• Recent articles highlight food security issue in rural Alaska

The New York Times on Saturday ran a lengthy article by former Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reporter Stefan Milkowski about how weak runs of king salmon are hurting Yukon River communities. The article is datelined from the village of Marshall, near the mouth of the Yukon River, where villagers already are feeling the pinch of no salmon to fill their freezers for the winter.

This is a region where heating oil costs $7 a gallon and a can of condensed milk goes for nearly $4. It also is a region that last year faced critical food shortages last year, with many faith groups from around the country sending food to help tide the residents through the winter. Click here to read accounts from “Anonymous Bloggers” about last year’s airlift and what villagers are doing to prepare for this winter.

The food shortages resulted in some July protest fisheries, which resulted in the arrest of the only police officer in Marshall, Jason Isaac, who joined other villagers in claiming state and federal fish and wildlife officials were more concerned with a Canadian fish treaty than they were about rural Alaskans. The Tundra Drums reports that 67,000 Yukon kings reached Canada, about 10,000 to 13,000 more than the treaty called for.

In relatively close-by Bethel, Tim Meyers and his wife Lisa have helped their communities food security with Meyer’s Farm, which is growing enough fruits and vegetables that Bethel residents can buy weekly boxes of locally grown produce for $30. This shows that local produce can be grown in rural Alaska to reduce our dependency on store-bought food.

Food security also hits closer to home, where state Sen. Albert Kookesh of Angoon faces a trial over subsistence fishing practices near his home village.

Not all of the local foods news in Alaska is gloom and doom this week. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner featured a story on Monday about the growth of the Delta Meat and Sausage plant in Delta Junction, which processes locally raised Galloway cattle and game meat shot by local hunters.

Also, this week’s Chilkat Valley News (Haines weekly) included a brief item about a Haines moose hunter who was the beneficiary of a snow goose dropped by a hawk that didn’t have the strength to carry its prey.

Finally, the Alaska Dispatch site includes an update on the inaugural Alaska Local Food Film Festival, which runs from Oct. 2-8 at the Beartooth Theatrepub and Grill in Anchorage. Sitka filmmaker Ellen Frankenstein presented her movie “Eating Alaska” on Sunday, Oct. 4.

• Alaska Local Food Film Festival featured on Alaska Public Radio Network and other local food news

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The Alaska Public Radio Network’s Alaska News Nightly show on Friday night had a feature story about the inaugural Alaska Local Food Film Festival that runs Oct. 2-8 at Anchorage’s Beartooth Theatrepub and Grill. The story included discussion about the movie “Eating Alaska” by Sitka filmmaker Ellen Frankenstein, which will be shown on Sunday and feature a post-movie discussion with Ellen. The feature story link has streaming audio. Here’s a link to more information about the film festival.

Earlier this week, former Fairbanks Daily News-Miner editor Sam Bishop wrote an article about hunting and gathering in the season of the moose hunt. While centered on a September moose hunt Sam took with his parents, the story discusses the role of local foods and how people make their food choices.

Also in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner this week was a letter to the editor from Barry Brown about how to properly take care of the meat after a successful hunt.

Anchorage Daily News garden columnist Jeff Lowenfels writes a column about getting the garden ready for a long winter’s nap.

Finally, an article from a paper in Ontario, Canada — the Peterborough Examiner — about “Yes, they garden in Alaska.” The article is by Joan Harding, a master gardener for Peterborough Gardens, who took a trip through Southeast Alaska where she visited gardens along the way.

• Aliens from Running of the Boots fundraiser show up in Daily Sitka Sentinel and Juneau Empire

Screenshot of the Daily Sitka Sentinel site on Monday with the aliens photo from the 2009 Running of the Boots

Screenshot of the Daily Sitka Sentinel site on Monday with the aliens photo from the 2009 Running of the Boots

Screenshot from Tuesday's Juneau Empire featuring the aliens photo from the Running of the Boots

Screenshot from Tuesday's Juneau Empire featuring the aliens photo from the Running of the Boots

The green-headed aliens were the hit of the Running of the Boots on Saturday, earning spots on the front page of the Daily Sitka Sentinel on Monday and in Tuesday’s issue of the Juneau Empire. The Running of the Boots is a fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network, and we greatly appreciate race founder Sheila Finkenbinder and the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce donating the proceeds from the event to our organization. A photo gallery from the race is posted just below this one, or click here to go directly to the gallery.

