Friday, December 4, 2015

Food Security in the Arctic competition offered

Undergraduate UAF students may compete in essay, engineering and media contests that address food security issues in northern communities.

Hollembaek Farms harvests bromegrass for hay
near Delta Junction. Edwin Remberg photo
The Food Security in the Arctic competition will award $1,000, $500 and $250 prizes for first-, second- and third-place awards in three contests sponsored by the School of Natural Resources and Extension, Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Activity (URSA) and the National Science Foundation. The deadline for the essay and engineering contests is Feb. 1 and media entries are due Feb. 29.

Contest co-chair Professor Jenifer McBeath said students are invited to address some of the issues involved with developing environmentally responsible agricultural practices in the North. She notes that food security is a special concern in Alaska because an estimated 95 percent of food consumed by residents is produced elsewhere and it travels over a tenuous transportation network.

For the essay contest, students may submit up to an eight-page, double-spaced essay about the challenges involved in growing and storing food in northern communities. Submissions should respond to the following questions: Why should growing and storing food be considered alongside traditional subsistence practices such as hunting, fishing and gathering? How might Arctic communities integrate these practices and what are some of the complexities involved?

Participants in the engineering contest are asked to submit an engineering design that attempts to address energy-efficient and environmentally friendly large-scale food storage in the North. Designers should research and consider the ideal conditions that aid in cold climate food storage. Currently perishable foods are shipped into many towns and villages from distant locations. The alternatives for residents involve growing and storing their own food or growing and transporting from a nearby location in the state. Individuals or teams may compete. The designer of the winning entry will be awarded $5,000 to build a prototype.

Students who participate in the media contest are asked to submit a 30-second public service announcement that represents some of the current challenges in growing food in northern communities. Films or videos should be submitted as an uncompressed MOV or M4P file. 
See more details about the contests and the entry form here. For more information, contact McBeath at jhmcbeath at 907-474-7431 or

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