To protect the health and wellbeing of Alaskans, Governor Mike Dunleavy today signed Administrative Order 338, creating the Office of Food Security. Alaska currently imports 95 percent of its food supplies at a cost of $2 billion per year. As an isolated state with limited infrastructure and tremendous dependency on imports, the State of Alaska has a duty to improve the local production, harvest, and growth of foods and increase access to a sufficient supply of nutritious and safe food, and A.O. 338 helps to fulfil this duty.
The Office of Food Security will operate within the Office of the Governor and has a number of duties and responsibilities, including coordinating the state’s efforts related to food security and serving as the first point of contact with agriculture, mariculture, food processing, and other related industries. Additionally, the Office of Food Security will be responsible for creating marketing materials and presentations that describe the state’s food security efforts and opportunities.
Governor Dunleavy announced the Administrative Order in a video this afternoon. Click here to watch the announcement.
“Like many other Alaskans, I enjoy filling my freezer with our wild fish and game, but I also recognize that’s not how every Alaskan can meet their needs. Alaska imports about 95 percent of our food supply, but that vulnerability has largely been masked for the past few decades as global logistics and just-in-time systems have generally worked smoothly. The pandemic changed all that, and it caused a change in my thinking about what we must do to build a secure food system in Alaska,” said Governor Dunleavy. “We have created the Food Security Task Force. We’re working to open more lands to agriculture and boost our investments in mariculture. We’re working to identify and take down the barriers to increased food production, and today, to further advance this critical objective, I signed an Administrative Order that creates the Office of Food Security within the Governor’s Office.”
The Office of Food Security has three stated objectives:
1. identify resources and set policies to build a strong, sustainable, and healthy food system in the state to ensure food security for all Alaskans;
2. enhance access to, availability, affordability, and quality of food for all Alaskans; and
3. identify or expand economic opportunities for the state in food production, food processing, and food distribution businesses.
The Governor’s Office will use existing personnel and monetary resources to implement this Order and stand up the Office of Food Security.
Early this year, Governor Dunleavy signed AO 334, establishing the Alaska Food Security and Independence Task Force in response to supply chain disruptions spanning two years of the COVID pandemic.
The 20-member task force is responsible for recommendations on how to increase all types of food production and harvesting in Alaska, and to identify any statutory or regulatory barriers preventing our state from achieving greater food security. The task force started work this spring and will submit recommendations to Governor Dunleavy this fall.