The time is here to welcome back our local farmers, crafters and food vendors for the 23rd season of the Homer Farmers Market. It seems like this year opening day is even more important than ever.
Mostly, we can thank the covid pandemic, but the fact is that everyone is more aware now of the importance of local food. We have seen how fragile long supply chains are and how insecure that can make us feel.
For a local food nerd like myself, what has been most exciting is to see the actual infrastructure shifts that have begun to happen. The Governor has created an Alaska Food Security and Independence Task Force designed to come up with recommendations about barriers to local food production and sale. This means looking at what difficulties producers face when starting a business, all the way up to the challenges for larger institutions face when trying to buy local produce.
Is Governor Dunleavy alone in his support of local food? Of course not. Everyone loves to eat, even politicians. Earlier this year the Alaska Farm and Food Caucus was created in the legislature and over half of the legislators have jumped on board. They met biweekly during the session to look into all kinds of aspects of food security including agricultural education, value-added products, nutrition programs and more.
Add to all this the introduction of House Bill 415, the Alaska Food Freedom Act. This act would allow producers to sell homemade food products with less regulation. This includes meat products which has always been highly regulated and difficult to sell legally to the public.
It certainly looks like there is big movement afoot to really give support to our local food producers. But all the talk doesn’t really match up to the joy of opening up that weekly subscription box from a local farmer or selecting those veggies on the Alaska Food Hub or wandering around the Homer Farmers Market.
So come welcome our farmers back to into action and see all the seasonal fresh greens, veggies and garden starts down at the opening day of the Market this Saturday from 10 a.m-3 p.m. and next Wednesday from 2-5 p.m.
Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.