U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Alaska
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 02-26-2018, 02:52 PM
 
Location: on the wind
4,329 posts, read 1,623,115 times
Reputation: 15329

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by GnomadAK View Post
Read up on the Matanuska colony farm to see what a person is up against in the Mat valley. Or more recently, Point Mackenzie.
I know some folks in Butte who are attempting to get organic farming going, these are long time Alaska folks well versed in the local economy, markets and environmental conditions. They are both still working full time jobs as the farming isn't coming close to making a living. Wolverine Farms would be the only operation I can think of to actually make a living at it and they have the advantage of working a homestead so they didn't have to buy land...it's been in the family for a couple generations now.

It's hard to get truly organic going. Composting takes forever to get to compost, growing seasons are intense but short, winters are long, and Met may know just a bit more about this than out of state residents or big city dwellers. Affordable land in the Mat-Su is probably swamp or north of Palmer which is not suitable for farming, it wil;;l barely support swamp spruce.

If you can make a farm work in AK, you can do it anywhere, but there are areas more accessible than AK to do that.
Another expense in terms of time, effort, and $$ to consider is what those few very long-standing producing farms had to put into the soil to make it yield. Sheer time alone. Land that might be arable because its flat, good drainage, water and all the rest of it probably also has extremely young and undeveloped soil. The place was under ice or scoured by glacial runoff not that long ago. A lot of it is sand, cobble and gravel outwash plain. Soils simply stay cold much of the year too.

Another area that had a history of agricultural homesteading was Gustavus; NE of Juneau. It was flat, relatively good weather for SE, no permafrost issues, and land was available. The Tlingit referred to the area as (clumsy English translation) Strawberry Point because of the wild strawberries they'd gather there each summer. Homesteaders tried a lot of the root vegetables and livestock forage. Everything had to be barged in and out and still does; farm implements, fuels to run equipment, building materials, whatever they couldn't produce. None of those places exist now. The land is rising due to isostatic rebound so the boggy stuff is drying out, but most folks who do garden will tell you its a huge struggle and then the weather wipes them out. There is a relatively new organic farm there now, but its tiny, mostly greenhouses, and I don't think its self-supporting. Those who try gardening are hauling hundreds of pounds of kelp from offshore beds to build up the native super hard acidic soils.

Back in the '80s NANA started an arctic farm project called SPUD north of Selawik. Now those folks could tell tales about farming in the far north! I remember getting some of their root veggies and listening to their annual anxiety whether or not they'd even get a growing season that year. No idea if it still exists.

Somehow, this little note keeps coming up in my mind: if AK was such a promising place to start up a farm there would be more of them around, both indigenous and settled.

Last edited by Parnassia; 02-26-2018 at 03:08 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 02-26-2018, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
6,941 posts, read 11,734,337 times
Reputation: 5618
Meyers Farm in Bethel best check it out.

Meyers Farm - Fresh Veggies
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-26-2018, 04:41 PM
 
20,484 posts, read 26,627,867 times
Reputation: 13205
Meyers Farms discovered that farming wasn't enough so they started a farmers market where they sell produce barged in from other parts of the world. The also sell organic coconut milk and maple syrup and other stuff. They've got a great business model (which I think would be the way to go for anyone for anyone interested in an ag-based business), but they're not making a living just by farming.

Last edited by Metlakatla; 02-26-2018 at 05:40 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-26-2018, 06:01 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
280 posts, read 123,585 times
Reputation: 571
I don't know. Maybe try raising cattle on Chirikof Island?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-28-2018, 07:55 PM
 
234 posts, read 148,175 times
Reputation: 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonHB View Post
Another expense in terms of time, effort, and $$ to consider is what those few very long-standing producing farms had to put into the soil to make it yield. Sheer time alone. Land that might be arable because its flat, good drainage, water and all the rest of it probably also has extremely young and undeveloped soil. The place was under ice or scoured by glacial runoff not that long ago. A lot of it is sand, cobble and gravel outwash plain. Soils simply stay cold much of the year too.

