Produce Safety Alliance Grower training scheduled for April 25-26

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extensive Service are planning a Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training in April.

This free training takes place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, April 25-26, using Zoom. Registration closes on Monday, April 11.

This Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved course will satisfy the grower training curriculum requirements under the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule. There is no charge for class participants. Funding is provided by a FDA-State of Alaska Cooperative Agreement. Growers who attend all seven modules of the course will receive a FREE Certificate of Course Completion. The workshop is open to all interested growers. Please see the attached flyer for more information. Space will be limited, so pre-registration is required. Contact Dena at dena.cologgi@alaska.gov to register.

NOTE: This training will be held remotely using videoconferencing software (e.g. Zoom). Participants must have a computer or mobile device with audio and video capabilities, as well as access to a strong internet connection and adequate bandwidth. Attendees who wish to receive a Certificate of Course Completion will be required to use the web camera to ensure participation.

For more information, or if you require accommodation for a disability, please contact Dena Cologgi at dena.cologgi@alaska.gov or (907) 375-8212.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy establishes Alaska Food Security and Independence Task Force

The first of four pages of Administrative Order 331, which creates the task force.

Today (Feb. 9, 2022), Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued Administrative Order 331  (downloads the full four-page document as PDF) establishing the Alaska Food Security and Independence Task Force.

Alaska currently imports 95 percent of its food supplies at a cost of $2 billion per year. The global pandemic triggered supply chain disruptions on the West Coast of the United States that continue to impact the regular delivery of food and other essential goods to Alaska. The 18-member task force will be responsible for recommendations on how to increase all types of food production and harvesting in Alaska, and to identify any statutory or regulatory barriers preventing our state from achieving greater food security.   

“Over the past two years Alaskans have walked into grocery stores and been greeted by row after row of empty shelves,” Gov. Dunleavy said. “One of the lessons the pandemic taught us is how vulnerable Alaska could be if the regularly scheduled shipments of food shipped up from Seattle were to suddenly stop – even a few days. The good news is Alaska has tremendous potential to grow, harvest and catch more nutritious food for in-state consumption. The recommendations from the task force will draw a roadmap for my administration, legislators and Alaska’s food producers to make Alaska more food secure the next time the supply chain is disrupted.”

The task force will have 10 main duties and responsibilities:

  • Provide recommendations that increase the procurement and use of Alaska-sourced foods within state and local agencies, institutions, and schools, including any administrative and statutory changes that are required.
  • Identify barriers that farmers, stock growers, fishermen, mariculture professionals, and others engaged in the growing, harvesting, or raising of food, face when starting a business or getting their products in to the Alaska market. Provide recommendations on how the state can address those obstacles, including through administrative or statutory changes.
  • Assess the levels of wild game and fish harvests in Alaska. Suggest measures that would increase the abundance and harvest of wild game, fish, and food by Alaskans.
  • Recommend a program to assist communities and households impacted by fishery shortfalls and disasters.
  • Identify factors, including regulatory or statutory burdens, that might discourage or prevent locally harvested and produced food from being purchased by federal, state, and local agencies, institutions, and schools.
  • Identify research needed to support and encourage increased consumption and production of Alaska-sourced food within the state.
  • Engage with the public to seek additional input on ways to promote the above listed goals.
  • Assess the need for disaster food caches within the state; and how the caches can be developed utilizing Alaskan-sourced foods.
  • Provide a report and summary of findings and recommendations, including what administrative and statutory changes would be needed to accomplish the recommendations of the task force.
  • The chair of the task force shall report regularly to the office of the governor on activities conducted and issues that arise under this order.

The task force will be made up of 16 voting members. Twelve Alaskans representing a cross section of the state’s farming, mariculture and seafood industries and four state commissioners (Natural Resources, Fish and Game, Environmental Conservation, Military and Veterans Affairs) or their designees will serve on the board. Two ex-officio members from the Alaska House of Representatives and the Alaska State Senate are to be appointed by the Senate President and the Speaker of the House.

The administrative order requests, but does not require, the two legislators be current members of the Alaska Grown Legislative Caucus.

The Task Force will issue a report on its findings and recommendations on or before September 1, 2022.

Produce Safety Alliance Grower training scheduled for Feb. 23-24

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extensive Service are planning a Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training in February.

This free training takes place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 23-24, using Zoom. Registration closes on Wednesday, Feb. 9.

This Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved course will satisfy the grower training curriculum requirements under the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule. There is no charge for class participants. Funding is provided by a FDA-State of Alaska Cooperative Agreement. Growers who attend all seven modules of the course will receive a FREE Certificate of Course Completion. The workshop is open to all interested growers. Please see the attached flyer for more information. Space will be limited, so pre-registration is required. Contact Dena at dena.cologgi@alaska.gov to register.

NOTE: This training will be held remotely using videoconferencing software (e.g. Zoom). Participants must have a computer or mobile device with audio and video capabilities, as well as access to a strong internet connection and adequate bandwidth. Attendees who wish to receive a Certificate of Course Completion will be required to use the web camera to ensure participation.

For more information, or if you require accommodation for a disability, please contact Dena Cologgi at dena.cologgi@alaska.gov or (907) 375-8212.

Registration open now for Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit on Feb. 24-26 in Haines

registration-open-dec

Share lessons learned and techniques for overcoming challenges of commercially growing food in Southeast Alaska; learn specific skills, technology, and research that contribute to commercial farming success and efficiency; connect with new and experienced farmers to build an inspiring network.

Early bird registration is now open for the Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit 2017, the second biennial summit designed to bring together experienced and aspiring commercial growers and support agencies. The summit will be held Friday through Sunday, Feb. 24-26, at the Chilkat Center in Haines. A discounted registration rate is available to attendees who register on or before Friday, Jan. 20. Travel and registration scholarships are available.

The conference will feature presentations from experienced commercial growers and support agencies, and topical discussions and panels to share resources and lessons learned. Speakers include Doug Collins, Extension Faculty and Soil Scientist with Washington State University’s Small Farms Program; Megan Talley, Farm Manager and Educator at Alaska Pacific University; and experienced farmers from Southeast Alaska; among others.

“This will be an opportunity for commercial growers of Southeast Alaska to learn from each other, find opportunities to collaborate, and build a network that can leverage everyone’s efforts,” said Lia Heifetz, Local Food Director for Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition. “Many resources will be shared over the course of the weekend – from financial planning for small farms to innovative solutions for soil building, policy implications for agriculture, and much more.”

Other topics to be addressed at the Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit include:

  • On Farm Food Safety
  • Building your Farm Community
  • Planning for a CSA
  • The Future of Seed Saving in Alaska
  • High Tunnel Applications and Innovations
  • Electric and Walk-in Cold Storage for your Farm
  • Biomass Heated Greenhouses and Aquaponics
  • Per Foot Crop Values for Market Sales
  • Using Local Amendments to Improve Soil Quality
  • Fruit Trees and Grafting Techniques
  • Policy and Initiatives
  • Building a Future of Farming with Internships and Education
  • Business Planning and Farm Finances

For more information and to register for the conference, please visit this website, http://www.alaskawatershedcoalition.org/safs2017/, or contact Lia Heifetz at lia@growsoutheast.com.