• Micro-hardiness Agriculture Zones in the North Star Borough, Alaska: Past and Future Scenarios

      Hatch, Ellen W. (2010-05)
      Agriculture in the Arctic is often limited by the low receipt of heat energy, which is often measured in growing degree days (GDD). With the advent of increasingly powerful climate modeling, projection and downscaling techniques, it is becoming possible to examine future climates in high resolution. Recent availability in Alaska has prompted interest in examining the distribution of current and the potential future of local agriculture. The goal of this study was to utilize Scenarios Network for Alaska Planning (SNAP) downscaled, ensemble projections to examine this in terms of GDDs in the Fairbanks North Star Borough of Alaska. Historic and projected monthly mean temperatures were utilized to calculate GDDs and then map the borough at a 4 km2 scale. Additionally, local agriculturalists were interviewed in order to put these theoretical calculations into context. Ultimately, projections of the examined agricultural locations showed an average of a 2% increase in GDD per decade and a 26% increase in GDDs from 1949 to 2099. This project indicated that the North Star Borough will receive increased heat energy due to climate change over the next century that may further enable increased yields and varieties of crops.
    • Native Plant Materials for Economic Development in Southeast Alaska

      Pat Holloway, chair, Glenn Juday, Bob Gorman, Tony Gasbarro; Downing, Jason (1996-09)
      Current economic situations such as mill closures from timber industry reconstruction in southeast Alaska have stimulated interest in commercial development of secondary forest products; resources and opportunities other than wood pulp and saw log production. Twenty native species of southeast Alaska were chosen based on a score of their combined economic value and abundance throughout southeast Alaska. Details about the potential uses, ecological requirements, propagation, and management related to the marketable attributes provided the foundation for scoring. Eleven of the twenty species were utilized for their fruits and berries. Six species could be sold as floral products. Once species was used for seedling production concurrently with floral product production. Finally, the last two species produced botanical products. There is substantial potential for development in southeast Alaska with these secondary forest products, as well as others that were not mentioned in detail.
    • Preliminary Investigation Into the Use of a Dehumidifying for Drying Wild Herbal Teas in Southeast Alaska

      P.S. Holloway, Chair, V.A. Barber, R.R. Dinstel; Slakey, Daniel Joseph (2005-12-16)
      This project investigates the use of a dehumidifying dry kiln (traditionally used for drying lumber) for drying wild herbal teas in Southeast Alaska. Its major considerations are kiln design, moisture content data (for use in drying schedules), and preliminary drying schedules. Project conclusions result from literature review and experimentation. Regarding kiln design for uniformity and efficiency, the researcher found the following principles of utmost importance: 1) proper direction of airflow (achieved by incorporating measures that will direct the airflow, such as baffling and air deflectors); 2) maximizing space by fitting the maximum number of drying racks into the kiln and using a small spacing (9cm) between drying trays; and 3) minimizing electric costs by installing a heat source other than electric auxiliary heat, as well as operating the kiln continuously until materials are dry. Regarding moisture content (MC), the research found that herbal teas should be dried to 5-10 percent MC (green basis), and that the moisture contents of most green materials collected in Haines were too variable to use for creating drying schedules. Regarding drying schedules, the research found that pre-drying plant materials in ambient air for about a day improves quality and efficiency of the kiln drying process. Material depth for some materials, including dandelion and fireweed leaf. The main problem identified was the variation in drying rates between different leaf parts (leaf blades dried out much faster than midveins and became brittle). This problem could be avoided in the future by using water sorption isotherm data to ensure that no part of any material will dry out below a given MC. It is still unclear whether a dehumidifying kiln is an economically viable option for drying wild herbs.
    • Producing Fresh Herbs for Fairbanks Restaurants: a market survey

      Meriam Karlsson, Chair; Hans Geier, Kristy Long; J. Greenberg, Chair, H.Geier, S. Sparrow; Goss, Jacquelyn Denise (2007-05)
      Buyers and producers were surveyed to estimate the demand for fresh culinary herbs among chefs at local Fairbanks restaurants. When thirteen chefs were interviewed, twelve restaurants were found to purchase fresh herbs, primarily basil, parsley, and cilantro. During the summer, the restaurants combined purchased 68 pounds of fresh herbs per week, with 56 percent procured from local growers. Sixty-two percent of the chefs expressed a preference for locally grown products, including herbs. Local producers felt they were able to meet the demand for restaurant herbs and could accommodate additional clients. Many chefs, on the other hand, wished that tomatoes, vegetables, and potted herbs would be available for purchase from farmers in addition to fresh-cut herbs. While there was not a great demand for fresh herbs alone, farmers offering a variety of products can build sufficiently large accounts to justify selling and distributing to individual restaurants.
    • Production and Transportation Considerations in the Export of Peonies from Fairbanks, Alaska

      J.A. Greenberg, Chair, H.T. Geier, P.S. Holloway, C.E. Lewis; Klingman, Marie A. (2002-04)
      Peonies are grown and harvested as a marketable cut flower worldwide. They are commercially available throughout the seasons, except for July and August. However, this is a time when they bloom in Fairbanks, Alaska. This paper examines the potential of developing peonies as a cut flower industry in this region. Specific considerations of production and transportation and the feasibility of such a venture are addressed. Methods include interviews with persons involved in the industry as well as extensive Internet research. A cost analysis table was constructed to consider potential profitability. Developing peonies as a cut flower industry in Fairbanks, Alaska is promising. However, this study serves as only a guide. Potential growers need to conduct their own research and adapt these results to their own individual circumstances.
    • "Throw All Experiments to the Winds": Practical Farming and the Fairbanks Agricultural Experiment Station, 1907-1915

      Pigors, Rochelle Lee (1996-12)
      The objective of this thesis was to compile a succinct but comprehensive history of the establishment and progress of the Fairbanks Experiment Station from 1905 to 1915, and determine the station's influence on agriculture in the Tanana Valley. An extensive survey of the University of Alaska Fairbanks' archive records, experiment station documents at the National Archives of the Alaska Range in Anchorage, annual reports of the experiment station, Fairbanks newspapers, and the Congressional Record was completed and the literature evaluated. It was concluded that agriculture in Alaska was seen as a secondary industry to mining and fishing and was generally dismissed by Congress. Some Alaskans, however, took up the call for agriculture when mining slowed down and established an agricultural college, which renewed people's hopes for agriculture and saved the Fairbanks station from fading into history.