Repeat Winner of ‘Golden Carrot’ Award
Erica Moeller sells roots and other non-root foods at her above-ground shop on Old Chena Pump Road.
Rooting the Competition
As in 2021, the shop in Fairbanks demonstrated exceptional marketing creativity as part of the 6th annual Alaska Grown $5 Challenge campaign, encouraging customers to spend $5 each week on Alaska Grown vegetables, dairy, meat, grains, and value-added products. The competition is held from June to November during the peak of the Alaska growing season, when a larger variety of products is available.
“The Roaming Root Cellar has made a real difference in its community and has created a business model that we hope to see replicated around the state,” says Mia Kirk, interim director of the Division of Agriculture. “It was a strong competition this year, but The Roaming Roots’ creative displays and online promotion really set them apart.”
The specialty food store was the first Alaska small business, and the first store located in the Northern region of the state, to win the award in 2021. Previous Golden Carrot winners are the Palmer Fred Meyer store (2020 and 2019), the Wasilla Walmart store (2018), and the Palmer Carrs-Safeway store (2017).
A small business in Fairbanks that grew from a bus to a storefront in a year has won the 2021 Golden Carrot award from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources in recognition of its Alaska Grown display creativity, support of Alaska Grown small businesses, and success during the fifth annual “Alaska Grown $5 Challenge” campaign.
Erica Moeller, owner of The Roaming Root Cellar, opened for business on February 29, 2020, operating from a 23-foot, 1976 Bluebird bus. The COVID-19 pandemic forced her to close the bus and produce and deliver products from her home for delivery customers until May 2020, when she reopened to in-person business. She was able to expand into a storefront business site, which doubled in size on the one-year anniversary of the store opening.
“Our mission is to connect the community with local goodness, borne from a need for improved food security in Alaska,” Moeller says. “There are a number of industrious and talented Alaskan farmers, entrepreneurs, and artists who can thrive with increased access to their customer base. By selling only Alaska Grown produce, we provide a year-round platform for our producers and consumers to connect, making everyone more food secure in the process.”
Everything the Roaming Root Cellar sells is made or grown in Alaska, and its website includes a “Meet Our Farmers and Artisans” feature offering more information about the Alaska Grown producers that supply its products.