Urban harvests: food security and local fish and shellfish in Southcentral Alaska

  • Hannah L. Harrison, Philip A. Loring
  • Agriculture & Food Security, August 2016, Springer Science + Business Media
  • DOI: 10.1186/s40066-016-0065-5

What is it about?

We talk about two "personal use" fisheries in Alaska, salmon dipnetting and clam digging, which are both important to local and regional food security for residents of Alaska's greater Anchorage area. We discuss how these fisheries show that urban spaces can be "subsistence" spaces. We highlight differences among the fisheries, which in some cases force us to contest the bucolic image that has been constructed for "local food". We also note how the state can still improve its support of local people as they rely on these resources.

Why is it important?

"Subsistence" is often something that is thought to only exist in rural spaces. This research focuses on subsistence for urban residents, highlighting how multiple different groups of people value and rely on Alaska's fisheries. This paper demands that we pay more attention to (and support) how urban residents acquire food from the land and sea as a part of their food security


Dr. Philip A. Loring
University of Saskatchewan

Much of my work has focused on subsistence issues in rural Alaska. What I like about this paper is the focus on urban spaces. I also like the comparative aspect among salmon fishing and clam digging--one is a sanctioned activity, and one is generally unsanctioned and overlooked, despite being important to Alaskans for decades.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr. Philip A. Loring