Mar 9, 2010
Inside it is time for us gardeners and farmers to be in the thick of things for the coming spring and summer. Fishermen are too, but we skip them for now :-)
Last year a great number of you helped get me to a Sustainable Agricultural Conference and workshop in Fairbanks about this time in March.
From that came some great contacts, more information on how the state might support those of us trying to provide more of our own food in our villages , and all sorts of other good things.
A few weeks ago I got a series of emails about the upcoming conference, what they were working on for an agenda and speakers. I took a look and was interested in a number of the subjects. (One of the things that came out the conference last year was that a few local farmers were getting together to do a CSA –Community Supported Agriculture- project that would try to reach out to the villages some)
Then came information about the Alaska Sub-Regional Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Conference that would be held in Alaska this year, later that same week, by invitation only. Now, this intrigued me.
They were asking six questions about how sustainable agriculture could be supported in the state. Anyone could answer, in fact the more, the merrier. Wow, don’t ask questions like that UNLESS you are ready for me to FILL each and every one with some darn lengthy and pointed comments.
Having lived a couple of times in my life in states where agriculture was one of the main industries, or was in the recent past, I have had the pleasure of seeing things that are well supported on the county, state and university levels.
Alaska is not as developed in the agricultural industry on many fronts as many states are. Coupled with its vast size and many different climate zones, it makes it much harder to serve the industry it does have.
I got my input to the six questions submitted.
I started getting all sorts of email on the conference, and I was really wishing I could attend, but alas, it was invitation only. I gave input every place it said with the hope that at least my comments might get discussed!
Unbeknownst to me an email was buried in my spam account that was an actual invitation as one of the “100 Key Agricultural Leaders in Alaska” to the invitation only event of the Alaska Subregional Western SARA part.
Well, what do you know!!!! That whole bunch of emails I was getting on the event were for a reason :-) (They made it through the spam filter)
This whole thing took me a week or two of back and forth to figure out, not that I was a little busy during this time and thus slow on the uptake :-)
All of this came with an offer to assist in paying my travel, which I accepted. Next week I will head to Fairbanks.
Let’s pray for a tad warmer than the -50 chill factor they had last year!
To say I am excited is an understatement. I was excited to see, meet and learn new things last year.
This year it is more so as I realize the difference just this past year has made in contacts and projects getting started.
We will get an update on Tim Meyers Bethel farming projects, a new project in a small village in our borough, Igiugig, who had a village member win a Denali Sustainable award in the past.
We should hear about goats, a personal favorite for a milk and cheese source, Galena, a community dedicated to sustainable agriculture, Agricultural tours for the cruise line industry, high tunnel updates from the USDA, berry and fruit production and still more goodies.
We have a few things getting started in our area too.
One that is of particular interest to me is a family that is looking to increase their garden into a small produce farm in Pilot Point this coming summer. Our hope is to help enough to get them into a number of USDA projects shortly.
It looks like our next few weeks and months will busy, so keep an eye out for hopefully some great things to come!!
~ Victoria Briggs