Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The U. S. Department of Agriculture has awarded a Regional Food System Partnership grant to the Alaska Longline Fisherman's Association. The grant is part of the department's Local Agriculture Marketing Program.
The association was one of 30 projects in 24 states selected for a grant. The grant amount for the Alaska organization is $189,000 which requires a $20,000 match.
According to a release from the association, the funding will be used to foster new partnerships that help build a more resilient regional food system. specifically when it comes to local seafood access and seafood industry workforce development. The association says the impacts of COVID-19 have highlighted those problems.
The industry in Alaska relies on outside labor for processing, marketing, and shipping and less than one percent of the seafood caught stays in Alaska
Alaska is one of the top five most food insecure states in the nation. 95% of the $2 billion of food Alaskan’s purchase is imported and 14% of Alaskans, including 20% of children, face food insecurity.
In March of last year the association formed a statewide coalition of non-profits, tribal organizations, military organizations, city and boroughs, foundations, fishermen and seafood processors to address the problems.