I, Mike Dunleavy, Governor of the State of Alaska, under the authority of Article III, Sections 1, 23, and 24 of the Alaska Constitution, hereby establish the Office of Food Security within the Office of the Governor.
The State of Alaska has a vested interest in promoting the health, safety, and well-being of its citizens. Other than water, heat, and shelter, a reliable and affordable supply of food is the highest need of a society. As an isolated state with tremendous dependency on imports, the State of Alaska has an interest in improving the local production, harvest, and growth of foods and increasing access to a sufficient supply of nutritious and safe food.
Currently, approximately 95 percent of the food Alaskans purchase is imported, costing roughly two billion dollars annually. This is an enormous wealth transfer from Alaskans to outside entities and it leaves Alaska at a critical disadvantage in the face of disruptive global events. During the COVID-19 pandemic, global supply chains have been stressed. Furthermore, Alaska is at the end of the supply chain for goods and food coming from the West Coast. At the height of the pandemic, the Port of Seattle was on the brink of closing, which would have drastically impacted the ability for shipping carriers to bring goods and food to Alaska.
The purpose of the Office of Food Security is to:
- Enhance access to, availability, affordability, and quality of food for all Alaskans
- Set policies and identify resources to build a strong, sustainable, and healthy food system in the state to ensure food security for all Alaskans.
- Identify or expand economic opportunities for the state in food production, food processing, and food distribution businesses.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The duties and responsibilities of the Office of Food Security include:
- Formalizing, centralizing, and coordinating the state’s efforts related to food security, including working with:• The Division of Agriculture in the Department of Natural Resources to protect, preserve, and develop the state’s farmland and agricultural industry.
• The Department of Fish and Game to protect, preserve, and develop the state’s subsistence, personal use, commercial fisheries, and grazing land leases.
• The Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development to improve and expand existing incentive grant and loan programs as relates to the food supply chain, identifying Opportunity Zones that can be utilized to expand the food production supply chain, and facilitate economic diversification of the food production supply chain.
• The Department of Health to develop strategies and educational programs to inform state residents of the nutritional value of locally-harvested seafood, proteins, and produce.
• The Department of Education and Early Development to develop curriculum covering subjects such as nutrition, gardening, and food preparation, and to include locally produced food in school meals.
• The Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs to develop a method to use state food resources as part of the Governor’s disaster and emergency preparedness food supply program, including food storage depots.
• The Department of Corrections to develop a program to use state food resources as part of the Department of Corrections’ institutional food service programs.
• The University of Alaska to research and develop a sustainable supply of locally produced food and workforce development programs and public-private research partnerships.
• The Department of Environmental Conservation to enhance the health, safety, and welfare of state residents and their overall economic and social well-being by developing programs that encourage the development of the state’s food resources.
• Nonprofit organizations, including local food banks and associations of food producers, to develop and use the state’s food resources.
• The United States Department of Agriculture to develop programs that encourage the growth and use of the state’s food resources.
• Alaska Native regional and village corporations, Tribes and Tribal organizations, to preserve, enhance, and expand the traditional uses of the state’s food resources and to encourage the development of locally produced food resources in the corporations’ regional communities.
- Serving as the first point of contact for interested parties who are in the business of agriculture, mariculture, food processing, and other related industries.
- Serving as the curator of a data portal that will aggregate all information held by the state, including land maps, soil surveys, climate and temperature records, growing seasons, crop and livestock production, energy costs, food transport routes, processing infrastructure, and other such information necessary to achieve the goals of the Office of Food Security.
- Creating marketing materials and presentations that describe the state’s food security efforts and opportunities, including financial incentive programs.
- Reviewing existing or proposed programs, policies, and regulations that affect the state’s food system and recommending to the Governor methods to improve the coordination and implementation of the programs, policies, and regulations.
Consistent with law and available appropriations, the Office of the Governor shall use existing personnel and monetary resources to implement this Order.
This Order takes effect immediately.