Sauntering Roots Farm Builds Community Food Security in Alaska - American Farmland Trust

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Sauntering Roots Farm Builds Community Food Security in Alaska

Fresh snow continued to fall as I stood looking at the half-acre where Sauntering Roots Farm kicked off their first season. It was December in Alaska, and a weather front had brought in over 6 inches of snow overnight; as I squinted in the morning dusk, I had a hard time imagining the summer bounty this land would produce.

Two Alaskan women farmers at a produce stand.
Photo courtesy of Sauntering Roots Farm

Although Sauntering Roots is now based out of Palmer, Alaska, Brandi Jo Nyberg began the farm in 2019 while living in New York.

In 2021, Brandi Jo relocated back to Alaska with the intention of securing a piece of farmland and re-establishing the farm. There, while working on another local, small-scale vegetable Alaska farm, she met another farmer looking for land, Phoebe Autry.

As Brandi Jo and Phoebe each faced the daunting task of finding affordable land in a rapidly developing valley, they decided that collaboration would be the best route to farmland access.

Since 2023, they have grown for a new and rapidly growing farmers’ market and a Community Supported Agriculture farm share, commonly called a CSA. In their first year of production as a partnership, they grew a diverse selection of vegetables during the 22-week season, with a focus on shallots, garlic, and microgreens.

planting lettuces
Photo courtesy of Sauntering Roots Farm

“Brandi Jo and I partnered with another local farmer, Zoe Fuller, to start the new Matanuska Community Farmers’ Market because we knew there was a need and demand for more local food in our community,” said Autry. “After our first successful market season, it is clearer to us that the people of Palmer want to engage in their local food system in a more active way.”

In 2023, Sauntering Roots was awarded a Brighter Future Fund award by the American Farmland Trust, which they used to build a propagation house; this infrastructure will extend their growing season without the use of electricity, harnessing the abundance of Alaska’s sunlight during the spring, summer, and fall. Sauntering Roots plans to double its production in 2024, based on the robust turnout at last summer’s farmers’ market.

propagation house
Photo courtesy of Sauntering Roots Farm

While Alaska struggles to build up its statewide food security through their two parcels of farmland and with their new Brighter Future-funded propagation house, Sauntering Roots will continue to play an important role in Alaska Grown food for their community.


Harvesting carrots
Photo courtesy of Sauntering Roots Farm

Footnote: This post was co-written by Chantel Welch and Phoebe Autry.

Autry is the co-owner of Sauntering Roots Farm and the Farmland Conservation Director of the Alaska Farmland Trust.


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About the Author
Chantel Welch

Pacific Northwest Senior Program Manager

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