Residents of Cordova and Tanana describe how renewable energy systems, including hydropower and solar power, are impacting their access to food, energy, and water, in two new videos produced by a research team including ISER’s Jennifer Schmidt.

Schmidt, Assistant Professor of Natural Resources Management, and researchers from University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), are working on the MicroFEWs project, a four-year National Science Foundation funded project connecting researchers with community members to assess how renewable energy systems can be used to improve food, energy and water security in remote Arctic and sub-Arctic communities.
composite image of wind power, small greenhouse interior, and exterior greenhouse picture
In “Cordova, Alaska: Connecting Food, Energy and Water” , residents discuss their limited access to foods other than protein from fish, moose, and deer. They are hopeful that their access to hydroelectric power may make it possible for them to provide more fruits and vegetables through hydroponics.

In “Tanana, Alaska: Connecting Food, Energy and Water,” community members talk about the fuel savings they experience through the use of high-efficiency wood burning systems and solar panels. A road built about four years ago that connects to the other side of the Yukon River is also saving money on freight that otherwise would have to be barged or flown into town.

Amanda Byrd (Biomass Coordinator for the Alaska Center for Energy and Power), with the help of Schmidt, produced two videos, which are now available on Science360 Video Library. Science 360 provides the latest videos on science, engineering, technology and math from scientists, colleges, universities, the NSF, and more.

Schmidt and the MicroFEWs team Daisy Huang (UAF), Rich Wies (UAF) and independent consultant Henry Huntington  also talked about their project at the recent Alaska Food Policy Council Festival and Conference in Homer. Their presentation highlighted how renewable energy can be used for food production and preservation and solicited suggestions for improving food security in rural communities.

Conference members suggested that solutions to increase food security must be sustainable. They emphasized the time and money necessary to be successful at developing local food production and the importance of building partnerships and community engagement.