Alaska farms are diverse and spread widely across the state. Alaska is one-fifth the size of the contiguous United States (365 million acres) and is home to roughly 800 farm operations. Fifteen million acres of soil have been designated as suitable for farming, but only about one million acres are currently farmed. While not all acreages are yet being utilized for farming, there is a great potential for agriculture growth within the state, and residents are eager for knowledge. Currently, there are only seven cooperative extension service agents with full or partial agriculture/horticulture appointments to reach all of the communities across the state. In order to be effective, extension agents rely on partnership, collaboration, and cooperation with other agencies and agricultural groups to disperse information across the state.
Our goal is to provide an educational conference and workshops/webinars/newsletter to support agricultural professionals and farmers within the state as well as have our WSARE state coordinator attend the annual WSARE summer meetings. The primary deliverable for this project includes: 1) hosting the Annual Alaska Sustainable Agriculture Conference, 2) providing workshops focused on sustainable agriculture, 3) providing webinars/newsletter focused on sustainable agriculture, and 4) hosting and providing access online to conference/workshop presentations and recorded webinars.
Project objectives from proposal:
Desired objectives of the Alaska SARE PDP include: 1) Increase the knowledge of agricultural professionals about sustainable agriculture practices and achievable goals that they can adapt and implement in Alaska, 2) Increase the emphasis on sustainable agriculture practices that agricultural professionals incorporate into educational programs and publications, 3) Facilitate the transmission of knowledge of sustainable agriculture principles from agricultural professionals to agricultural producers, and 4) Promote the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices by agricultural producers and assist them in developing the skills necessary to make these practices successful. These objectives will be achieved through the offering of the Annual Alaska Sustainable Agriculture Conference and Workshops to be provided each year during the month of November. Newsletters and webinars will be offered throughout the span of the award period. For further description, please see the detailed timeline.