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.

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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

South Anchorage Farmers’ Market

South Anchorage Farmers’ Market Reporter Alison Arians, has been busy, really busy! in addition to baking zillions of loaves of bread each week she writes this newsletter.

Below is the 12th Edition for the season.

beetsbeets

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

Issue #12

Thursday, July 24

Hello!

THE VEGGIES ARE REALLY HERE!

Have you been wondering about whether the zucchinis were ever going to arrive? Or if we would see cabbages, cauliflower, and broccoli before September? Well this week the farmers’ stands were overflowing with all our favorite things!!

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Who else is afraid to shop at the grocery store?

I found myself at the grocery store this past weekend needing to restock on pantry supplies. ( I missed the two markets in Palmer on Friday).

Saturday Farmers Market in Anc.Saturday Farmers Market in Anc.

As I stood before the neatly organized vegetable displays, illuminated by florescent lights, my eyes glazed over and I felt uneasy about my choices. Yes, there were piles of onions, freshly misted rows of greens, plump red beets, firm round heads of cabbage, and lovely looking summer squash but I could not bring myself to add any to my basket. I couldn’t help but wonder where the vegetables were from, how they were grown, picked, washed, packed, and shipped. Not having answers that felt like assurances of safety, health, and nutrition, I waundered over to the meat section. Unfortunately, I found no comfort there. With monthly warnings sweeping the country about deadly spinach, killer tomatoes and jalapeños, tainted ground beef, contaminated dog and cat food, poison packed tooth paste and the GMO takeover of almost all packaged foods on the market, grocery shopping is no longer fun, its scary. What a sad statement about our country. Our food system is broken.

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A Red, White and Bovine Growth Hormone-Free Independence Day

I just received this press release from the Institute for Responsible Technology:

Here are excerpts from the release:

A new film by Jeffery Smith, author of "Seeds of Deception" was just released today. The film is called "Your Milk on Drugs—Just Say No." It advocates against the use of bovine growth hormones, or rBGH,in the U.S.

The film can be viewed for free at

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What might you find at the Farmer's Market

Here are a few lovely images, sent by Alison Arians, of Rise and Shine Bakery, highlighting what's fresh at the farmers markets around town.

COLEUS PLANTSCOLEUS PLANTS

AKShrimpAKShrimp

local honeylocal honey

local cucumberslocal cucumbers

local eggslocal eggs

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New Alaska Farmers' Market Cookbook

Ever wonder what to do with the five pound bags of peas that show up at Carr's late in the summer or the Godzilla size rhubarb taking over your backyard right now? Maybe a new cookbook could help.

Alison displaying the cookbookAlison displaying the cookbook

Alison Arians, of Rise and Shine Bakery, just sent me this write-up about a new cookbook she completed focused on enjoying Alaska's bounty....

The South Anchorage Farmers’ Market Cookbook is filled with 100 pages of delicious, healthy recipes that showcase our flavorful, fresh local Alaskan produce. Recipes provide inspiration for ways to use Alaskan vegetables, fish, fruits, bread, and other products that can be found at our farmers’ markets. Mostly vegetarian and vegetable recipes, many of which are dairy- and egg-free, the cookbook focuses on recipes that have fantastic flavor and top-notch nutritional value. The directions in each recipe include lots of hints about how to prepare these recipes with speed and efficiency. The cookbook also includes directions for processing Alaskan produce to freeze for the winter. Just inside the cover, you’ll find information on when and where the farmers’ markets are held, and how to sign up for the farmer’s market weekly email newsletter.

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Ag in the Classroom Workshop for Educators

ALASKA AGRICULTURE IN THE CLASSROOM is holding two three-day workshops for Educators.

July 30th - Aug. 1st in FAIRBANKS from 8am to 5pm and again on Aug. 5th -7th in PALMER from 8am to 5pm

The three-day hands-on event, will include farm tours, Alaska Grown lunches and a bevy of special guest speakers. Each three-day workshop will be held at the UAF Experiment Farms in Fairbanks and Palmer.

Registration is available at www.agclassroom.org/ak with early registration deadlines on July 1st for Fairbanks and July 7th for Palmer.

The Course without credit is $90 and includes materials, lunches, snacks, and tours. Credits are an additional $69 for one, or $89 for two, and will be at the 500 level through UAA.

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What will we eat if the trucks stop running?

I thought for today, given that our growing season is just kicking off, I should spend some time reviewing the challenges and opportunities with Alaska’s current food system.

Alaskans spend 2.5 billion annually on food, most is imported from the Lower 48. This information comes from a 2005 Canadian government report called "Overview of the Retail Grocery Market in the Pacific Northwest United States," and you can read it here.

