The Alaska Farm Bureau announces the $5/Week Alaska Grown Challenge – a statewide campaign to increase consumer spending on Alaska Grown products with the goal of strengthening local economies and increasing Alaska’s food security.
The Kenai Peninsula Chapter of the Alaska Farm Bureau, in partnership with the Kenai Soil and Water Conservation District and several other local organizations, launched the $5/Week Alaska Grown Challenge on May 5, in honor of Alaska Agriculture Day. Now the Challenge is going statewide with the help of social media, Farm Bureau chapters and local food advocates across the state.
The Challenge calls on Alaskans to spend $5/week per person on Alaska Grown products year-round. With farmer’s market season just around the corner, this is the perfect time for Alaskans to commit to investing a portion of their consumer dollars in the future of Alaskan agriculture.
Agriculture has played an important role in Alaska’s history. Today it is a growing industry with increasing numbers of farms producing food, forage and fiber for local consumers, as well as peonies and rhodiola for sale around the world.
Although farm production is rising, the economic potential of Alaskan farms is far from realized. More than 95% of Alaska’s food is imported, which means that most of our food dollars are leaving the state.
Are Alaska farmers prepared to scale up to meet increasing demand? Yes! According to the Alaska Division of Agriculture, 67% of Alaska farmers surveyed indicate that they would increase production if they had more market options. Meanwhile, a warming climate and the rapid adoption of season extension technologies like high tunnels are creating more favorable conditions for agriculture.
The Alaska Farm Bureau is calling on every resident in Alaska to join the $5/Week Alaska Grown Challenge. If every Alaskan spent $5/week on Alaska Grown products, year-round, it would have a $188 million dollar impact.
Why buy Alaska grown? Not only are you supporting Alaskans and boosting our economy, you’re also getting a fresher, tastier, more nutritious product. In a blind taste test, 82% of Alaskans surveyed could taste the difference between products grown here and those shipped up. Adults and kids say Alaska grown is sweeter, fresher-tasting and crispier.
The $5/Week Alaska Grown Challenge isn’t hard. The key, simply enough, is to eat what grows here. You can find a wide variety of produce and value-added products like bread, jam and pickles at farmers markets throughout the summer. Alaska Grown carrots, potatoes, cabbage, milk and barley products (flour, couscous and even pancake mix!) are available year-round in local grocery stores, joined by lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and broccoli during the growing season. Local farms produce meat, poultry, eggs and honey, which are available direct from the farm and at locally-owned retailers. Farmers grow more than just food; Alaska also has cut flower and natural fiber industries with products available. Local restaurants, breweries, distilleries and wineries purchase local products to use in their recipes.
Not sure where to find Alaska Grown? Check out the $5/Week Alaska Grown Challenge website (http://www.alaskafb.org/challenge/) where you will find links to local and statewide resources including the Alaska Grown Source Book, a list of local producers and farmers markets. Be sure to ask for Alaska Grown when you are eating out as well.
Take the challenge: $5/person/week. You’ll help local farmers, boost the local economy, increase Alaska’s food security, and eat better too. Sign up for the challenge here: http://www.alaskafb.org/challenge
About the Alaska Farm Bureau:
The Alaska Farm Bureau is a chapter of the America Farm Bureau, an independent, non-governmental, voluntary organization governed by and representing farm and ranch families united for the purpose of analyzing their problems and formulating action to achieve educational improvement, economic opportunity and social advancement and, thereby, to promote the national well-being.
The Alaska Farm Bureau’s mission is to improve the economic well-being and expansion of agriculture and to enrich the quality of farm family life in Alaska. For more information go to: http://www.alaskafb.org.
Alaska Farm Bureau