Alaska Pacific University Fights Hunger with $50,000 Grant from Mat-Su Health Foundation
The Mat-Su Health Foundation has awarded Alaska Pacific University’s (APU) Kellogg Spring Creek Farm a Coronavirus Prevention and Response grant. This $50,000 project is entitled “Funding Our Farmers, Feeding Our Families–Expanding Alaska Tilth.” These funds will allow the Alaska Tilth program to purchase Mat-Su farmers’ produce at fair market prices and in turn offer that produce to communities of need via the UAF Cooperative Extension’s SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education services.
“The Alaska Tilth program puts fresh local produce into the hands of those in need in our very own community,” said SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator Adair Harman. “It also gives them practical tools they need to make the most of what they receive, such as nutrition information, low-cost recipes for simple healthy meals, and cooking demonstrations.”
Alaska Tilth is a collaborative partnership between the Matanuska Experiment Farm, UAF Cooperative Extension, and APU’s Spring Creek Farm with the mission to build food security in Alaska by growing more local food, supporting farmers, and feeding those in need. In the last five years, Alaska Tilth has distributed over 8,000 pounds of food that has reached well over 1,000 individuals at Mat-Su Valley locations such as senior centers, SNAP nutrition workshops, the Mat-Su Women’s Shelter, the Mat-Su Food Bank, and Kids Kupboard.
“This Mat-Su Health Foundation grant supports both farmers and community members in the Mat-Su by connecting those who are growing local food to those who need it most,” explained Ben Swimm, Spring Creek Farm manager. “APU Spring Creek Farm works diligently to help our communities grow stronger and healthier and this grant will help us go a long way towards that goal.”
The Alaska Tilth expansion project will take place July through November 2020, culminating in a publicly available report with key findings and recommendations for future programs that connect farmers and communities in need of fresh produce.