Photos by Lione Clare.
The Sitka Conservation Society works to protect the Tongass and build sustainable communities. The ability to live sustainably within the natural environment is contingent on the health and wellbeing of the people who call these lands and waters home. At our core, we are a community organization who stands up with our partners and members, to help care for the entire intricate web of life here in the Tongass, our neighbors included.
Food security is foundational to the sustainability of our communities, not just in Southeast Alaska but across the world. In the Tongass, we have a unique accessibility to wild foods, yet at the same time our geography creates its own obstacles; food is expensive and is shipped in from far away to reach our rural communities. In 2020, due to the pressures of the COVID19 pandemic, we saw increased food insecurity among Southeast Alaskans. With partnerships and community support, Sitka Conservation Society fielded programs to to help address this challenge.
In March, SCS established the Sitka Mutual Aid Network, an initiative to build Sitka’s resilience and community health in the face of this pandemic. Sitka Mutual Aid matched requests for assistance with offers of support, connecting Sitkans who could be of service to one another and delivering direct food assistance in the form of gift cards, grocery distributions and free meals featuring local seafood.