Should it matter to you if the peas on your dinner table came from Alaska or California? Is buying locally worth a few extra cents here and there?
We think supporting our Alaska farmers isn't just sensible. It isn't just the right thing to do. We see it as a way to grow a green Alaska that is less vulnerable to food security issues, less dependent on imported food and less detached from the sources of its food.
With Alaska's fresh bounty reaching area farmers' markets, vegetable stands and local retailers, today is a good day to make a personal commitment to buy Alaska Grown.
Lettuce, crisp bunches of radishes and the succulent green, leafy crops have been a hit at the farmers' markets for a few weeks. Zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes and strawberries - and an ever-lengthening parade of enticing crops - are available now, too. Even as summer gives way to fall and fall to you-know-what, Alaska potatoes and carrots remain available.
Buy Alaska Grown and you are buying from your neighbors, who picked the crops from their own fields. Many grow their crops naturally without chemicals and pesticides. Each of them will answer your questions about their commitment to raising produce that is Alaska Grown.
Alaska has its own fresh milk with an expanding line of dairy products expected soon. There are sources of Alaska meats, goat cheese, eggs, birch syrup, herbs, honey, oils, jams and jellies. Then there are the nonfood products - yarns, soaps, nutraseuticals, flowers, biodiesel, etc. It's a long list. The state's new Food and Farm Products Directory is an Excel file downloadable and filterable from the Division of Agriculture Web site, http://www.dnr.state.ak.us/ag.
Buying local foods mean you get better nutrient content, fresher product and you've spared the environment the impact of thousands of miles of transportation.
We are proud to support our Valley and our state in many ways. Like shopping locally, buying Alaska Grown just makes sense.
What better way to celebrate our Valley's agricultural heritage than to support the farming industry?