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Alaska Farmers Market Week kicks off

National Farmers Market Week will be celebrated Aug. 7 to 13 this year.
Alaska Farmers Markets Association
National Farmers Market Week will be celebrated Aug. 7 to 13 this year.

This week is Farmers Market Week — both around the country and in Alaska. From Aug. 7 to 13, the Alaska Farmers Market Association is celebrating the growth and impact of markets across the state.

To commemorate the week, the association’s Executive Director, Homer’s Robbi Mixon, is spotlighting Alaska’s 56 farmers markets and counting, as well as its food hubs, farm stands, CSAs and other local food sources.

She said they’re all an important part of how local farmers can be successful.

“They help our farmers to keep more of their money in their pockets. By selling directly, they can avoid, you know, the middleman costs, and they can also build relationships with community members," she said.

Mixon also said farmers markets are important for strengthening Alaska’s food security and independence.

"We import 95% of our food," she said. "So anything you can buy locally keeps that much more money within our community, in our state.”

The costs of importing are even higher for Alaska communities that aren’t on the road system. After traveling from out of state, produce has to make its way by plane or barge to small rural areas.

By that time, it just isn’t in the best condition.

“So farmers markets and local food producers play a really important role in improving our food security in that way," she said.

Mixon said her hope for the future of farmers markets on the Kenai Peninsula is to see them continue to expand.

But her goal isn’t just for them to grow in size — she’s also focused on making sure markets reach more of the community.

"One focus at the Alaska Farmers Market Association is creating greater equity and access to local food," she said. "You know, local food is great, but if it is out of the price range of a lot of our community members then that’s not a good thing.”

Mixon said the association is working on a program for individuals who receive benefits through SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as well as WIC, which is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

Through the program, those benefits would double at farmers markets. The association recently received a half-million dollar grant to implement this matching program around the state and is hoping to roll out those efforts next year.

The Alaska Farmers Market Association recently updated its website, which now includes an interactive map showing all of the farmers markets around the state. You can learn more about farmers markets, and even how to start a new one, at

This week on KDLL, we’ll be recognizing Alaska Farmers Market Week through a longer conversation with Robbi Mixon, plus interviews with farmers market organizers around the peninsula.

Tune in on Wednesday at 10 a.m. or Saturday at 5 p.m. to listen to those interviews on the Kenai Conversation.

Riley Board is a Report For America participant and senior reporter at KDLL covering rural communities on the central Kenai Peninsula.
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