The Importance of Local Foods to Users of Food Pantries in Accessible Rural Alaska
AbstractDiscussions of food security in Alaska normally focus on locally grown foods, Alaska Native subsistence, or poverty, but the intersection between these aspects of food security within Alaskan society have only been examined in the context of urban communities or remote, rural communities. In this paper, we draw attention to a neglected group of communities, rural, mostly non-Native communities accessible by ground transportation. We weave the three discourses of food security together by examining how low-income people within a specific context incorporate home-grown produce and wild proteins into their diets, thereby expanding the meaning of “local” food. We conducted interviews with users of food pantries and find that some are able to garden and/or hunt and fish—and that this ability may enhance their food security. We discuss ways in which their pantry peers who are less engaged with local foods may be supported to increase their involvement.
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