Taking Steps to Ensuring Sitka’s Food Resilience
An adequate affordable food supply is essential for any community to be resilient. The stakes go up when a huge proportion of a coastal island community’s food is shipped in by water and air, driving up costs and making the supply vulnerable to external circumstances (e.g. a break in barge service, rising shipping oil costs). And when the local climate and growing season pose significant challenges to farming / gardening that might allow for a level of self-sufficiency. Sitka has strong traditions of subsistence hunting, fishing, and gathering, but not all households have easy access to the woods and waters or know the area’s edible plants. Steps have been taken to encourage more local food gardens, though not everyone has adequate space to grow enough food for their family.
To help the community better understand the realities behind all these factors, the Institute has partnered with the Sitka Community Food Assesssment Working Group to put together a comprehensive food assessment as a step toward developing a strategic plan for Sitka’s food resilience. Towards this end, a Community Food Survey was completed, and a Food Summit was held in November to share our findings with the community while receiving feedback.