Raised bed initiative takes root

Raised BedsStacked together in office building Friday afternoon, more than a dozen wooden frames sat ready to be distributed to Mountain View yards.

The raised beds are part of an Anchorage Community Land Trust initiative to encourage vegetable gardens and food sustainability throughout the neighborhood.

According to Mountain View Rep. Geran Tarr, local food security remains an important issue. As of 2006, Alaska’s Division of Public Health estimated more than 80,000 Alaskans experienced food insecurity. Between 2010 and 2012, the Food Research & Action Council found about 12 percent of Alaska households did not have access to sufficient affordable, healthy food.

And every weekday afternoon, nearly 100 Mountain View kids are fed by volunteers at the neighborhood Boys & Girls Club.

Raised Beds2In 2012, the land trust began operating the Gardens at Bragaw, and it said the new raised bed project is part of the push to promote local food cultivation. Radhika Krishna, the ACLT’s community development associate, said the land trust hoped to find 20 people interested in maintaining a raised vegetable garden bed this summer. So far, 18 have signed up.

Krishna and ACLT intern Caitlin Taylor spent part of this week meeting with gardeners and planning plots. Next week, they’ll haul the raised beds to their new homes and outfit them with landscaping fabric and vapor barriers to help prevent rot. Susitna Organics — a Wasilla compost company — will provide the the soil, Krishna said.

Renae Bookman said she planned on growing carrots, peas and zucchini in the raised bed in the backyard of her home on N. Pine Street. Friday afternoon, she pulled weeds in the sunshine and said slugs are her garden’s biggest enemy. Bookman said she was looking forward to growing food in her own yard this summer.

“Our goal is to put a deck over there and then just put a salad garden on the deck,” she said, gesturing towards an opposite corner of the yard.

In Mountain View, the growing season has begun.

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