98% of our food is shipped in from the farthest corners of the planet. With the increasing desire to buy Alaska grown, why aren’t we spending more than $30 million annually on locally foods? We have some major hurtles to overcome with access and supply.

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Quiet on the Posts...

Hey Everyone,

I am sorry to have fallen off the wagon with posting. It's not because I can't think of anything to write or that all our food system problems have been solved.

I've had a super busy month...

My partner Jeremiah and I are getting married this summer. Both of us have organized big events in the past like Bioneers in Alaska and the Oceans Festival but planning our wedding is a bit different. There are so many personal details to arrange... We're super excited but as you can imagine we are in the throws of caterer, band, and cake confirmation, invitation organizing, and preparing for our families and friends to arrive.

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Finding local vegetable bedding plants and flowers in Southcentral

Next weekend is a big one here in Alaska. June 1st marks the frost-free line giving us the go ahead to plant our gardens. It still may frost but there is less of a risk than earlier in the season. I am sure many of you are scrambling around to find vegetable seedlings and are on the lookout for just the right hanging baskets. So today I thought I would talk about the importance of buying local.

I am not sure if any of you remember the potato blight
that hit AK a few years back but it wiped out most of the potato crops in the valley. Well, except for a few organic farmers who fought the disease with daily doses of compost tea. (There is a lot to be said for the power of building the nutrient base in the soil as a defense against disease but I will save this discussion for another post) The potato blight of 2005 still poses a threat to conventional farmers as the disease stays in the soil for many years after first attack.

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Author Gary Holthaus To Speak At Terra Bella Cafe

AUTHOR GARY HOLTHAUS TO SPEAK AT TERRA BELLA CAFE
Saturday, May 31, 4:00 PM

Gary Holthaus, one of Alaska ’s favorite sons, is returning to Alaska to inaugurate the Terra Bella Lecture Series on Saturday, May 31 at 4:00, at the Terra Bella Café Bakery at 601 E. Dimond Blvd. Holthaus will lead a discussion based on readings from his two latest books, “ From The Farm To The Table: What Americans Need to Know About Agriculture” and “Learning Native Wisdom: What Traditional Cultures Teach Us About Subsistence, Sustainability, and Spirituality.”

From The Farm To The Table offers a portrayal of American farmers trapped between Byzantine governmental policies and the monstrous mission of American multinational agribusiness. Holthaus explains the critical role played by American farms and the necessity of a vision that incorporates sustainability, organic practices, small scale production and proper environmental practices. In Learning Native Wisdom, Holthaus calls upon his Alaskan roots to articulate how subsistence values and a spiritual reverence for the Earth can guide us to global sustainability.

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Reader offers Valley milk and cheese info

Sharing this reader comment for anyone who missed it:

Matanuska Creamery

Kim, I couldn't find a way to email you directly, so hopefully this comment will pop up.

I called the Mat Creamery today (5/20), and it looks like as soon as tomorrow Palmer milk that is pasteurized (and not ultra-pasteurized) will be on sale at Fred Meyers.

The ETA on the cheddar cheese is June 7th or 8th.

I thought your readers might like this update. I'm sure excited about being able to buy local milk again!
---SOelkers29

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Nominate the AK farm family of the year

I just got this from the Division of Agriculture and wanted to pass it along...

Nominations for the Alaska State Fair Farm Family of the Year are Now Being Accepted Due June 13th, 2008

Alaska serves as home to many farmers who daily work the soil and fields to ensure Alaskans have fresh products in the retail stores, at farmers markets and have hardy plants in the nurseries. The Alaska State Fair and the agricultural community want to applaud the efforts of these farmers by honoring one family that epitomizes the spirit of Alaska farming.

The Fair needs our help in nominating friends and neighbors for the 9th Annual Farm Family of the Year. The Alaska State Fair established the award in 2000 to honor an Alaska farming family by showing appreciation for all the hardworking Alaskans committed to agriculture and aquaculture in the state.

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New website for fresh local goat cheese

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of tasting fresh local hard goat cheese's made by Cranberry Ridge Farms in Wasilla, you should know that you are missing out.

If you are one of those people who think they don't like goat cheese or just have never heard of it, you should check out Matt and Rhonda Shaul's new website.

Cranberry Ridge Farm.

Once you read about their farming journey, see the pictures, and learn about their ecological practices, I am sure you'll be sold.

Chew Happily and Wisely

Kim

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The Anchorage Farmers Market Opens Saturday!

The Anchorage Farmers Market (not to be confused with other markets around town) is opening this Saturday!

The location is 15th and Cordova in the Central Lutheran Church parking lot. Market open at 9:00am and runs till 2:00pm.

