In winter months, it's necessary for peninsula residents to get their food from thousands of miles away but growing season is underway and the Alaska Food Hub opens its virtual doors today. This is the fifth year they’re offering 100% local produce in an online marketplace - with pick up sites in Homer, Soldotna and Seldovia.
Robbi Mixion of Homer is the Local Foods Director at the Food Hub.
Mixon says this first week is light on the leafy greens but they do sell starts for growing your own vegetables and the market has 16 vendors ready with a variety of locally grown products.
“When we open, hopefully you'll see oysters from Jakolof Bay, tulips from Alaska Stems and maybe Blood, Sweat and Food will have chickens and a few other surprises that pop up on the food hub,” said Mixon.
Shoppers order online and then pick up their goods in downtown Homer on Bunnell Avenue, in the building that houses the public health department.
There is a yearly membership fee, anywhere from one to one hundred dollars, but a customer’s first three orders don’t require a membership. Mixon says the Food Hub fills 30 to 45 orders a week for its approximately 1,400 members across the peninsula.
"Every Friday at noon we open the Food Hub for ordering - Friday at noon through Monday at 10 p.m. You'll get a confirmation email and you'll also get an email reminder, reminding you, you gotta to pick up your food. Wednesdays in Homer from 3 to 6, you'll come down to pick up your items,” said Mixon.
Prices are competitive, but rarely cheaper than the supermarket can offer, but Mixon says the benefits of increasing food security and supporting the local economy need to be factored as well.
“...keeping all of those dollars local, recirculating in the economy. The State of Alaska imports about 95% of it's food and that equates to almost two billion dollars leaving the state. Anything we can do to keep some of those funds here is great,” Mixon said.
You can check out the Alaska Food Hub at https://alaskafoodhub.localfoodmarketplace.com/
Ordering begins Friday, May 1 at noon.