Kenai Food Hub - Up and Running
If you’re an Alaskan, you know the sadness of a store-bought tomato. You’ve felt the heartache of a cucumber pierced by your thumb, and you know the stink of green slime from your expensive mixed greens in February, just a day home from the grocery store. Over 95% of our food travels thousands upon thousands of miles to reach our stores by train, boat, and truck. We’re dependent on a vast supply chain, and we’ve gotten used to someone far away growing our food.
Across Alaska that story is changing. In the past ten years, the number of traditional farmers markets has grown from 13 to over 40. We have hundreds of high tunnels dotting the state, and people are turning back to farming to feed their families and their communities.
At the Kenai Peninsula Food Hub, the regional nonprofit Cook Inletkeeper has partnered with farmers, fishermen, soil and water conservation districts, Seldovia Village Tribe, Alaska Marine Conservation Council, and customers in Homer, Soldotna/Kenai, and Seldovia to grow a regional online farmers market. It is bringing food to the people using 21st century technology that saves money and time—and makes it easy for our farmers and anyone wanting to buy Alaska Grown at home from their computer.
Alaska Grown from the Kenai Peninsula Food Hub means kale grown under the midnight sun. It means chickens, geese, and eggs from Homer, and cucumbers, honey, and mushrooms from Soldotna. Shopping at the online farmers market means you can buy Emily’s beautiful turnips, Tracy’s sweet and juicy tomatoes, Chet’s giant squash, Rachel’s colorful flowers, Margo and Frank’s oysters, carrots and potatoes from Dan and Luba, and beautiful red salmon from Chuck. All from your living room or office, all easily picked up in one place, all from Alaskans.
Although the online market started out on the Kenai Peninsula, it’s easy to expand the software to include other communities under one umbrella—this is part of the face of Alaska’s statewide food revolution. The Food Hub is dedicated to an expanded market for farmers throughout the state; a market that fills your kitchen with the beauty and soul of Alaskan sun, water, soil, and hardworking Alaskans.
Learn more about the Kenai Peninsula Food Hub and the farmers and producers making it happen at www.kenaifoodhub.org. Do you live in Southcentral Alaska and want to be part of the online market? Do you want to start an online market in your community? Email Robbi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online Market 101
• Each week producers list products for sale on the online marketplace.
• Customers then sign on, choose their products and place an order.
• Producers get an email letting them know what they need to harvest and prepare, the next day products are dropped off at a central location, and that afternoon customers pick up their orders.
• The cycle begins again each week. In 2017 the Food Hub will run from April to November.
• In 2016 the Food Hub boasted 23 farmers, 6 craft vendors, and 4 seafood vendors selling in Homer and Soldotna, with an additional drop-off location in the village of Seldovia.