Commonwealth North hosts a program on food security in Alaska and what it means in terms of public policy. According to a report commissioned by DHSS, 95% of the $2 billion of food Alaskans purchase is imported. Moreover, our food is shipped through long supply chains. Essential items arrive by airplane, barge, and truck from Mexico, Europe, Asia, and the Lower 48. Alaska’s vulnerable supply chain is sensitive to fuel prices and can be disrupted by natural disasters or severe weather. Food prices for Alaskans are affected by high transportation costs, especially in rural communities, and commercial farming in Alaska faces a number of unique challenges in order to be successful.
This program will examine what Alaska can do to enhance local food production and make it an economically sustainable industry and viable option for Alaskan consumers. Locally grown food production could also be an economic engine by creating new jobs and keeping more Alaskan dollars in the state.