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Sun Aug 31, 2014, 09:05 PM

In a Tough Place to Grow, Discovering Much to Love

Alaska Turns to Locally Grown Food Thanks to State Incentives.

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — The glorious taste of a late-summer tomato, fresh off the vine, is a chin-dripping wonder for many Americans. Except, as many gardeners might assume, up here.

In Fairbanks, just 200 miles from the Arctic Circle, frost can continue into June, while summer surrenders as early as mid-August. A long growing season it is not. On the federal Department of Agriculture’s plant hardiness map, a blue smear across interior Alaska shows where the brutal winters, with their 60-degree-below-zero temperatures, make it difficult for anything but the toughest plants, and people, to survive. Partly as a result, Alaska imports about 95 percent of its food, state officials say.

But advocates for local food are now pushing back against the widespread notion that eating food grown or raised in Alaska is impossible or too expensive. Boosted by a state program that is helping school districts buy local products, and food stamp incentives that are luring low-income shoppers to farmers’ markets, locavore warriors are teaching small farmers how to reach the public, and consumers how and where to buy. (In Alaska, local can also mean wild, as in moose or seal meat.)

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/01/us/alaska-turns-to-locally-grown-food-thanks-to-state-incentives.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=LargeMediaHeadlineSum&module=photo-spot-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

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Reply In a Tough Place to Grow, Discovering Much to Love (Original post)
elleng Aug 2014 OP
babylonsister Aug 2014 #1
elleng Aug 2014 #2
Blue_In_AK Aug 2014 #4
lumpy Aug 2014 #3

Response to elleng (Original post)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 09:22 PM

1. I wonder how their growing season has changed, or

if it has.

I love this story! Everyone everywhere can/could do this if Fairbanks can.

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Response to babylonsister (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 09:27 PM

2. Yes, everyone could!

Blue in AK has posted some great stuff from her flower garden recently.

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Response to babylonsister (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 10:38 PM

4. We've picked up a couple of weeks

on both ends of the growing season, at least here in Anchorage. What is hard to predict is rainfall. I always plant a little of everything, but some years I don't get good yields in some things because of too much rain/not enough sun. I can always count on cole crops and lettuce, peas, etc., but beans are a little more iffy. This year my zucchinis died back early because it was too wet in August.

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Response to elleng (Original post)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 10:17 PM

3. I spent my early days in Alaska. My Grandparents/parents grew their own gardens successfully

in the Fairbanks area. How one goes about doing it is the answer; a small green house or starting many plants in house, knowing what veggies do well in the short growing period, choosing the right varieties. Rarely did we have to buy vegetables. Picked lots of cranberries,blueberries, raspberries, wild mushrooms. Did beaucoup canning for winter. Hunting. fishing provided our meat supply. This was during depression times so we ate quite well.
Wouldn't have traded my childhood for any other.

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