Another area that had a history of agricultural homesteading was Gustavus; NE of Juneau. It was flat, relatively good weather for SE, no permafrost issues, and land was available. The Tlingit referred to the area as (clumsy English translation) Strawberry Point because of the wild strawberries they'd gather there each summer. Homesteaders tried a lot of the root vegetables and livestock forage. Everything had to be barged in and out and still does; farm implements, fuels to run equipment, building materials, whatever they couldn't produce. None of those places exist now. The land is rising due to isostatic rebound so the boggy stuff is drying out, but most folks who do garden will tell you its a huge struggle and then the weather wipes them out. There is a relatively new organic farm there now, but its tiny, mostly greenhouses, and I don't think its self-supporting. Those who try gardening are hauling hundreds of pounds of kelp from offshore beds to build up the native super hard acidic soils.

Back in the '80s NANA started an arctic farm project called SPUD north of Selawik. Now those folks could tell tales about farming in the far north! I remember getting some of their root veggies and listening to their annual anxiety whether or not they'd even get a growing season that year. No idea if it still exists.

Somehow, this little note keeps coming up in my mind: if AK was such a promising place to start up a farm there would be more of them around, both indigenous and settled.
Hi Allison and thank you for your comment... Whether I am able to grow produce or not isn't really what I was asking, I am aware of the growing conditions for the most part. What I was really wanting to know isn't how successful the growers at growing, rather if there is enough produce being grown up there to supply the demand or are people having a hard time finding quality organic produce at good prices... It seems that if there are few growers, then the supply must also be small or perhaps the few growers up there are meeting the demand? Or maybe prices are higher than what people are willing to pay? That is what I would really like to know...

Anyone care to chime in on that??

TC
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-28-2018, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
6,941 posts, read 11,734,337 times
Reputation: 5618
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Town Crier View Post
Hi Allison and thank you for your comment... Whether I am able to grow produce or not isn't really what I was asking, I am aware of the growing conditions for the most part. What I was really wanting to know isn't how successful the growers at growing, rather if there is enough produce being grown up there to supply the demand or are people having a hard time finding quality organic produce at good prices... It seems that if there are few growers, then the supply must also be small or perhaps the few growers up there are meeting the demand? Or maybe prices are higher than what people are willing to pay? That is what I would really like to know...

Anyone care to chime in on that??

TC

Just come up here this summer and check it out yourself. Then you'll have the answer to your questions.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-04-2018, 05:13 PM
 
1,782 posts, read 1,179,960 times
Reputation: 1368
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Town Crier View Post
Hi Allison and thank you for your comment... Whether I am able to grow produce or not isn't really what I was asking, I am aware of the growing conditions for the most part. What I was really wanting to know isn't how successful the growers at growing, rather if there is enough produce being grown up there to supply the demand or are people having a hard time finding quality organic produce at good prices... It seems that if there are few growers, then the supply must also be small or perhaps the few growers up there are meeting the demand? Or maybe prices are higher than what people are willing to pay? That is what I would really like to know...

Anyone care to chime in on that??

TC
Prices are high because of the cost to grow.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-19-2018, 06:12 PM
 
8 posts, read 3,265 times
Reputation: 23
Haines does not need another large produce farm. I live here. I was hoping to start a for profit farm when I moved here but that is already taken care of for this town. Not enough need for more produce.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-19-2018, 06:14 PM
 
8 posts, read 3,265 times
Reputation: 23
Land in Haines is not what Id consider inexpensive.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-20-2018, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Alexander Archipelago
2,860 posts, read 1,525,118 times
Reputation: 2824
Quote:
Originally Posted by UmNo View Post
Haines does not need another large produce farm. I live here. I was hoping to start a for profit farm when I moved here but that is already taken care of for this town. Not enough need for more produce.
What's the name of the farm, and where do they sell? Last summer, I saw no evidence of this. Mountain Market wasn't carrying local produce, nor was the more conventional grocery store.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Alaska
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top