Kodiak Island Subsistence


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Fall on Kodiak Island is the busiest time of the year for subsistence. Kodiak provides an abundance of natural resources and the high price of groceries makes it worthwhile to live a subsistence lifestyle. Throughout my childhood, fall was spent picking berries, fishing for halibut, canning and smoking salmon, and harvesting vegetables from the garden.

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Living a subsistence lifestyle makes you appreciate the cycle of the seasons. Cold hard winters kill pests that would otherwise consume all of the foliage before it has a chance to produce any fruit. Rainy springs fill the rivers with water for salmon to thrive. Sunny summers help flowers to bloom and brings bees to pollinate them. The first frost in fall, makes the berries and root vegetables incredibly sweet. 


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All summer the sun’s energy charges us up for the work that will come in the fall. Processing a substantial supply of food for winter is no easy task. Everyone helps out from young children who help pick berries to great grandparents who share long held family recipes and processing methods. When you wander through Kodiak’s neighborhoods in the fall the air is filled with the smell of smoking fish and the sounds of busy kitchens.

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The people of Kodiak are proud to live a subsistence lifestyle. Our community thrives off of it. We often exchange locally caught, grown or foraged food amongst each other. The products and photos in this post will inspire you to appreciate subsistence opportunities where you live and share them with your community.