Alaska Food Policy Council finishes two-year project networking food systems in Alaska

The plan comes after a USDA grant was awarded in October of 2020
The plan comes after a USDA grant was awarded in October of 2020
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 5:59 PM AKDT
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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - A two-year project addressing food security in Alaska is finally complete, according to a press release sent out Tuesday by the Alaska Food Policy Council.

The policy council completed its food security action plan late last week that was funded through a U.S. Department of Agriculture Regional Food System Partnership grant totaling $106,710. The council provided an additional $27,278 in matching funds for a cumulative total of $133,988 for the project.

The overall goal of the project is to strengthen the food systems in different regions across the state, creating sustainable, food-secure communities. Executive director of the council Robbi Mixon said that despite funding limitations, they were still able to get a quality product from the initiative.

“We did cover a good part of the state, and we created 13 different nodes and held six workshops around creating inclusive networks,” Mixon said.

Nodes — groups within individual communities — were identified from the Panhandle to the Interior, along the Aleutian Islands, and nearly everywhere in between. The project conducted surveys, food system and social asset mapping, and data collection to create a network that could share and contribute to collective ideation toward food security in Alaska.

”We looked at what we had and how we could leverage those and strengthen partnerships between communities,” Mixon said. “We took all of that data and created this action plan that’s truly informed at the community level.”

Throughout the process, the Alaska Food Policy Council was able to create an action plan that addresses challenges within the state’s various food systems, including education, infrastructure, and future grant opportunities as well as connecting food producers with local establishments. The plan outlines the various phases the project followed and highlights the success stories of various communities.

“We are hoping to use this to create what we’re calling the Alaska food system network, so a way for people to gather and talk and share resources and stories about their own community successes and failures, and really be a support network for building out the food system that we’re all envisioning,” Mixon said.

While the planning process has been completed, Mixon said the next step the policy council will take to build on the foundation will be to apply for a USDA Rural Food System Partnership Implementation grant next year.