Neighborhood "Farming" and Food Co-op.

Posted in: Capitol Hill-Juneau
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  • SarahLewis
  • Respected Neighbor
  • Juneau, Alaska
  • 1 Post
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Hello Capital Hill neighbors.

I'd like to start a discussion about food in our neighborhood. When it comes to growing our own food, some of us have actual soil, some have decks, and some have a little of both. Some of us probably harvest a bit of food from the forests and waters around Juneau. Some of us are likely members of food cooperatives and CSAs, or order meat directly from farms down South. To supply the rest we turn to Juneau's grocery stores.


Everything we don't or can't grow or harvest locally (probably 95-100% for most of us) is shipped to Juneau by water or air from all over the world. This has always been expensive and will only get more so... not to mention the cost to the planet of the greenhouse gas emissions from this shipping.


I've started calling my own house, with our deck and postage stamp bit of soil, my "Homestead" so I can actually think of it as a place that could support at least some of my family's food needs. But what I really need is more soil to make a good effort at growing food. And I'm not alone on this, in our neighborhood. So I'd like to discuss the following ideas:

1) Establishing a neighborhood garden at Capital School Park,

2) Assessing City owned neighborhood open spaces for growing, and

3) Assessing privately owned open spaces that the owners might make available to others for growing (with no pressure to do so).


I'd also like to connect with neighbors who are interested in (or are already participating in) a food cooperative for both purchased and harvested/home-made foods.


Let me know if you are interested in any of this! I'd love to work on it with neighbors.

Sarah Lewis

635 Main

Hi Sarah,

I am doing a project for a class at UAS and would like to talk to you about your work setting up co-ops in Juneau as well as your work on the Juneau Sustainability Commission.  The class is actually being taught by Professor Wolk, also on the Commission, but I'm especially interested in your neighborhood growers co-op idea.  The group project I am involved in is focused on looking at the innovation of creating grower co-ops in Alaska to help Alaskans gain access to healthy food.  


If you would like to help, my email is: 


Thank you ~Julie



I am looking for information on local foods in Juneau.  I spend a good deal of my time supporting our local food system here in Massachusetts and am having difficulty finding any info on agriculture (and backyard gardening which is a respected form of agriculture here in Mass.).  I'm wondering if anyone can tell me if the food cooperative has started in Juneau?  I have read a bit about it and am very interested as I am a founding member of our statewide local food cooperative, Mass Local Food.  I'm greatly interested in how cooperatives are run in other states -- and actually ANY agriculture in your area.


Sarah, I think it is great what you are doing.  I hope you have luck finding members to work with.  Here in Massachusetts, craigslist is a great place to put farming information and to find like-minded people.  Our universities are "land-grant" and work tirelessly to help agriculture maintain a foot-hold -- in my county it is the fastest growing segment of the economy -- but don't be too impressed.  The economy is not growing that quickly!


We work on our soils here, always improving.  On my organic farm, we use the animals to do that (though we were lucky enough to start with good soil), still, here at least, it can be accomplished with mulching, composting and manures.


Community gardens are sprinkled throughout (more in the bigger cities which aren't far away) and many cater to the disadvantaged.  You probably know that the homeless shelter in Juneau seems to be growing it's own food.


Can't wait to visit (visiting my son who is working for the forestry service for the summer) and I hope to see some little bit of ag here and there!! 


Any info anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated.  Thinking of taking the ferry to Sitka for a day (really just to see the waterways) and I did discover a food cooperative there that sounds interesting. 


Kerrie Hertel

Maple Heights Farm

Westminster, MA

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