Why I care about food miles

One of my goals is to move towards foods that I grow or make myself, or at least obtained locally. Alaska is very removed from the rest of the world, and the growing conditions here are demanding, but not insurmountable.

Do I care about the gas used to truck or ship foods here? Yeah, when I think about it. Do I want to support local food producers? You bet! My bottom line for wanting to eat local and self-raised food? It just tastes better!

Do I want oranges that have been on a truck for weeks, or do I want to stuff myself silly with blueberries I picked this afternoon? Do I want some anemic carrots in an orange bag? No! I want some of the pepperiest, freshest carrots that our climate can turn out, complete with the carrot tops, that are tastier than spinach in many soups. I want sweet creamy potatoes, eggs that aren’t a month old, and fresh salmon that is really and truly fresh!

Over the next few years I am going to be working towards this goal. I’m going to be caring for a garden with my mother-in-law this summer. I’m going to test out a cold frame for lettuce behind our property this fall. I’m going to snap up local tomatoes and can like mad. I’m going to get a regular egg supplier until we can get our own poultry, and I’m thinking about a cow share. I have already transitioned over to the local dairy for all my milk, and I’m going back to yogurt and butter making. I want to try cheese this year, and we’re making provisions to keep our own rabbits. I’d like to see if my in-laws would let us keep bees on the back of their property.

My husband and I are talking about going in on a fish wheel or starting to dip net in Chitina. 30 fish a year per household from this method might not sound like a lot, but you have to realize most of these fish are going to be 10 lb fish, and you might get the occasional king salmon which is usually 10 to 50 lbs, and can be upwards of 100. So even after cleaning, you’re coming home with at least 200-300lbs of fish. Add in casual fishing more locally and at least one clamming trip a year and possibly a halibut charter, that’s looking to be a lot of fish!

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