Borough Schools Get Funding for Local Food

Did you know that the Alaska Legislature allocated $3 million in this year’s state budget for the pilot phase of the Nutrional Alaskan Foods in Schools grant program and that $131,135 is earmarked for Kenai Peninsula Borough schools  Register now for an introductory webinar on Sept. 14 at 9:30 – 10:30 am, or Sept. 19, 2 – 3 pm to find out how you can take advantage of this program to market your produce, perhaps in future years.  Have produce for sale right now  Contact Dean Hamburg, Student Nutrition Services Administrator at 714-8890 to let him know what’s available right here in our community.  And please spread the word to parents, teachers and students!  Local decision-makers need to hear that local people want fresh, healthy local food.

Signs of Increasing Local Food Production

Kenai Resilience, a volunteer-run community group, has published the 2012 update of its Local Foods Directory for the Central Kenai Peninsula.  The Directory includes 27 listings, up from 19 when it was first published in 2011.   Inspired by successful, season-extending Northern farmers from Tim Meyers in Bethel to Eliot Coleman in Maine, Peninsula farmers started planting and harvesting earlier this year than ever before.   Some high tunnel growers had lettuce, cucumbers, spinach, kale, and other greens for sale by late April or early May!

Local food producers are expanding their marketing channels from the traditional farmers’ markets to subscription services with weekly pick-ups (e.g., Ridgeway Farms, Winter Greens Organic Gardens, Peninsula Dairy), email or on-line ordering (e.g., Cloudberry Acres, Sarah’s Alaska Honey, Alaska Berries), U-pick operations (e.g. Jackson Gardens), and farmstand sales (e.g. Alaska Berries, O’Brien Orchards).  Buying locally supports a healthy local food economy and puts fresh, healthy food on the table for your family.  July and August are peak of the season for fresh fruit and vegetables on the Kenai Peninsula, so visit a farmers’ market or farm soon!   To view and print the 2012 Local Foods Directory, click here, or go to www.KenaiResilience.org.