Sellers, NOLS, and Bioneers Alaska for the first Alaska Local Food Film Festival! The festival will take place October 2nd-8th at the Beartooth Theatrepub in Anchorage, and will feature the Alaska debut of Food Inc, as well as the films The Garden, Eating Alaska, FRESH, and The End of the Line. There will be opportunities to eat fresh Alaskan food and discuss the films, as well as to learn more about how you can get involved with the Alaska local food movement.

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Share the Bounty and Feel Rich

Plant a row
Harvest a row
Eat a row
Give a row away

Ah, ‘tis the season to feel rich and to share the bounty of your garden.

Even if you did not deliberately “Plant a Row for the Hungry or PAR,” you can merrily accomplish the same thing now by donating your extra green produce.

I admit that this is my first year to learn how to finally do something about PAR. I’ve been spurred because I have helped start two new community organic gardens in the Palmer area through Mat-Su College. Now we are rich with overflowing vegetables.

I learned how simple it is to donate. First, find the nearest Food Bank, Senior Center, or soup kitchen. Second, call and find out what days and times they receive fresh food drop offs. Third, time your harvest accordingly. Easy! So, why not load up your extra garden bounty today and run it over today, while it is fresh and prime?

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Great Film about Local Food

Dear Local Foodies,

Come see the free movie FRESH showing this Saturday Aug 22, 2009

Here is a wonderful opportunity for a free film and tour of an exemplary organic growing system (vegetables, herbs, flowers, pigs, chickens) that feeds 500 a summer plus 3 CSA subscribers. Feel free to go to one or both.

The film FRESH is a documentary celebrating the local food movement. FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across
America who are re-inventing our food system. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision of our food and our planet’s future. FRESH addresses an ethos that has been sweeping the nation and is a call to action America has been waiting for.

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Corporate Trickery Tests our Discernment

Our challenge of shopping for healthy food at the grocery store is getting more challenging. Industrial food giants are rapidly developing new product lines with labels that are deliberately deceptive. Eyeing the rising consumer interest in organics and the greater profits, companies like Whole Foods Market (WFM) and United Natural Foods (UNFI) are slapping “Natural” on their packaging, making them sound as if the foods came from small conscientious farmers. They have not. These “natural” product lines (like house brand“365”) are coming from energy- and chemical- intensive conventional and factory farms. The items contain pesticide residues, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), sewage sludge, synthetic preservatives, and carcinogenic additives.

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Utilizing Wild Plants

Do wild herbs qualify as local food? You betcha!

Take note—here is an opportunity to learn about wild and medicinal herbs in SC Alaska. In this wild-crafting workshop, you learn what to pick, how to prepare and eat, and how to make herbal medicines.

Plant Spirit Medicine Retreat
The Food and Medicine at Your Back Door

Homer, AK
July 9-12
• Learn to develop a spiritual relationship with plants through skills of direct communication and
expanded awareness

• Explore the healing and medicinal power of plants in a secluded peaceful setting

• Learn to Identify local wild plants and their medicinal properties

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Finding Quality Food:

We’re exploring local food, right? Well, locally produced food is no better than imported food if it lacks vitality and nutrients. Ailing vegetables and fruits rescued by toxic chemicals are not healthy for anybody. And what fun is a pithy strawberry or bitter broccoli?

So how do you distinguish the quality of your produce before you buy it? There is a way. Allow me to introduce the fascinating term “brix”. Brix is a quick scientific measure of the sugar levels in those fruits and vegetables.

Did I say SUGAR? Yes, this is the one time more sugar means more health! The larger the brix number, the more you rejoice. Why? More plant sugar means higher food quality. It just so happens that plant sugar levels tell you the status of the plant’s overall health regarding vitamin and mineral content, trace minerals, their proportions and balance, enzymes, vitality, and yes, sweetness.

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Food, Inc. is Released—Can You Help Bring It Here?

I'm getting very excited to see the movie, Food, Inc. and I am not usually a movie go-er. This is a documentary film about how food is really produced. I’ve been hearing fascinating excerpts and interviews as the camera zooms in on corporate practices and interviews outspoken critics like Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser.

