About a year ago, I moved to Anchorage after spending over a decade in Fairbanks. I moved when I took the job of operations manager at Alaska Seeds of Change, a program of the a large local nonprofit, the Anchorage Community Mental Health Services. We operate an 8,000 hydroponic grow space that produces leafy greens, herbs, and strawberries all year round. It’s been in operation for about a year and a half, so we are still learning a ton. We employ between 10 and 15 “transition-age youth”, which, in the social work world, are young folks between the ages of 16 and 24 years old. It’s as much a supportive employment program as a food production program. I’ve included a couple pictures below. Some members of my staff are deeply interested in plants and very excited by the clip-on macro lens for smart phones that I’ll share with them. We are constantly examining problem plants for pests and other observations.
We are starting a partnership with an Anchorage mushroom grower, so that’s recently opened my eyes to the world of mycelium as well.
My undergraduate degree from back in Iowa, where I grew up, is in French and Linguistics. I worked at the UA Museum of the North when I first moved to Fairbanks and then later for a local tour company (ending up in the accounting department after a few years). Since I was a very small child, I’ve always been interested in plants. Some of my earliest and fondest memories are going for nature walks through the woods around my parents’ house in Iowa. Wildflowers were my first love.
I’m taking this class because I am one class into the Ethnobotany Certificate program at UAF, and the last biology class I took was in high school. I am looking learning a new vocabulary as well.
Glad we’re classmates again! Looking forward to reading your posts.
the hydroponics look amazing, what an interesting job you have. I think vocational schools are so important and I feel can prepare students so much better for a real job! Especially growing food, what better way to sustain yourself.
For some reason, I can respond this way but not leave a comment at the bottom. I love this business model of vocational training and fresh produce in Ak. Both are so important. Laura
It was so great to see you at the Farmer’s Market. We love your veggies!