For over 5 years, SAWC has hosted a local food program in collaboration with the Sustainable Southeast
Partnership. This included building and operating the Salt and Soil Marketplace, hosting the “Local Food Challenge”, lending support to local growers and harvesters, and facilitating networking and capacity development projects for local foods production, circular economies, and traditional food systems.
Some people have asked, “Why the connection between watershed health and local food?”
The obvious answer is salmon. We want them to return healthy and strong, so we can eat them! A more complex, but equally powerful reason is our connection to land and community. Like restoring your local stream, eating from the land you steward helps grow the roots needed to care for our environment and neighbors. There are many other connections, but for me, the timeliest is climate preparedness. Like it or not, believe it or not, climate change is happening. It will have profound and potentially devastating impacts on our ecosystem and economy. The best thing we can all do fight climate change is to stop burning fossil fuels.
The best way Southeast Alaskans can prepare for climate change is to:1.) ensure our environment is clean and healthy so that it is more resilient to change, and2.) eat, buy, and support local foods so that we are more self-reliant.
In a region where most food is shipped in by barge, the need for the food program is huge and the program’s potential is equally large and expansive. But, it’s a lot to ask a small staff of 7 people to cover both Watershed Health and Local Food Sustainability for such a huge and expansive region like
Southeast Alaska. Enter Ecotrust…
Ecotrust is a midsized non-profit based in Portland Oregon, and local food sustainability is key to their mission. They have expertise in entrepreneurial solutions that bolster food sustainability, and if you’re not familiar with their “Redd on Salmon Street,” check it out here: Link to Redd.
SAWC has partnered with Ecotrust to help bring the food program to a new level. Much of the program will stay the same. Salt and Soil will be selling local produce within the month, Moby the mobile greenhouse is being prepped for the growing season, and the SSP regional food catalyst will continue to
support stewardship initiatives and educational outreach in communities.
We hope with Ecotrust’s leadership and support the program grows and helps our region be more sustainable and resilient through growing, harvesting, cultivating and celebrating local foods in a way that is equitable and values the knowledge systems and relationships with local foods held by the indigenous peoples of this region. SAWC will also maintain involvement in the program through a seat on their regional advisory council, and our mutual connection to the Sustainable Southeast Partnership will yield joint projects and priorities.
We want thank Jennifer Nu and Meghan Stangeland for their hard work and dedication while staff at SAWC, and we wish you the best as staff with Ecotrust!
Their new emails will be firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.