Bill Walker and Heidi Drygas will
Support Alaska Agriculture
A vast majority of food in Alaska is purchased at corporate grocery stores that ship in products from the Lower 48. With inflation soaring, making groceries more expensive, we’re reminded that food security is economic security. Bill Walker and Heidi Drygas will enact policies that build up our agricultural industry so we have more jobs here and a greater level of food security than we see today.
- Now is the time to take the highly successful Alaska Grown program, which is one of our state’s most successful marketing efforts that works to increase consumer awareness and consumption of Alaska agricultural products, to the next level. One element of our broader economic plan includes tasking the Division of Agriculture with leading an effort to make it so every major big-box store has a large “Alaska Aisle” that sells locally made products and highlights local businesses of all varieties. There’s no reason that every Safeway, Fred Meyer, Walmart, and Walgreens in the state can’t have a space where Alaskans can see products grown and created by their friends and neighbors on the shelf. The only reason we don’t today is because there is no one aggressively working to make this happen.
- A healthy agricultural industry has always been a priority for Bill:
- Early in his administration, Bill signed an executive order proclaiming May 3, 2016 as Alaska Agriculture Day
- In Feb 2016, Bill also signed the original proclamation establishing the Alaska Mariculture Task Force which was meant to foster the development of a growing industry in Alaska. The industry has seen continued growth since with a 2018 McDowell Group report noting that with strategic investments, the industry could grow to $100 million in the next 20 years, with annual revenue supporting 1,500 jobs
- During Bill Walker’s first term as Governor, he worked to establish the Golden Carrot Award within the Division of Agriculture. This program was created to begin the process of getting corporate retailers more interested in Alaska Grown products. When Bill and Heidi are elected, this work will be at the forefront of food policy rather than an afterthought. We will utilize the platform of the Office of the Governor to work directly with corporate leaders to make progress and create opportunities for our farmers.
- We applaud the formation of the Alaska Food and Farm Caucus in the 32nd Legislature
- We celebrate the bill passed by Rep. Liz Snyder this year creating the Alaska Food Strategy Task Force and loan programs for new farm development