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    Growers and Chefs Connect at Chamber of Commerce Luncheon

    It was a full house on Jan. 16 when the Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce, Kenai Soil & Water Conservation District and UAF Cooperative Extension co-sponsored a joint luncheon to promote business relationships between local restaurants and farmers.  Speakers included Alaska Division of Agriculture Marketing Manager Amy Pettit who introduced the Alaska Grown Restaurant Rewards Program.  The program, launched in 2012, reimburses food service businesses up to 20 percent for what they spend on Alaska-grown produce.  Alice Kerkvliet, owner of Michel’s Restaurant in Soldotna, said she would certainly be signing up for the new program.  She and chef Denise McCamon both sang the praises of locally-grown and said they buy it whenever possible, to the tune of 20 to 25…

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    From the Local Press

    Homegrown revolution — Gardeners expand to tackle Alaska’s food insecurity  By Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter Here’s something to chew on with your breakfast: The eggs for that omelet you’re eating — or the milk in your cereal, the meat in your sausage, the honey in your tea, the jam on your toast — probably wasn’t produced in Alaska. But half a century ago, it probably was. The factors contributing to this fact are many, and about as complicated as making a soufflé in an Easy-Bake Oven with no electricity at the 17,200-foot camp on Denali’s west buttress. Convenience, cost, and consumer demand related to those, are big parts of the equation. It’s…

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    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,…

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