Chickaloon Village Environmental Stewardship Department has several projects focusing on both traditional and agricultural foods. We feel that food is the most intimate connection we have with our environment. Within the last century our methods of obtaining food have changed dramatically. While we continue to garden, hunt, trap and fish, our local and traditional food production has declined significantly, disrupting the intimate connection that we once had with our environment. The growing dependency on commercial foods has also adversely affected our health, as heart disease, obesity and diabetes become the dominant health issues for our people.
Chickaloon Village Environmental Stewardship Department is increasing local food production providing opportunities that empower communities to assert food sovereignty by offering gardening services, bedding plants, seasonal vegetables and educational programs.
In 2005 with funding from First Nations Development Institute and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Chickaloon Village built a 4-season ecologically designed, semi-renewably heated/powered greenhouse to grow fresh produce year-round as part of our Sustainable Foods Initiative. The innovative greenhouse was built with local & recycled materials, which can be replicated in other areas of Alaska.
Chickaloon Village’s four-season, ecologically designed, renewably powered greenhouse was awarded $25,000.00 on April 7th 2006 in the Alaska Marketplace Competition. This funding was used to complete the installation of our renewable energy system and install our wind turbine.
In spring 2007 the greenhouse was filled with plants started from seed by the Ya Ne Dah Ah students. In May the students sold flower boxes filled with various flower combinations. In June 2007 many volunteers gathered to plant a community garden adjacent to the greenhouse with the support of a grant from Mat-Su Health Foundation both Ya Ne Dah Ah students and Chickaloon Village elders got to share in the planting. The produce from the garden and greenhouse is enjoyed at Chickaloon Village Elders’ Luncheons and other Village events throughout the summers.
Click here to Download Traditional Foods Cookbook [1.4mb .pdf]