Background

Alaskans import 95% of purchased food, and it is shipped through long supply chains from Mexico, Europe, Asia, and the Lower 48 US states. Interest in food gardening is high, but many barriers exist. Yarducopia connects people interested in gardening and empowers them to grow their own food organically with available land, thus addressing barriers to local food growing: land, labor, and essential skills. We help build a community of gardeners in Alaska united around healthier food with a reduced environmental footprint, and motivated to advocate for a toxic-free, sustainable world.

Goals

We propose to address the unsustainable nature of the current Alaska food system and the harmful chemicals and high use of fossil fuels that go into providing a conventional diet. Our ambitious goal is to build a grassroots movement of organic gardeners in Alaska who will work toward a toxic-free, climate stable world. By teaching people to grow organic food and helping address the barriers to doing so, we will directly reduce the use of toxic chemicals and fuel, and grow a cadre of informed and caring advocates. We do this by matching landowners willing to share with people willing to trade gardening labor. We will provide or help locate plant and organic materials for building the gardens, as well as training in gardening techniques for success in the challenging local climates. For the 2016 and 2017 gardening seasons, we plan to help people build and grow food in more than 40 gardens in Alaska, serving at least 80 families. To further spread the influence of these gardens and help the food-insecure in our area, participants donate 10% of their produce to a charity of their choice.

Main activities

We will teach at least six organic gardening workshops in Anchorage in 2016 and 2017. We will build and facilitate 40 shared gardens in Anchorage, including at least three school gardens. We will consult with and travel to the Native Village of Port Heiden to build and facilitate a community garden.

Results

In 22 months, we will have trained more than 80 people in the organic food growing skills needed in Alaska, using locally available organic wastes (manures, yard wastes, etc.) to build soil fertility. These people will all have higher environmental awareness of their food supply and increased capacity to produce and advocate for sustainable food. We will have physically made more than 40 new fertile gardens totaling at least 4,000 square feet. These gardens will provide healthy food and directly improve environmental conditions by displacing fossil fuels and toxic chemicals used for conventional food.