There’s just one problem. Food, Inc. is showing in cities in the Lower 48 states, but where can we see it in Alaska?

Dear Readers, can you help? Can you call a few theatres and urge them to schedule this? Can you get a copy yourself and show it to groups? Food, Inc. sounds worthy of much discussion. Perhaps it can hasten a food revolution.

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Lawns in Rows?

I just saw an amazing aerial photo that looked down on Anchorage in the 1950’s, just after the snow melted.

The checkerboard of city lots were, well, striped. Yes, stripes. Each little house sat surrounded by land worked up into tidy garden rows. No one had a lawn. Every yard was entirely devoted to growing vegetables and berries.

That adds up to lot of fresh food production! And how many potatoes did it take to see these settlers through the long winters? I presume if the photo could zoom inside those houses, we’d see shelves of canning jars full of sauerkraut, salmon, preserves, and vegetable bounty. Talk about security and self-reliance with a vegetable patch!

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Come Join the Discussion

The food chain is getting weird with food poisoning scares, recalls, contaminants, and pathogens. This gives us all the more reason to become “localvores”—ones who eat locally produced foods as much as possible.

So Kim Sollien, the creator of this wonderful blog spot, asked me to take over, as she is swamped with concrete projects that get us Alaskans closer to food security. I’m honored and delighted to continue the writing to stimulate our collective thought.

Let me introduce myself. I am a sustainable agriculture college instructor, market gardener for 20 years, and an author of a book about Alaska gardening.

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Upcoming Local Ag Edu Events sponsored by the Anchorage Cooperative Extension

April 25—*"Container Vegetable Gardening"*, Master Gardener Mary Tilly, Alaska Mill, Feed & Garden Center, call the store to register.

April 29th- *Septic System Workshop* will be held from 5-9 p.m. at the
Cooperative Extension Service, 2221 E. Northern Lights. Find out how a
septic systems works, how to keep it working, what to do when it doesn't work and alternatives to conventional septic systems.
Call Lisa Wedin at 786-6341 to sign up.

May 2, 2009—* “The Well-Designed Mixed Garden: Building Beds and Borders with Trees, Shrubs, Perennials, Annuals, and Bulbs”* - nationally acclaimed

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Upcoming Agriculture Marketing Conference has info for Everyone

Are you interested in learning more about hosting tours on your farm? Do you have questions about whether or not you need a permit to provide samples at the farmers market? Have you thought about starting a CSA subscription box program with your produce, but aren’t sure what it takes? Are you a resturant owner looking to get more local food on your menu?

Join us at the first Agriculture Direct Marketing Conference, to be held April 15th - 16th at the Depot in Palmer! See the full agenda and registration forms at our web site www.dnr.alaska.gov/ag . Register by Friday, April 10 to avoid late charges. Please note that the Palmer Cooperative Extension Service is handling registration; contact information is available on the form.

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Mushrooms & Permaculture Spring Events

Events List:

Anchorage - April 3 & 4 -
Paul Stamets hosted by Alaska Botanical Garden

The Alaska Botanical Garden is proud to present our
3rd annual Spring Garden Conference
Life in the Garden: from Mushrooms to Moose
ABG Annual Meeting & Spring Garden Conference April 3 & 4, 2009

Keynote Speaker: Paul Stamets of Fungi Perfecti
Plus a wide variety of presentations by Alaskan gardening & ecology experts on topics from slugs, moose, and forest pests, to peonies, vegetables, fruit, and more! Pioneering mycologist Paul Stamets, renowned for his researchon medical and technological uses for mushrooms, will provide the keynote talk for the 2009 ABG Annual Meeting, entitled "Solutions from Nature: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World 6 myco-inventions to help steer humans towards a healthier & happier life with planet Earth.

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More of the Valley's prime farmland is on the chopping block

I recently, received this farmland alert from Glacier Valley Farms and thought I would pass it along....kim

Hi CSA members,
This is a different kind of message: it’s a farmland alert!

