University of Alaska Anchorage

  • Melissa Chlupach - Traditional Foods

    "Happy, healthy, healing, folks"

Project Introduction

Traditional foods are a way of life for our Alaska Native People. They are nourishing. They are comforting. They are home. Homelessness is among Alaska Native's in Anchorage is a serious issue. By providing traditional food programs in our homeless shelters, we can help to reduce health disparities and the burden of chronic diseases, healing this population mind, body and soul.

The first objective of this project is to educate Bean's Cafe staff and volunteers on Alaska Native cultures. This will provide them some background knowledge on why traditional food programs are important for the mental and physical well being of homeless individuals.
Second, assistance will be provided to conduct training on the processing and preparing of healthy, traditional foods at Bean's Cafe. The focus will be on developing confidence in traditional food preparation.
Monthly menus at Bean's Cafe will be developed to incorporate traditional foods into their meal programs. 
 Standardized recipes will be created to incorporate into existing and new menus. This will be provide consistency and hopefully provide a directive to ensure the traditional food program can be sustained.
New equipment purchases are needed to process large donations, such as moose and seal. With these purchases, Bean's Cafe can more reliable accept donated food sources.
Assist in the procurement of traditional food sources and help to process them.
Finally, there will be a focus on sustainability, not only with the program itself but also methods within the project such as waste management.