• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 33s

Harvesting Alaska: The growing need for young farmers

By Lauren Maxwell 6:29 AM July 18, 2016

The manager of a Palmer Farm says Alaska needs to attract a younger generation to farming, a field that is rapidly aging, especially as the demand for local food continues to grow.

Megan Talley says the typical Alaskan farmer is someone in their late 50s.

“I think it’s 58, 59? That’s the average age,” said Talley. “There’s just not a lot of young people coming in.”

Talley manages Spring Creek Farm, a farm operated by Alaska Pacific University. One of their missions is to get young people interested in learning the basics of modern farming.

“We have to be business people, we have to know how to market, we’ve got to know the specifics of how to grow,” said Talley. “Which you could spend a lifetime learning how to do.”

In this case, students and interns spend a season at the farm. They learn to grow and harvest vegetables and get them ready to sell at market. But it’s more than that. Mackenzie Stamey is spending her second summer at the farm. First as an intern, now as a paid staff member. For her, food security is a major issue.

“We are highly dependent on bringing food from the Lower 48 and around the world. And I think we would be more resilient as a state if we had more farmers, especially young farmers,” Stamey said.

After a stint in the Peace Corps, she plans to come back to Alaska and make agriculture a career.

But while getting young people like Stamey excited about farming is definitely an important goal, Talley said it’s not the only one.

“Not everyone who comes through here is going to want to go away and be a farmer,” she said. “And that’s OK, because they’ll be better consumers. They’ll know more about food policy, they’ll understand the bigger system.”

And hopefully, according to Talley, have a deeper appreciation of what’s involved in filling Alaska’s growing appetite for eating local.

Spring Creek Farm is still offering CSA subscriptions. You can also find their produce at the APU farmers market every Thursday from noon to 6 p.m.

Lauren Maxwell can be reached at lmaxwell@ktva.com.

Harvesting Alaska is an ongoing series exploring all the ways Alaskans live off the land. 

Read more

Smoked salmon, versatile and better than candy

Garden to bowl, a soup kitchen nourishes the hungry

CSAs offer fresh, healthy produce and convenience

High tunnels protect environment, spur sustainability in the Last Frontier

Latest Stories

  • News

    Stubbs, Talkeetna’s honorary cat mayor, dies

    by Chris Klint on Jul 22, 22:25

    Stubbs, Talkeetna’s honorary cat mayor beloved by Alaskans and tourists alike, has died at the age of 20 according to the animal’s owners. Stubbs’ death was announced late Saturday in a statement from the Spone family, which purchased Nagley’s General Store and the West Rib Pub and Grill in 2015. Part of the contract, the […]

  • New White House communications director deletes old tweets contradicting Trump

    by CBS/AP on Jul 22, 19:55

    A day after accepting a top White House job, President Trump’s new communications director announced Saturday that he’s deleting old tweets that were critical of his new boss, saying his own views have evolved and that what he said in the past shouldn’t be a distraction. Full transparency: I'm deleting old tweets. Past views evolved […]

  • News

    Car-motorcycle crash hurts 2, closes Old Seward Highway south of Dowling Road

    by Chris Klint on Jul 22, 19:05

    The Old Seward Highway was closed Saturday night south of Dowling Road in both directions by a car-motorcycle collision that injured two people. Alaska road-conditions website 511.alaska.gov first mentioned the wreck at Old Seward near 69th Avenue shortly after 6 p.m. Anchorage police Sgt. Dawn Neer, at the scene, said a motorcycle had been headed […]

  • News

    Efforts continue to save Anchorage’s 4th Avenue Theatre

    by Dave Leval on Jul 22, 17:38

    There’s no denying Sandy Harper loves the 4th Avenue Theatre. “The theater has been here longer than I have,” said Harper, who has called Anchorage home for 30 years. The building has been part of the downtown Anchorage skyline for more than twice that, a span of 70 years. “I don’t think there’s anything like […]

  • Dozens hospitalized for excessive drinking at Chance The Rapper concert

    by CBS/AP on Jul 22, 17:28

    HARTFORD, Conn. — More than 90 people were hospitalized Friday during a concert featuring Chance the Rapper in Connecticut, officials said. A large number of people hospitalized were underage attendees experiencing “severe intoxication,” Hartford Deputy Chief Brian Foley said Saturday. Foley said officers made 50 underage drinking referrals Friday at Hot 93.7′s Hot Jam concert at Xfinity Theatre. […]

  • News

    Coast Guard: Kodiak missile test could occur as early as next week

    by Associated Press on Jul 22, 14:15

    KODIAK, Alaska (AP) – The U.S. Coast Guard says a launch from the Kodiak Island rocket launch complex in Alaska will occur as soon as next week. The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports a U.S. Coast Guard notice released Wednesday states the launch is scheduled to occur at the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska between 7 p.m. on […]

  • Son charged in death of father whose body was left on couch for weeks

    by CBS/AP on Jul 22, 14:12

    FRACKVILLE, Pa. — A man has been charged with killing his father, who authorities say was shot to death and his body then left on a couch in his home for weeks. Tyler Swantek, 24, faces charges in Schuylkill County including criminal homicide, first- and third-degree murder, aggravated assault and abuse of a corpse in the […]

  • News

    Search suspended for man overboard from skiff in Prince William Sound

    by Chris Klint on Jul 22, 13:21

    The U.S. Coast Guard spent much of Friday looking for a man who fell overboard from a skiff on the west side of Prince William Sound, but was unable to locate any sign of him. Coast Guard Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios said that the man went overboard at about 2 a.m. Friday from a commercial […]