Sitka UAF student Trevor Schoening earns award to study statewide food production in Alaska

Trevor Schoening (Photo courtesy of Trevor Schoening)

University of Alaska Fairbanks natural resources management student Trevor Schoening of Sitka, a junior, recently received a 2018 Spring Project Award from URSA, the Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Activity program.

The program awards up to $2,500 to students planning to conduct research or pursue creative projects during the spring semester. Twenty UAF students will receive awards this spring.

Schoening said he’s still developing his project and doesn’t want to build up too many expectations, especially since he’s unsure of his outcomes. But he plans to present his findings on April 10 at the UAF Research Day.

According to a UAF School of Natural Resources and Extension (SNRE) press release, Schoening said he hopes to get a better understanding of where food production is taking place around Alaska. He plans to use the directory provided on the Alaska Grown website to find farmers markets and will ask for a list of vendors to contact for production information.

“In short, my principal goal for this project is to gain a deeper spatial understanding of where food is being grown around Alaska, particularly with regard to distribution through farmers markets,” Schoening wrote in an email. “I hope to contact as many producers around the state as possible in order to obtain a sample representative of the state’s food production, and gather information on the physical location in Alaska where the food is produced, what type(s) of food the producer grows, and roughly how much food is grown by the producer annually. Ultimately the goal for the final project is to develop spatial maps (specific maps for different regions of the state) through GIS that display the geographic locations around Alaska where food is being produced for commercial sale at some scale.”

Food producers wanting to contact Schoening about how much food they grew and distributed can contact him by email at

• How does your garden grow? Sitka wants to see its best gardens

Does your neighbor have an incredible garden? Do you think your own garden looks pretty impressive? Then help the Sitka Local Foods Network find out who grows the best gardens in Sitka.

If you know of someone with an impressive garden,  take a picture or two and e-mail the photos by Sept. 11 to Tell us why you think the nominated garden is one of Sitka’s best, and don’t forget to tell us the owner of the garden and address (NOTE: if you’re nominating a neighbor, please double-check with them to make sure they want their garden nominated). The Sitka Local Foods Network focuses on food production, but there is a category for flower gardens.

Hopefully we’ll get enough nominations so we can create an informal garden tour of Sitka to show how people are growing their own food. The better gardens will be featured here in a photo slideshow toward the end of September.

Here are some categories to consider:

  • Best of show (top overall gardens in Sitka)
  • Biggest variety of food (most different kinds of food)
  • Most productive garden (which garden produces the most food)
  • Best looking food garden (for productive gardens that really look nice)
  • Most unique plants (who grows stuff in Sitka nobody else grows)
  • Best use of limited space (for apartment dwellers and container gardens)
  • Best greenhouse
  • Best flower garden

Again, e-mail a photo or two to to nominate your favorite Sitka gardens, then I’ll post them on the site. Please help the Sitka Local Foods Network recognize the best gardens in Sitka.