Something that I think concerns us all has come up and I wanted to let everyone know about it. The Alaska State Fair has 40 acres of prime farmland that they are considering selling for development. The developer
would like to build a commercial truck-driving school.

We Valley farmers have talked to John Harkey, the Fair Board President, about selling the land to the Alaska Farmland Trust for preservation as a farm. We did not get a commitment from him, though. An offer for the land

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George DeVault, of The Seed Savers Exchange is coming to AK

National Speaker Highlight of Statewide SARE Conference

The Fifth Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference and Organic Growers School is scheduled for March 17-18, 2009, at the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge in Fairbanks, Alaska. Presented by the UAF Cooperative Extension Service, the highlight of this year’s conference will be national guest speaker George DeVault, newly appointed president and executive director of the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa.

The Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of heirloom varieties of vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs, and agricultural biodiversity in general. DeVault’s position represents the pinnacle of a career that has included farming, mentoring farmers and writing about farming. He is also a volunteer fire chief, W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food and Society policy fellow and soon-to-be grandfather.

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Local Agriculture Events & Opportunities

No one sent out the search party so I figured I had better motivate myself to write before I lost every last one of my readers. The whole holiday season threw me, I have been hibernating and I have been working out the details of a new business venture, Alaska Root Sellers: a delivery business linking Matanuska Valley Farmers with area restaurants, universities and hospitals. It feels really amazing to be weaving a thread of connection within the fabric of Alaska’s food system.

But back to the whole point of this blog….There are lots of exciting events on the horizon related to Alaska’s food system and the production of our food. So, I thought I would share. I hope you find the overview helpful and motivating.

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Alaska Food and Farm Directory Survey

The Alaska Division of Agriculture is in the process of reviewing their 2008 Food and Farm Products Directory. They are interested in our feedback to see what we think of the new directory, and what we think could be improved upon. Please click on the link below to take this short survey and share your thoughts with the ADOA. The survey comment period with close on January 31, 2009.

LINK

Thank you for your time!!!

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EATING ALASKA COMES TO ANCHORAGE

Eating Alaska is a 60 minute documentary about a vegetarian, who moves to Alaska , marries a fisher- man and hunter and begins to wonder what the “right” thing to eat is on “the last frontier.” What ensues are humorous and enlightening adventures in eating, taking viewers from Sitka to Kotzebue and including scenes with
the Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Alex Davis of Alaska Truck Farms and the Alaska Vegetarian Society.

This wry look at what’s on your plate explores ideas about eating healthy sustainable food from one’s own backyard, either urban or wild, versus industrially produced food shipped thousands of miles away.

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Alaska Division of Agriculture Seeks Community Comments on 2009 Strategic Plan

December 15th is the deadline to comment on the Alaska Division of Agriculture's Strategic Plan for 2009. This is the first time the division has attempted to develop a strategic plan to guide their work. I'm quite excited to have the opportunity to add my two cents.

If you want to comment too, here is the LINK

It's a PDF so you'll have to write your comments in another doc. and e-mail them to Lora Haralson at the Division of of AG at Lora.Haralson@alaska.gov

Please do take the time to read this document. It's only 22 pages long and there's a chance our comments will be considered and incorporated in to the plan. This opportunity allows us a vote for the kind of food system we want to create in AK. I hope you will join me by offering your opinion to the division's proposed direction.

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Community voices needed to support Ak's food system

Why should agriculture be important to Alaska and Alaskans?

Robin Richardson,of the Global Foods Collaborative, sent out a call this week challenging each of us to submit a letter to the editor during the next week to the Anchorage Daily News on why agriculture be important to Alaska and Alaskans.

This week-end the Alaska Farm Bureau meets in Anchorage for their annual meeting that gives a focus to this topic. It is time for those interested in assuring a sustainable industry to publicly come together to express the value that agriculture and growing/harvesting food and bio products means to Alaska and Alaskans. She suggested that the greatest impact would be to submit these letters between November 11 - 16. I am also open to posting your letters on my blog.

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