Permafrost Farming in Alaska

The average temperature in Bethel, in western Alaska, is below freezing, although summers see temperatures in the 50s for short time. Yet the town's sole farmer, Tim Meyers, grows root vegetables, greens, and even strawberries on his 17 acres. The 6,000 residents of Bethel enjoy relatively fresh local organic produce in a state where 95% of food is imported.  

“Farming’s easy,” Meyers says, half joking. “I till, I plant, everything’s growing.” So why aren’t there more farms? “No one’s ever taken the time to try to do it out here. It’s exciting, there’s lots of potential.”

It's not as easy as he makes it out to be. Meyers' growing method involves two years of soil preparation, most of which is taken up just thawing the topsoil. That's a significant investment. But Meyers believes that if other farmers start out small, they can grow crops in permafrost and make Alaska more self-sustaining. Read about Meyers and his growing enterprise at Modern Farmer. -via Digg


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