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.
So what’s working?
One way you can ensure your access to local foods is to become a member of a CSA. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a direct market option where farms offer produce subscriptions and buyers receive a weekly basket of produce, flowers, fruits, and eggs, etc... throughout the growing season. A CSA is also a great way for you to build a relationship with a farmer. By making a financial commitment to a farm in the spring you become a "member" (or "shareholder," or "subscriber") of the CSA. Your subscription helps the farmer get through the lean spring season and entitles you to the freshest local foods throughout the growing season. What's great about a CSA is that you the buyer don't have to think about the produce you are getting. for me a stroll through the Farmers Market can be agonizing. "What can I make with this," "How much spinach should I buy" " What is that?" With a CSA the farmer harvests what's fresh that week and usually gives you a newsletter detailing each item in your box and some recipes too. For those of you with busy lives this is a great option.
Each CSA has differing costs, methods of joining, and quantities of produce. You’ll have to give CSA listed a call to find the one that will work best for your family and the region you live in.
To my knowledge Alaska has nine CSA’s. If you’re thinking of joining, NOW is the time to subscribe. Below are the CSA farms listed by region. You'll have to look in the phone book for their numbers. If there are other CSA farms that you know of please let us know so I can post them!
Mat-Su Valley CSA’s: Arctic Organics, Spring Creek Farm, Dormer Family Farm
Kenai CSA’s: Ridgeway Farms, Earthly Delights, Taylor’s Nest Egg
Fairbanks CSA’s: Calypso Farms, Demeter’s Wild Rose Farm, Rosie Creek Farm
In my next post I’ll share more of the what’s working with AK's food system
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