Dana Armstrong has always wanted to give back to her community, and she hopes her new nonprofit will do just that.
She’s the director of the Kenai Peninsula Poultry Project — a 501(c)3 organization with the goal of providing healthy poultry options for central peninsula residents in need.
“My family and I have always wanted to find a way to donate to the community,” Armstrong said. “We have flocks of birds and (we) love our birds, so we’ve decided to expand on it.”
She said she will process and donate both live poultry and cuts of meat to the local food banks and church pantries in accordance with U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines. Armstrong said she wants to provide quality, locally grown poultry so patrons don’t just have to eat mass-produced products.
“We believe that even if you’re low income, you still deserve to have a heck of a meal,” Armstrong said. “(We’re) starting it out of our own pocket, using our property and starting small and hoping to go large.”
Her Nikiski farm is stocked with an array of bird species. Right now she’s working on growing chickens, turkeys and quail, and has interest in acquiring ducks and geese as well.
“Any poultry that can be used for food, we’re happy to take,” she said.
Armstrong said her favorite part of farming is getting to know each animal on an individual level.
She said her main male turkey took off one summer and she was scared she’d never see him again.
“A half hour later I go back out there and there he is waiting outside the pen door,” Armstrong said. “So now every time he’s gone and he hears me calling, he’ll start gobbling back like, ‘I’m coming home mama.’ I just love all their personalities, they crack me up.”
Armstrong said her 501(c)3 paperwork was just filed last month, so she is personally funding the nonprofit. Soon, however, she said she’ll start seeking out grants and other funding opportunities.
In the meantime, Armstrong said she welcomes any feed or building material donations for the farm.
This year, she said her goal is to process and donate 1,000 birds locally.
“If I could reach 1,000 donations, I would be beyond thrilled,” Armstrong said.
She said there’s always room for her organization to receive another USDA exemption — which is required for non-commercially processed meat donations — next year to raise the donation level, but for her first year in the business she hopes to raise awareness.
“I want to just get through this first year and see how well we’re able to do it,” Armstrong said. “I think part of that is going to come down to how many community members take an interest.”
To reach Armstrong to learn more about the Kenai Peninsula Poultry Project or donate, visit the farm’s Facebook Page or contact her directly at 907-521-4045.