Grant will allow Alaska Tribes Extension Program to expand

bowls of berries and rhubarb
Heidi Rader photo
A USDA grant will allow the expansion of the Alaska Tribes Extension Program, which supports tribally directed needs related to food sovereignty, including traditional ways of securing food such as wild berries.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service a $730,585 grant for its Alaska Tribes Extension Program as part of a $71 million investment to help underserved communities.

UAF associate professor Heidi Rader said the Alaska Tribes Extension Program focuses on tribally directed needs and goals related to food sovereignty. That can mean supporting traditional ways of knowing and securing food, or starting a garden, farm, ranch or other activities that aid community food security, resiliency and economic diversity.

The project aims to serve Alaska’s 115,000 Alaska Natives and 229 tribes.

COVID-19 and climate change have stressed important traditional sources of food, which has triggered a greater interest in growing food.

 This funding is very exciting and will allow us to offer virtual and hands-on workshops to tribes throughout Alaska,” Rader said. “We are committed to offering outreach alongside traditional knowledge holders.”

The Rural Alaska Community Action Program will provide technical support as well as virtual workshops. Metlakatla Indian Community will provide a hands-on experiential workshop as well.

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