Sustainable Agriculture for Alaska and the Circumpolar North: Part I. Development and Status of Northern Agriculture and Food Security
Keywords:Alaska, circumpolar, subarctic, sustainable agriculture, farming, resilience, food security, history, policy
Alaska is food insecure, importing the vast majority of its agricultural products and commodities and maintaining a minimal year-round food supply. Much of the circumpolar North, with some notable exceptions, is also food insecure and similarly reliant on foods imported from outside regions. The stark differences in food policies, food security, and overall production that exist between individual countries and regions of the circumpolar North are likely due to variability in their physical and social environments, their varying agrarian histories (e.g., Old World vs. New World), and their different first-hand experiences with food insecurity, often during wartime. Alaska’s agricultural history is unique, having progressed through periods of exploration and expansion and having experienced both success and failure. Agriculture exists today in Alaska as an underdeveloped natural resource – based industry that has been shaped by historical events and developmental processes and continually influenced by a host of environmental and socioeconomic factors. Continued interaction between stakeholders, agencies, and others will help the industry to progress to the point of meeting increasing food demands and improving food security.