Seafood as Local Food: Food Security and Locally Caught Seafood on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

  • Philip A. Loring University of Alaska, Fairbanks
  • S. Craig Gerlach University of Alaska, Fairbanks
  • Hannah L. Harrison University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Keywords: Fisheries, Food Security, Foodways, Local Food, Salmon, Seafood, Social Justice, Sustainability

Abstract

In this paper we explore the relationship between food security and access to locally caught seafood for communities of the Kenai Peninsula region of Alaska. Seafood and fisheries are infrequently discussed in the literature on local and small-scale food movements; instead, they are more commonly construed as overexploited components of a global food system and a source of conflict with respect to global food security and fisheries conservation. By way of contrast, we argue here that many fisheries have the potential to be sources of healthy and sustainable "local" food, in support of the many values and goals embraced by local food movement, including conservation. With data collected via a by-mail survey, we show that many people in our Alaskan study region enjoy improved food security because they have access to locally caught seafood, especially those households at the lowest income levels. We also show, however, that access to these resources is still uneven for some, and we discuss strategies for improving the social-justice aspects of this component of the regional food system. Our findings are important not just to the fisheries and food security research communities, but also for contributing to a better understanding of the conditions within which local and regional food movements can achieve the ambitious social and ecological goals they seek.

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Author Biographies

Philip A. Loring, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Adjunct Research Faculty, Water and Environmental Research Center, Saskatchewan School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
S. Craig Gerlach, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Professor Emeritus, Center for Cross-Cultural Studies, University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
Hannah L. Harrison, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
M.S., Center for Cross-Cultural Studies, University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
Published
2013-05-31
How to Cite
Loring, P. A., Gerlach, S. C., & Harrison, H. L. (2013). Seafood as Local Food: Food Security and Locally Caught Seafood on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 3(3), 13–30. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2013.033.006
Section
Open Call Papers