Alaska Community Emergency Food Cache System (ACEFCS)

Updated; December 9, 2013

Purpose: To increase the ability Alaskan communities to feed themselves in the case that typical food supply routes and schedules are disrupted for a period of time ranging from days to weeks.

Synopsis: The ACEFCS accomplishes our purpose by teaming with current private and public food consumption and commercial distribution outlets by training and contracting with them to keep a cache of food which is reserved for emergency use only and is otherwise rotated as part of their regular stock management.
The ACEFCS will provide a true, real time inventory of available foods which in the event of a qualified emergency, will be distributed by trained and practiced employees and prepared (as necessary) by traditional emergency responders (ie. Red Cross).

Please note these important caveats:

1. The ACEFCS will be integrated into a comprehensive Emergency Food Security system which should include:
a. Statewide resources capable of rapid deployment (ie regional caches of MRE’s for airlift)
b. Emergency Harvest Protocols for wild foods (fish, meat, plants) and cultivated foods (gardens, farms) which would be highly sought after and easily depleted if not actively managed in an emergency.
c. Emphasis on strengthening everyday local (Alaskan) food economies by providing priority and preference for Alaskan produced foods which are identified as contributing to the Food Security of our communities by being a successful produced and consumed locally on a continuous basis (ie farming systems with crops and livestock, fishermen providing local fish, etc) . 
2. The security of food stocks during an emergency is carried out by traditional security personnel (VPSO’s, police, troopers) who have been fully integrated in their local Emergency Food Response system through joint exercises, etc. but will need to be augmented by other authorized and trained persons with the expectation that current security persons will be otherwise occupied during large scale emergencies.
3. The ACEFCS will pre-qualify the LFV’s so they can receive compensation in an expedient manner for food which is used in qualified emergency situations*.
*this is a triggered by the municipal Incident Commander(?) (or surrogate).

The ACEFCS framework:
Local Food Vendors (LFVs), including institutional food services, distributors, non-profits, agencies, schools and (potentially) stores and restaurants, etc. are welcome and encouraged to apply to participate in the ACEFCS. These are food outlets which are already going through food stock in a community on a regular basis. The LFV’s store Emergency Food Caches (EFC) which will be kept at all times in their secure storage facilities (warehouse, store room, etc.). An EFC is an agreed upon quantity (calculated to # of meals), quality (specific items which constitute healthy and balanced nutritional value), and types (ie specific preparation requirement parameters, consider the difference between canned beans vs. dry beans) of foods. The EFC are to consist of foods that already being part of the LFVs standard stock and so will be rotated on a regular basis as part of their daily operations (well before expiration dates) and in accordance with methods developed by the ACEFCS administrators. Exact Cache locations will be authorized by ACEFCS.

With provided training, guidance and support, LFV’s will maintain a Employee Readiness Protocol (ERP) by which their employees (Emergency Food Responders-EFR) will respond to an emergency need with the appropriate performance.

ERP will include; 
1. When activated/directed*, employees report to (or stay with) the cache (business) and implement rehearsed Food Security and Distribution Protocols (FSDP) to, a) secure the food reserve and, b) distribute it in a pre-planned manner (or as directed by Emergency Response Command Center/System) and,
2. There will be established Employee Self and Family Plans (ESFP) which will enable employees to successfully and reliably carry out the FSDP without concern for their own family’s safety. As a primary part of the EFSP, the employer provides (or subsidizes?) and verifies home-based (and/or(?) business-based) personal emergency supplies which will meet self and family needs for a designated time period. (This is akin to Juneau electrical company, AEL&P, system).

Benefits to Participants
LFVs benefit by; 1) increased employee satisfaction due to their own improved food security (the “I’m cared for” effect), 2) being buffered from some “normal” out of stock situations (as long as they keep the contracted minimum stock levels) and will definitely benefit from fewer shortages caused by supply disruptions, 4) public recognition and promotion for being a Good Samaritan Business, 5) better likelihood of care for property in case of a food emergency (looting, vandalism), 6) managers and employees receive EFR training, 7) contract with state to compensate for costs due to required increased conditioned storage space.

Local Communities and the State of Alaska benefit by; 1) no ongoing food costs (initial investment, loss, spoilage, expiration, etc), 2) more prepared citizens and families trained to be “part of the solution” in an emergency, 3) increased community/individual awareness of the need for emergency preparedness, 4) strengthened local economies because of Alaska grown/produced preference which can include the Alaskan producers as LFV or stores/distributors who carry their products as the LFV, or both.

Expected Costs to Participants:
LFV; 1) Employee time for training, 2) ERP development and ongoing maintenance

ACSFCS Administrator (State of AK?); 1) EFR training, 2) contracted compensation for LFVs required increased conditioned storage space (can be standardized by area?, #meals?), 3) Initial stock increase

LFVs provide the following, but are already factored as part of above costs or are compensated for in plan ; 1) conditioned space (specific location, conditions, etc.), 2) food (specific Quantity, Quality and Type), 3) trained EFRs.

Just a few immediate outstanding questions:
Who pays for the initial increased stock levels? (therefore, Who “owns” the food?) Is there a cost sharing or incentivized way for businesses to help pay or is it all public funds? Private or public grants?

Are certain businesses too risky to have this responsibility? (ie financially unstable, unable to maintain competent employees and adequate facilities) 
*there will be an inspection protocol to verify contact is be upheld.

What happens if a LFV goes out of business?

Will ongoing compensation for LFV’s for conditioned storage space provided?

How to deal with changing food prices?


For more information, to help with this project or for help implementing an ACEFCS in your community, please contact AFPC Emergency Preparedness Working Group Co-Chairs: Darren Snyder and David Fazzino

Darren Snyder
UAF Cooperative Extension Service Agent
and Assistant Professor
712 W. 12th Street, Suite 1
Juneau, AK 99801
Phone: 907-523-3280

David Fazzino, PhD, JD
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Phone - 907-474-6188