HSC Meets to Discuss Food Issues in Hoonah

In November 2019 the Hoonah Stewardship Council met to discuss food systems in Hoonah and discuss the Coastal Program

In attendance : Ian Johnson, Sean Williams, Niccole Williams, Arianna Lapke, Faith Grant, Crystal Sawers, Miguel Contreras, Stephanie Harold, Jackie Dick, Sam Sheakley, Heather Powell, Jay Dick, Christina Belle-Dick

Food Systems in Hoonah

Jennifer Nu joined us remotely from Juneau. She is the Regional Food Catalyst through the Sustainable Southeast Partnership. She supports local food projects and has helped at Hoonah’s culture camp.

We started out with the question : Imagine a local food system in 20 years that is resilient to climate change, increased tourism pressure, and transport vulnerabilities. What does this food system look like in Hoonah? How do we get there? 

Our food system is fragile – just look at the impact of the reduction of the ferries.

To help address that the SSP is putting together a community foods assessment. The goal of that work is to develop a snapshot of our food system including retail and harvest foods. Knowing that information will help us develop grants and new opportunities in the future.

The key to the success of the work is to create a survey that fits the community. That’s the ask from the HSC – Jennifer needs help critiquing the survey.

The survey process has 3 main parts

  • Determine how much is imported. This will get a snapshot of all foods
  • Email the survey out to farmers, producers, gatherers, harvesters, and sellers. It is important that the questions asked are relevant to each group being asked the question.
    • Important to identify who would take the survey
  • Compile a report and make it accessible

Some thoughts that came from the group :

  • Important that the survey is concise
  • Important that each survey is tailored to the group its being sent to
    • Groups may include Harvesters, fishers, hunters, berry pickers
    • We want to gather information that is “useful” so should think about the survey design carefully
  • Perhaps a community food assessment could be paired with VISTA
  • Establishing a project priortization list

Jennifer requested feedback from all members of the HSC. After that is complete you’ll hear more about the community food assessment!

Coastal Program

A coastal program update was provided by Sean Williams.

He is establishing invasive species monitoring and will be hanging sampling sites in Hoonah. This is to look for, among other things, an invasive tunicate. This tunicate has been showing up in Sitka and is changing conditions there. This work matters because it isn’t being done here currently, and invasive species impact cultural resources linked to the ocean. Changes to the nearshore environment can have unforseen impacts on many species.

He and Arianna have also been working with the school Science teacher to bring scientists into the school and have been working on establishing a natural resource club for youth.

General Updates

You can always join Hoonah Stewardship Council Meetings! They are held the 3rd Thursday of every month. There will be no meeting in December 2019 due to the proximity to the holiday season. We’ll see you in the new year!

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