In other recent local foods news, Sitka filmmaker Ellen Frankenstein and her movie, “Eating Alaska,” are featured in Wednesday’s Anchorage Daily News. Ellen will be in Anchorage to show her film on Sunday night at the inaugural Alaska Local Food Film Festival, which runs Oct. 2-8 at Anchorage’s Beartooth Theatrepub and Grill.

Click here to read a “Local Flavor” column by chef Ginny Mahar about chanterelles from Sunday’s Juneau Empire, which local mushroom enthusiasts can find throughout Southeast Alaska about this time of the year. Ginny, who works for Rainbow Foods in Juneau, writes the Food-G blog where she has posted several recipes that use chanterelles. Chanterelles are popular this week, because Carla Peterson also writes about them in Capital City Weekly.

Click here to read a letter to the editor in Tuesday’s Juneau Empire about how to eat healthy foods on a budget. The letter, written by staff members from the Juneau office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, was in response to a Fairbanks Daily News-Miner story (that appeared later in the Juneau Empire) about Alaska lawmakers trying to live on food stamps for a week.

Click here to read a Seattle Times article about how Northwest cooks are falling in love with the sablefish (aka, black cod), a fish frequently caught in Sitka waters and available at the Sitka Farmers Market. The article includes a recipe.

Click here to read a blog post on The Atlantic Food Channel called “Local Food Comes To Alaska,” by New York University nutrition, food studies and public health professor Marion Nestle (author of “Food Politics,” “Safe Food,” “What To Eat,” and “Pet Food Politics,” as well as the “Food Matters” column for the San Francisco Chronicle).

If you haven’t visited the “Eat Local Northwest” blog, it’s worth a look. This blog is maintained by two friends — Stephen lives in the Mat-Su Valley and works in Anchorage, while Audrey is from the Seattle area. In the most recent post (as of Tuesday night), Stephen writes about his happy discovery that some of the prices at the South Anchorage Farmers Market actually were comparable or lower than what he was finding at several of local grocery stores. There is a link to this blog in our blog roll on the right side of the page.

Click here to read a story from KTUU-TV (Anchorage NBC affiliate) about Meyer’s Farm in Bethel, a project started by Tim Meyers that now involves a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program where local residents pay a fee and get weekly boxes of fresh, local produce. You can click a video link in the upper right corner, too. Meyer’s Farm was featured in the April 2009 issue of Alaska Magazine (link opens a PDF file of the article). There also is a Flickr photo gallery that shows nearly 100 photos of Meyer’s Farm.

Finally, the new farmers market near the White House isn’t about Alaska food, but it does promote and encourage people to eat local food. Click here for a story about the new farmers market on National Public Radio and click here for an article from the Washington Post. Click here for an article from USA Today about the growth of farmers markets across the nation.

• Alaska Center for the Environment launches local food campaign

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The Alaska Center for the Environment is launching a new campaign to teach Alaskans about the importance of local food. This campaign is just getting going, and there’s a lot of work needed to flesh out all of the elements. But it’s good to see someone looking a local food security issues on a statewide level.

Click here to read the main information page about the campaign, which includes facts such as Alaskans spent $2.6 billion on food each year and in 2007 only 0.13 percent of that money went to agricultural products grown in Alaska. Click here to read the campaign’s Frequently Asked Questions page. Click here to read about a proposed “Alaska Food, Farms and Jobs Act” that is based on legislation out of Illinois that ACE hopes to find an Alaska legislator willing to introduce.

Finally, click here to read about the Alaska Local Food Film Festival that takes place Oct. 2-8 at the Bear Tooth Theatrepub and Grill in Anchorage. Each day during the festival the Bear Tooth will show a local food-related movie at 5:30 p.m. The films include “Food, Inc.,” “The Garden,” “Eating Alaska,” “Fresh” and “The End of the Line.” Sitka filmmaker Ellen Frankenstein will lead a discussion after her film, “Eating Alaska,” is shown on Sunday, Oct. 4.

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