The only permanent settlement on Admiralty Island, 55 miles Southwest of Juneau and 41 miles North of Sitka, Angoon is a small community of about 570 residents. Because of the community’s remote location, produce available in town is very expensive and has often traveled hundreds if not thousands of miles before reaching the consumer.
Angoon’s climate is much drier than that of other Southeast communities, providing residents with an excellent opportunity to grow produce that will offset the expensive and reduced-quality produced currently barged in.
Meredith Pochardt, Takshanuk Watershed Council’s Food Security Coordinator is working with the community of Angoon to initiate the Angoon School/Community Garden Project. The goal of the projects is to establish a garden that will be utilized by teachers, students, and the community as a whole to grow healthy local produce at a reasonable cost.
Takshanuk Watershed Council (TWC) has developed and implemented a successful food security program in the Haines community that incorporates a school garden, a fish to schools program, and local gardeners and food producers into local foods network to make fresh, locally produced food more available to community members. The goal of TWC’s role in this project is to provide support for the initiation of Angoon’s community gardening program. An Angoon community garden support group has also been established to see the project through the stages of growth and development.
In support of the project, Meredith Pochardt has assisted with garden-based lesson plans to educate young students, as well as development of a community festival to celebrate local food. The project has also received support from Darren Snyder and Sarah Lewis of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service who contributed to lesson plan development, student cooking class presentations, and planning for the community festival.
The School/Community Garden Project is a new undertaking for the community of Angoon and will require a good amount of community support and commitment to get the project off the ground. The project has been building progress, and with the establishment of the community growing space and accompanying school curriculum Angoon students and community members alike with reap the benefits of learning to grow, cook, and enjoying eating local produce.