Edible Alaska

  • Tuesday, August 28, 2018 7:40pm
  • Opinion

When the governor signed a seed bank bill in Palmer, it’s likely Ketchikan hardly noticed.

First, Palmer is more than 775 miles north of here.

Second, it’s peppered with farmland, and Ketchikan doesn’t farm.

It doesn’t farm. It grows in greenhouses during a summer like this. Or maybe a few outdoor gardens. Local produce is coming from one or the other, and it’s been wonderful to taste.

Fresh cucumbers. Fresh tomatoes. Fresh beans. They make a delicious and healthy meal when combined with wild salmon or halibut. The meal can be topped off with a pie made with locally picked blueberries.

This goes to show that Alaska can feed itself.

The importance of that was spelled out by Gov. Bill Walker.

He signed a bill that helps to establish community seed banks.

The bill notes the importance of Alaskans sharing local knowledge and resources pertaining to agriculture — whether farms, greenhouses or gardens — and what seeds have been tried and tested for success in Alaska. It speaks to grains, fruits and vegetables, as well as flowers and other commercially viable plants.

Walker pointed out that when Alaska became a state, Alaska grew 50 percent of its food. It grows 5 percent today.

When you think about it, food production reduces reliance on other states and nations to feed Alaska. It decreases the costs of shipping food to Alaska. It’s an investment in local farmers, businesses, communities and the state’s economy.

And agriculture isn’t all that different from commercial fisheries about which Ketchikan is well informed.

Alaska should do all it can be become self-reliant when it comes to its food. This bill, which was signed oh so far away, is significant to Ketchikan.

—Ketchikan Daily News, Aug. 22, 2018

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