Educating Alaska Agriculture Professionals on Sustainable High Latitude Horticulture Production Practices

2013 Annual Report for EW10-024

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2010: $50,002.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: Western
State: Alaska
Principal Investigator:
Jeff Smeenk
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Dr. Milan Shipka
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Educating Alaska Agriculture Professionals on Sustainable High Latitude Horticulture Production Practices


Initially this SARE project was designed to include a workshop for Alaska agricultural professionals focusing on season extension techniques and optimizing horticultural production in cold soils. The individual that was PI left UAF and the project PI and project scope were changed during March 2013. The new scope of the project includes educating Alaska agricultural professionals about the opportunities for local food production in Alaska and creating synergism between individuals and agencies that address local food production opportunities in the State of Alaska. A major output of this project will be two to three meetings oriented at helping Alaska agricultural professional work more closely together in reference to the local food movement and the production of You Tube videos that address pertinent issues related to Alaska agriculture

Objectives/Performance Targets

The subject matter of the new project scope will be broader than the field of horticulture and will now pertain to sustainable local foods program development and will involve Extension and Experiment Station professionals as well as other agricultural professionals in Alaska. At least two program development meetings including Extension and Experiment Station professionals will be funded by this grant. Information developed as a part of the sustainable local foods program development effort will be disseminated using the AFES and CES websites, webinars, and You Tube video.


Major accomplishments during 2013 included a local foods meeting that brought Alaska agricultural professionals from the Extension Service, the Agricultural Experiment Station, the Alaska Division of Agriculture, the Alaska Community Agriculture Association, and the Alaska Diversified Livestock Association together for a one-day meeting. Attendees of this meeting came from geographically divergent locations ranging from Juneau to Bethel and Fairbanks to the Kenai Peninsula, an area distance of 975 air miles east-west and 400 air miles north-south that encompasses at least eight USDA growing zone regions. Major contributors to the meeting success included several individuals familiar with and active in sustainable agriculture practices from Alaska and other parts of the USA. The project has also produced a You Tube video aimed at sustainable livestock grazing management and featuring Dr Ben Bartlett, DVM and certified educator in Holistic Management (

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Impacts are currently recognizable by the level of cooperation between the University and other State of Alaska agencies in developing information movement to stakeholders. This is evidenced by interest of stakeholders in requesting educational opportunities relating to sustainable agriculture practices. The integrated nature of the new project scope has been instructional in developing cross-disciplinary relationships within a single project. The synergism created by the team effort continues to the present and has encompassed a broader, multidisciplinary approach to sustainable high latitude agriculture. Stakeholder interest based on the You Tube has been instrumental in development of a Master of Science student project funded separately, a result that indicates funding leverage and extended effects of this SARE funding. In addition, stakeholder interest stimulated by the video has resulted in a producer workshop on grazing management.


September Martin
Horticulture Research Assistant
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Matanuska Experiment Farm
1509 S. Trunk Rd.
Palmer, AK 99645
Office Phone: 9077469460
Anne Christie
BioScience Librarian
University of Alaska Faribanks
Rasmuson Bioscience Library
186 Arctic Health Research Bldg.
Fairbanks, AK 99775
Office Phone: 9074741177