Sarah and River Bean of Arctic Organics will be offering arugula, leaf lettuce, basil, Alaska hearty vegetable and flower seedlings, a variety of hanging baskets, apple trees, and tomato plants.

If you have any questions about the market or what Arctic Organics will be bringing here is their contact info.

Arctic Organics
(907)746-1087

Chew Happily and Shop Wisely,

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Why can’t we buy local meat in the grocery store?

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to tour three Ranches in the Mat-Valley with Mary Jo Forbord, Director of the Minnesota Sustainable Farming Association and grass fed beef Rancher. Mary Jo was visiting as the keynote speaker for the Alaskan Dietetics Association Conference. The focus of the tour was on grass fed meat and the environmental and health benefits associated with this method of ranching.

Alaska Division of Agriculture's Amy Pettit, led the tour along with staff from Palmer Cooperative Extension and the Experimental Farm, three local farmers and me. What a treat to be in the presence of so many committed people working on ways to rejuvenate Alaska’s food system.

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hanging from shirt-tails and apron strings.

In the garden standing by my grandfather’s side, we were a team. Together we pinched Japanese beetles, drown slugs in beer, ringed broccoli plants, mulched strawberries with pine needles, planted seedlings with one scoop of homemade compost for each plant, spread sea weed and lobster shells in-between the beds, and in the fall, jumped in a giant pile of leaves to make a condensed carbon layer for the compost. My grandfather imparted the knowledge and passion for growing food the organic way and for this I owe him a lot. Granted, as a child, I thought the bucket of vegetable scraps next to the sink was sick and going to the horse farm after school to shovel manure into the cart that he pulled behind our station wagon seemed like punishment, but looking back I can see what a tremendous gift all the work was.

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PBS Special tonight: King Corn

King Corn is a 90 minutes Independent Lens special on PBS tonight. I think it airs at 10pm but it might be 9pm. So check the local listing to be sure.

King Corn, by Aaron Woolf, Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney, three recent college graduates tell the story of where America's food comes from ­by growing it.

In the rural town of Greene, Iowa, the two friends plant a single acre of the nation's most powerful crop, ­corn ­and then set out to follow it from a seed to the dinner plate.

www.pbs.org/independentlens/kingcorn/film.html is the link to read more about the film.

Be sure to invite over some friends, I am sure the need to have a lively discussion will follow.

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Palmer’s Turkey Red & The Red Beet = Good Eats

If any of you have ventured into Palmer looking for a bite to eat, you may have noticed the slim pickens. The standard fare until about a month ago was a plethora of eateries offering plenty of foods fried, processed, smothered in cheese, and doused in MSG. Not that a nice greasy breakfast once in a while is not good for a lot of things but…

Both Restaurants, Turkey Red and the Red Beet are housed in remodeled/restored landmark buildings in the center of Palmer and both offer an atmosphere of community combined with daily offerings of nourishing whole foods.

Turkey Red, is located just off South Alaska Street across from the Valley Hotel. The building also offers Palmer residents and visitors a new shopping experience, a must see next time you are in town.

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Protecting Farmlands in Alaska

If any of you are like me, when KNBA and KSKA have their bi-annual membership/pledge drives, it makes me think of making charitable gifts to other organizations too. If you’re not someone who gives, and do have the extra money, I would love to encourage you to think about becoming a member of an organization who’s mission you believe in, offers valuable community services and/or works on issues you care about. Because this blog is about AK’s food system, I want to introduce you to a fledgling nonprofit (who needs our support) fighting to protect farmlands in Alaska.

The Alaska Farmlands Trust Corporation (AFTC’s) mission is to preserve, protect, enhance and promote Alaska’s farmlands. AFTC formed in 2005 to take a leadership role in the development of conservation easements for Alaska’s farmlands. For those of you who don’t know, a conservation easement adds a layer of legal text onto the title of a piece of land and that layer of text, in this case, protects the land from non-agricultural development, forever. Unfortunately, the easement is not free and must be purchased.

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A Gathering of Locavors

Michael Ableman, BC farmer, regional foods advocate, and author of Fields of Plenty, presented at UAA Thursady night. The event was sponsored by the UAA sustainability task force and the Culinary Arts program. The presentation was the kick off event for the second annual Sustainability Fair at UAA. For more info about the fair go to http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/sustainability

Arriving at the presentation, I was so pleased to see that loads of friendly, beaming, and beautiful community members had show-up. I was excited to share the experience of listening to Ableman’s life supporting and sustaining stories grounded in the heart of rural America, with Alaska’s locavore contingent. We need to hear more stories like Ableman’s because they give us hope for a delicious and nourishing future.

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