ACE advocates to strengthen our local food system
According to the Alaska Division of Agriculture, Alaskans spend 2.6 billion annually on food. In 2007 only 1.3% of this figure was spent on agricultural products from Alaska. That means the remainder of the money was spent ‘Outside’. Given Alaska's unique geographical location in relation to the rest of the U.S., we're practically a remote island in terms of the global food network. It's the norm for our groceries to come from 2-3,000 or even more miles away. However, according to the Alaska Farm Bureau if food supplies were to be cut off Alaskans would have only 3-5 days worth of food on their grocery store shelves before everything was gone. With a state as remote, seasonally extreme, and prone to natural phenomenon such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, we need to become more self-sufficient in order to ensure our continued welfare.
Meanwhile, there are about 600 farms in Alaska. Much of the produce grown in-state comes from the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, 40 miles north of Anchorage, where farmland is under constant threat from development. However, farmers markets in the Mat-Su Valley and Anchorage and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are popular. Additionally, the success of the Alaska Division of Agriculture’s 1986 ‘Alaska Grown’ promotional brand and program indicates a strong community interest in Alaskan food. To retain a larger share of Alaskan food dollars, enhance our food security, and protect public, private, and civic sectors must work together to build farm and food system that meets consumer demand for ‘local’ food.
ACE recognizes that increasing our local food production promotes Alaskans’ health, increases our food security, strengthens our local economy, encourages community development, and protects our natural resources and ‘viewshed’. In launching ACE’s Local Food Campaign we encourage you, our members, and activists from all over the state to support research, legislation, community resources, and events that strengthen Alaska’s local food system.
What's ACE doing? Click here to find out.