• 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
PALMER –

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

    Alcohol suspected in serious Seward Highway crash

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 28, 16:06

    The Seward Highway was completely closed in both directions for about five hours overnight following a crash at mile 76 near Portage Glacier Road. The crash occurred sometime just before 11 p.m. and the road finally reopened to traffic around 4 a.m. Anchorage Police say a northbound BMW crossed over into the oncoming traffic late […]

  • News

    1 dead in head-on Glenn Highway collision

    by KTVA Web Staff on May 28, 15:59

    The Anchorage Police Department’s Traffic Unit is trying to determine what caused an SUV to lose control and cause a fatal crash Saturday. About 15 minutes after midnight Saturday morning, APD says a Chevy Suburban inbound on the Glenn Highway lost control, crossed the center median and struck a Ford Focus head-on. The driver of […]

  • News

    Pedestrian struck, killed on Gambell

    by KTVA Web Staff on May 28, 15:54

    Anchorage Police are investigating a fatal crash involving a pedestrian. Just before 3 a.m. Saturday, a late model Chevy Malibu traveling southbound on Gambell Street struck a pedestrian. Police say the pedestrian, who has not yet been identified, was in the roadway outside of a crosswalk when he was hit. The man was taken to […]

  • Politics

    On first day back, Trump lashes out at ‘fake news media’

    by CBS News on May 28, 14:44

    WASHINGTON — Hours after returning from his first trip abroad as president, President Trump tweeted Sunday morning about “fake news media” and White House leaks. “It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media,” Mr. Trump said in a series […]

  • News

    US official mulling greatly expanding airplane laptop ban

    by Associated Press on May 28, 11:30

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly says he’s considering banning laptops from the passenger cabins of all international flights to and from the United States. That would dramatically expand a ban announced in March that affects about 50 flights per day from 10 cities, mostly in the Middle East. The current ban was […]

  • News

    Feds: Man jumps from plane after trying to bite attendant

    by Associated Press on May 28, 11:27

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A 22-year-old man jumped out of an airplane waiting to take off in North Carolina and had to be stopped from running onto the runway. A federal air marshal said in a sworn statement that 22-year-old Tun Sein was flying from Charlotte to New Bern on Thursday when he stood after […]

  • Lifestyle

    ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ tops box office, ‘Baywatch’ sinks

    by Associated Press on May 28, 10:54

    LOS ANGELES (AP) – It was smooth sailing to the top spot at the box office for “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” but the waters were choppier for the Dwayne Johnson comedy “Baywatch.” Studio estimates on Sunday say the fifth installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise commandeered $62.2 million […]

  • News

    Jet owned by Elvis sold for $430,000 at auction

    by Associated Press on May 27, 19:09

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – A private jet once owned by Elvis Presley has been auctioned after sitting on a runway in New Mexico for 35 years. GWS Auctions Inc. says the plane sold for $430,000 on Saturday at a California event featuring celebrity memorabilia. The auction house says Elvis designed the interior that has gold-tone […]