Charles Kidd


Despite a seeming abundance of nourishment in the state, with folklore of Alaska rivers so full of salmon that one can walk across to the opposite shore without getting one’s feet wet, Alaska is a very food-insecure state. As of 2014, 15% of Alaskans were found to be food insecure. This rate is part of an increasing trend; from 1998 to 2007, food insecurity increased to 3.7% in Alaska, the largest increase in the country. Further, because only 5% of the food consumed in Alaska is actually produced in-state, there is typically only a three to five-day supply of food available on grocery store shelves. However, food insecurity, particularly lack of access to healthy, fresh foods, disparately impacts rural Alaska populations, which are primarily Alaska Native, because of extreme cost. Alaska Native populations have survived on hunting and gathering for thousands of years, though many Alaska Natives now supplement traditional diets with store-bought goods. These provisions are often prohibitively expensive, because of the cost of importation to these extremely remote locations. This Article provides background on the existing state of food insecurity in Alaska, past government efforts at subsidizing agriculture within the state, and Alaskans’ enthusiasm for local produce. It also discusses relevant existing law in Alaska, in California, and at the federal level. This Article offers a series of recommendations for how these laws can be individually modified to produce a better environment for rural Alaska farmers, including, in particular, school farm programs. It ends by considering how recommended modifications may interact to produce prime growing conditions for young Alaskans with agricultural aspirations.

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