Alaska Growers School provides guidance for Native-run agriculture projects

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The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service is offering the Alaska Growers School this summer for Alaska Native-owned farms and ranches. This training is offered by webinar and is intended for Alaska Native tribes, Alaska Native corporations, or Alaska Natives who are currently farming or ranching or hope to start.

(Photo by Jeff Fay) Meriam Karlsson provides a tour of the greenhouse and hydroponic system near Pike's Waterfront Lodge.

(Photo by Jeff Fay for the UAF Cooperative Extension Service) Meriam Karlsson provides a tour of the greenhouse and hydroponic system near Pike’s Waterfront Lodge.

A total of nine lessons will be offered by webinar and teleconference from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, June 8 to Aug. 10. Those interested should register for CEPD F001 UX1 Alaska Growers School (CRN 51871). The cost of the course is $50, however tuition waivers are available. To apply for a waiver, first you must register, then you can complete the waiver (the link is available on the registration page).

This training is non-credit and will be taught by University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service experts as well as experts from Arizona and Washington who are knowledgeable about Native American farming and ranching policies. This training is intended for Alaska Native tribes, Alaska Native corporations, or Alaska Natives who are currently or hope to start farming or ranching. Representatives or employees of Alaska Native owned corporations (regional or village) are also welcome to participate in the course. The course will address opportunities available to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

There are lots of reasons to think about starting a farm or ranch. With persistent, low oil prices, agriculture could be a diversification strategy. Starting a farm in a remote village could provide fresher, healthier food for a community as well as improved food security. It also could improve local economies by providing job opportunities and keeping more money in a particular community.

This class will provide the nuts and bolts of getting started farming or ranching in Alaska and will specifically address opportunities available to Alaska Native-owned farms and ranches who are considered socially disadvantaged by the USDA. We will showcase successful Alaska Native- and Native American-owned farms and discuss some of the most promising enterprises for Alaska, such as Rhodiola and peonies.

In the Summer 2016 Alaska Growers School, you will:

  • Learn about important considerations for starting or expanding a farm or ranch.
  • Consider opportunities to improve food security in remote Alaska Native villages
  • Learn about business mapping and how to choose a business structure
  • Establish your vision, goals, values, and strengths.
  • Assess your resources, skills, and motivations for farming.
  • Understand and learn how to manage the risks of starting or expanding a farm in remote Alaska.
  • Learn about other training opportunities, technical assistance, and resources.
  • Connect and learn with other Alaska Native and Native American growers.

The course will be offered using, Blackboard Collaborate.

Please contact the UAF Cooperative Extension Service for any questions about the Alaska Growers School.

This material is based upon work supported by the Office of Advocacy and Outreach, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award # 59-2501-15-045. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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