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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Michael Ableman to present at UAA Thurs night 7:30pm

Michael Ableman at UAA!!!

I thought you all might want to be aware of this rare opportunity to hear and see Michael Ableman, British Columbia farmer and author. Michael is one of the continent's leaders in the real food and sustainable agriculture revolutions. He is an amazing photographer, writer and farmer, author of "From the Good Earth," "On Good Land," and "Fields of Plenty."

Michael Ableman is the founder and executive director emeritus of the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens, a non profit organization based on one of the oldest and most diverse organic farms in southern California. Ableman has received numerous awards including the 2001 "Sustie" Award for his work in sustainable agriculture, Eating Well magazine's 1995 Food Hero Award, and the 1997 Environmental Leadership Award from the governor of the state of California. For more information about Michael and his work check out his website www.fieldsofplenty.com

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Liquid Gold from the Valley

In support of the legalize “raw milk” House Bill 367 on the table in the Alaska Legislature, I thought I should talk about cow and goat share programs that provide yummy raw milk and cream to share holders. In a share program you become a member of a dairy, buy a portion of the cow or goat, and then pay for the care and feeding of the animal with your share. It’s like a CSA but with dairy rather than vegetables. In return your membership/share entitles you to the animal’s products, in the case of a cow or goat that means fresh milk!

Our family has been a member of a Mat-Su Valley cow share for the past two years and we love it. It’s really great to get to know a dairy farmer and lots of fun experimenting making fresh butter, ricotta, and mozzarella cheeses, and to be reintroduced to real milk. For the longest time I just thought “I don’t like milk.” But now we call it liquid gold and thoroughly appreciate fresh milk.

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Alaska's Farmers are Living Libraries

I really appreciate each of you for participating in the conversation about the local carrots vs. global organic carrots. By learning together, having meaningful dialogue, and sharing opportunities to act, I believe we can have a positive impact of AK foods system and get more locally grown foods into the hands of those of us who want them.

There are a number of barriers to overcome before the Alaska box option is a reality. The first major hurtle would be to identify all the producers who grow and store vegetables in volume; of those, who would be willing to participate in starting program like this? The second obstacle would be securing a site to fill the boxes and then we would need a trucking and air transport plan to distribute the boxes. In my mind each of these steps would need to happen regionally. The next hurtle would be educating the public about the AK box and why everything in the box might not be organic.

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The local carrot vs. the global organic carrot

I would like to explore the success of Full Circle Farms, the Washington based CSA, and their impact on AK’s food system. While I appreciate their model, admire their achievement, and am thankful for the service they offer many remote communities, (67 drop offs throughout the state, mostly in remote communities) who have no other source for fresh produce. I also worry about Full Circles economic effect on local producers in regions where we can buy locally grown foods.

I have spoken to a number of producers, who participate in the Anchorage Farmers Markets, about Full Circle Farms. One farmer remarked that Full Circle Farm has a pick-up point in the next parking lot over from the Farmers Market where he sells. He said was shocked and bummed to see the volume of families driving past the Farmers Market full of AK grown produce, in the height of summer, to pick up their box of globally sourced organic produce. Other farmers have shared that they have felt the drop in customer support at summer markets as the success of Full Circle Farm increases.

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Longing to taste fresh peas

This time of year is so hard from me…local foods are scarce and seed companies keep sending me colorful catalogs with beautiful displays of fresh ripe produce. I look at the glossy photos longingly. "if only I could taste the sweetness of peas in their pod, the bitter bite of fresh baby salad greens, spicy tang of garlic whistles, and creamy richness of sautéed zucchini"… ahhhh I would do most anything for a fresh warm tomato just off the vine, or a crisp cool cucumber.... I cant wait to graze the garden in full bloom and to weave through the booths at the farmers market with my harvest basket overflowing. I want to make fantastic meals of the finest fresh vegetables, I want to open the refrigerator door and see a bounty of produce inside.... but we all must wait.

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Support HB 367 and help Alaska's Milk Producers

I am re-posting a letter sent out by Stella Lyn advocating for the support of legislation to legalize the sale of raw milk. She said it better than I. read on....Kim

AN OPPORTUNITY TO SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL DAIRY FARMERS
House Bill 367~Legalizing the sale of raw milk in Alaska NEEDS YOUR VOICE!

Right now in Alaska there is a huge effort being made to legalize the sale of raw milk. Representative Mark Neumann, some local dairy farmers, and members of the Weston A. Price Foundation have been working hard to draft and pass House Bill 367, giving dairy farmers the legal right to sell their milk directly to consumers.

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What’s Working For AK’s Food System?

I want to share how each of you can make an investment in Alaska’s food system and get more local foods on your table. Last week I presented at the Annual Potato Vegetable Conference in Palmer. The focus of my presentation was on accessing new markets. I offered producers a number of new opportunities to get their locally produced foods out into the community. To start the presentation I shared a quote by Alfred E. Newman. “We live in a time where lemonade is made from artificial lemons and furniture polish is made from real lemons.” This was the first slide in my powerpoint, the second was “thank for producing real food for Alaska.” Without local farmers, there can be no reliable access to real food. The Alfred E. Newman’s quote highlights the scary reality of our current food system and motivates me to make sure I am eating real foods. This quote is also one of the reason’s I'm motivate to write this blog. I want each of you to know where to find real foods produced in your community.

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Hello local food lovers

I am so glad to see that many of you have logged on and are sharing information about local foods. This is what we were hoping would happen.

The lag time from my last post is because I was away all last week in Taos, at a Tribal Food Sovereignty workshop and did not have access to the internet. I was among 30 other local and traditional food activists who are all working on food security issues in their regions. The three days were filled with great conversations about bioregional foods and how to ensure that the folks who live in specific regions of the country have access to their traditional foods first, before the foods are shipped out to specialty markets around the globe. An Alaska example would be like having wild Alaska salmon and king crab for sale in Georgia, at lower prices than we can get here. But more on this topic in a few days….let's talk about local milk.

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Welcome local-food lovers

It’s hard to know where to begin a conversation about local foods in Alaska, in February…. so I’ll begin with last night’s dinner. Chicken and Rice Soup

To put this hearty soup together, I dug deep into our freezer and pulled out a lovely plump chicken purchased from Triple D hatchery in Palmer and I also made a trip over to Arctic Organics a few days ago to pick up the 20 lbs of carrots, 15 lbs of beets, 40 lbs of potatoes and 2 red cabbages they had in storage for me. I confess the onions, celery and rice were globally sourced. The soup turned out fantastic, even as a leftover for Super Bowl Sunday.

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