“Suupet Neregkwarluki – We are Feeding Our People”
Our Kodiak Archipelago communities have a very unique history of farming. As the Russian fur-hunting economy moved eastward to Kodiak in the 18th century, so did the practice of farming to supplement available traditional subsistence foods. The intermingling of Alutiiq and Siberian food traditions became part of our Kodiak cultural landscape as farms were established during early Russian contact. But this subsistence farming way of life underwent a serious decline beginning in the 1960s and today Alutiiq subsistence farming is no longer being practiced, contributing to a loss of cultural farming and gardening knowledge.
The Alaska Food Policy Council estimates that Alaska currently imports over 95% of her food at a cost estimated at $2 billion dollars each year! For Kodiak and our off-road system villages, we are at the end of the commercial food distribution system. The cost of purchased food in our communities is currently approaching 200% of the National average. In 2008, Community Leadership requested Forum work sessions to learn more about re-establishing growing food as a community and Alutiiq life way in order to address the region’s high cost of imported food and provide for local employment. And that began the journey that we call Alutiiq Grown. Explore our progress in establishing soil, hydroponic, and aquatic plant farms in support of regenerative community economies.