We are two born and raised locals raising funds to lease a space that would function as a dual purpose growing space and storefront.
The communities of Southeast Alaska are at risk. Our consistent food supply is fed by the multitudes of the containers shipped up from Seattle and further. This poses a massive risk for the food security of our entire geographically isolated region.
Almost all of our food that is shipped has been processed heavily or harvested prematurely and packaged in containers designed to cause rapid ripening. This leads to a product that spoils quicker and increases health risks to consumers.
'A bad apple can spoil the bunch'
Plants harvested at the peak of freshness retain higher sugar contents and can hold their shelf life much longer. Also, when produce that is stored in an enclosed space (such as a shipping container) begins to mold, it will rapidly begin to spread.
The best remedy to our situation is to begin to produce as much food as we can regionally and cut out as much need for shipping as possible. However unpredictable weather and short seasons restrict the productivity traditional farming methods can yield.
Taking crops indoors such has high tunnels, cold frames and greenhouses has always been a trusted way to lengthen the growing season and get a few more harvests. Then winter hits and productivity dies.
If our greenhouses and indoor spaces were used as year-round nurseries and small farms instead of a refuge from winter's onslaught, harvests would continue year round. People would have access to fresh locally grown produce and the entire region could take a big step towards food security.
Panhandle Produce has been growing leafy greens and herbs indoors hydroponically and bringing them to markets around Juneau, proving a demand for fresh, locally grown food. Being able to meet this demand requires space.
This new indoor growing space will increase our capacity to produce hydroponic leafy greens and herbs, allowing us to sell at grocery stores around Juneau. Once operational the community can expect a consistent year-round harvest of fresh locally grown produce delivered same day to market.
Our storefront will allow public access to the products of local farmers and artisans and serve to educate and empower Alaskans to grow our own food.
Farmers in our area don't have many opportunities to sell their produce. A monthly farmers market with a few extra opportunities towards the end of the season offer the community little chance to experience locally farmed products.
Once open, Panhandle Produce will offer a space for local farmers and small businesses to showcase their product and encourage consumers to purchase local brands and products.
Panhandle Produce plans on actively encouraging established and potential farmers by bringing together the growing resources our community has to offer, working on developing small farm projects and educating and empowering the youth to grow their own food.
Partnering with local businesses, growers, and educators to create a space that supports anyone from the novice farmer to the master gardener, all while feeding our community. That's Panhandle Produce's mission.
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk to any farm or producer is a loss of crops.
Leafy greens are a crop that can be harvested frequently and, by growing them on rotations we minimize our chance of losing too much off of a crop failure.
Maintaining a well ventilated, sectioned off growing space, sanitizing work spaces and handling our product with gloves will decrease the chance of harmful pests or disease and encourage a healthier overall product.
Farming is not easy.
The biggest setback a farmer can face is the one they did not plan for. This means a farmer's most important asset is their adaptability to adverse situations. Our experience growing and selling crops, organizing markets and working for a commercial nursery has prepared us as much as possible for the challenges of starting a project like this.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)