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Survey Seeks to Quantify Amount of Locally Grown Food

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 1, 2010

Fairbanks, Alaska—Alaska’s agriculture experts want to know how much food is grown and how much is imported into the state.

In order to get the facts, UAF’s School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences is conducting a survey of Fairbanks-area vegetable and fruit producers. Eventually, the survey will expand throughout the state but it is starting Oct. 1 in Fairbanks.

“We know that everyone bandies about the 5 percent figure, that 5 percent of Alaska’s food is produced in-state, but that’s really a guess,” said Carol Lewis, SNRAS dean and Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station director. “Alaskans have been saying they import 95 percent of their food for so long it’s become an urban legend.”

To start solidifying the numbers, SNRAS will mail a survey to 60 local producers next week. They’ll have a month to return their paperwork or have the option to go to www.surveymonkey.com/s/agproducersurvey.

Natural Resources student Charles Caster and associate professor Joshua Greenberg are leading the project. Caster visited the Tanana Valley Farmers’ Market many times over the summer and even volunteered to help at local farms in exchange for information.

“I’ve pulled carrots and hung garlic,” he said. He is hoping for a high percentage of return for the surveys and is even offering an extra incentive. Three survey participants will win packages of Alaska-grown beef from the Matanuska Experiment Farm.

Agricultural Development in the American Pacific funded the project.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Charles Caster at 907-455-3890 or cdcaster@alaska.edu. Marmian Grimes, UAF public information officer, at 907-474-7902 or via e-mail at marmian.grimes@alaska.edu.

ON THE WEB: www.surveymonkey.com/s/agproducersurvey

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