Alaska to Face Concerning Food Shortages

Toni Koraza

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Supply chain issues, environmental factors, and raging war in Europe have raised concerns about food shortages globally.

As a result, oil prices have skyrocketed, inflation has broken new records, and food supply faces difficulties ahead, especially in states like Alaska.

Food security affects everyone, regardless of nationality, race, gender, or creed.

Many Alaskans rely on food assistance programs, despite working for pay. However, COVID-19 strongly impacted Alaska’s ability to produce and harvest crops, leading to food shortages across the state and severely impacting remote towns and areas outside the capital, Juneau.

Food Insecurity in Alaska is a big issue

Some 6,300 Alaskan households rely on the Alaska Food Bank weekly.

Any food not produced domestically costs more in Alaska, owing to the distance it must traverse, either via barge or plane. Alaska’s cost of living is 24 percent higher than the national average, causing citizens to struggle to make ends meet.

The social distance requirements for COVID-19 impacted food production in several ways, creating difficulties such as:

  • Community dinner and potluck cancellations over surge in food prices
  • Failure to access and maintain harvesting infrastructure
  • Inability to harvest with those outside of the household

However, store-bought foods also face shortages. In addition, supply chains are fractured and facing interruptions owing to delayed flights, airlines going out of business, and pent-up demand.

Additionally, Alaska has reported low salmon numbers in 2020 and 2021. The precise cause is unknown. However, climate change and commercial fishing practices certainly impacted the harvests.

Food prices have jumped in the past five years

According to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), Alaska’s food costs have skyrocketed over the past year. While food prices have advanced nationwide, the national average increased 3.5 percent over the year. As a result, Alaska’s costs increased a staggering 11.3 percent over the year.

Between difficulties farming, supply chain interruptions, and fiscal insecurities, Alaska will almost certainly see further food shortages.

Are you worried about food security?

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