When Ellen and I were working on the film, we always hoped to link up with the folks at Slow Food…here is their latest blog about our film Eating Alaska.

The Slow Food USA Blog

Eating Alaska

Posted on Wed, June 02, 2010
by intern Maia Puccagli
“Eating Alaska” is a quirky documentary that follows the journey that Ellen Frankenstein, a former vegetarian, takes in search of a local, sustainable diet in Alaska.
After 15 omnivorous years married to a commercial fisherman

and deer hunter, she sets out from her town of Sitka to explore the ways that sustainable eating in Alaska necessarily looks different from eating sustainably in the lower 48.

In her journey, she raises a number of questions and finds answers to a few:
  • Can non-natives live off the land respectfully? According to whom? What does that mean?
  • What happens when the environment where the food comes from is not healthy?
  • What is the impact of eating foods shipped thousands of miles?
  • How does the energy/fuel used to harvest some of these sustainable products affect the debate?
Her cross-Alaska adventures include:
  • Accompanying a female friend who hunts and kills deer for meat. During this trip, she confronts the contradiction of how being a responsible carnivore in this setting means squeezing the trigger, something that makes her squirm, as well as the discomfort of the possible unclean kill.
  • Accompanying her partner while he dives for sea cucumbers for export. They are local, but sent to far reaches, and require much fuel to harvest.
  • Trekking in pursuit of caribou, and learning that sighting the caribou did not mean being able to take one home. There were rules to the hunt.
  • Attending culture camps, where native culture is reinforced to native youth. They pick berries and make traditional dishes, smoke fish for days, and jar fish eggs. (I was impressed at how culture camp seemed to focus mostly on food. Of course, so much of culture is tied up in food and food production.)
  • The story is charming, told in the first person by Ellen. The movie is accessible and thought-provoking. For those of us in urban and suburban area where living sustainably means shopping conscientiously and buying from local producers, this movie provides a new lens through which to view sustainable eating.
You can obtain a copy of the film for educational screenings by visiting newday.com.