farming

Courtesy of Lora Hagelund

The Soldotna Public Library will soon stock seeds among its shelves of books and movies.

Lora Hagelund is spearheading the Soldotna Seed Library. She runs Stellaria Trial Garden in Kasilof, where she grows produce and keeps a small flock of chicken and geese.

Jenny Neyman

More farmers markets crop up in Alaska every year. New markets took root in Nikiski, Seldovia and Seward in the last two years alone.

Just ask Robbi Mixon. She’s executive director of the Homer-based Alaska Farmers Market Association.

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

Researchers and the Cooperative Extension Service want to know how the pandemic and the 2019 Swan Lake Fire impacted food resilience on the Kenai Peninsula.

Courtney Long is a PhD student at Iowa State University. She said the study on the peninsula is one of five she’s conducting in rural communities across the country. 

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

Every new challenge is just another problem to be solved—according to Abby Ala, anyway.

"It keeps life interesting," she said. "If you have problems, you always have something to work on, that’s always there to be worked on."

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted just about everything, including food shipments to grocery stores all over Alaska. Last year, Alaskans really felt it, with some products just not available.

Alaska depends on shipments for about 95 percent of its food, which makes the state fragile when those supply lines are interrupted. Reportedly, interest in local food has grown during the pandemic as well—good news for the Kenai Peninsula, which was home to more than 250 farms in 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farmers and local food advocates have stood on that fact to push for more in-state food production support and infrastructure, and with the pandemic highlighting food insecurity, they are taking the opportunity to push for broader changes.

Photo Elizabeth Earl

Like little kids, the flowers at Funny River Peonies are tucked under blankets while they sleep. Springtime means it’s time to wake up.

“Once we get these off, these blankets off, then I’ll be going around and putting fertilizer and lime in every hole, ’cause we do that in the spring," said Denise Carey. "We also put a pre-emergent weed spray down so the seeds don’t germinate.”


Jenny Neyman

All Alaska producers are eligible for federal assistance under a new USDA program. But days before the deadline, not many have applied.

This is the second round of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, or CFAP, administered by the USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Round one was reserved for producers who worked with certain commodities and could prove they were impacted by the pandemic.

This round is open to many more producers working with a large swath of commodities, said Alaska FSA Program Manager Jeff Curry. That includes peonies, a popular crop on the Kenai Peninsula.

Elizabeth Earl

Within the farming world, Alaska is famous for crops as outsize as the state itself. The peonies grown in the state are no exception.

"We have a variety of white peonies  that are the size of dinner plates," said LaDawn Druce of Sterling. "They're just gorgeous."

Druce and her husband Mike own Alaska Summer Peonies on Robinson Loop Road. Right around now, they and other peony farmers around the state are busy trimming, watering, and fighting off fungus in their farms in anticipation of the first blooms. Being cooler, Alaska’s peony season doesn’t typically start until late June, stretching out through August and even into September.

ECON 919: Alaska Agriculture Day

May 10, 2019

 

It was Alaska Agriculture Day on Tuesday. Since 2007, the first Tuesday in May has been set aside to shine a light on the slowly, but steadily growing ag industry in the state.

 

 


Just when you thought it might be time to risk moving plants outdoors, freezing temperatures and even some snow flurries returned to prove that you can’t rush spring in Alaska.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t play in the dirt this time of year. This is prime seed-starting season. In this month's Kenai Garden Talk, we’ve got wisdom from veteran gardeners about how to start seeds efficiently and cost-effectively. After that, we’ll visit an asparagus farm down in Homer, proving that even persnickety crops can be successful on the peninsula with the right knowledge and care.

ECON 919 - Agriculture and the state budget

Mar 29, 2019

 

Alaska has a long history of agriculture, but it’s always lingered in the background behind fishing and more recently, oil and gas as a mainstay in the economy. The governor’s proposed budget includes numerous cuts that would affect agriculture across the state and could even make some parts of the ag economy go away altogether.

 

 


The roughly 5.7 million acres that make up the Kenai Peninsula get used for a lot of different activities including, increasingly, agriculture. The Kenai Peninsula Borough is rolling out an initiative this spring in an effort to get a few more of those acres dedicated to a sustainable ag system that will, among other things, help further diversify the local economy. This week, we're speaking with Marcus Mueller, KPB Land Manager and Heidi Chay, District Manager for the Kenai Soil and Water Conservation District, about the ag initiative and broader policy goals and considerations that go with it.


Like a farmers' market online

Jul 31, 2017

The ever-increasing demand for fresh and organic food has fueled an explosion of community-supported agriculture around the nation.