What We Eat took place on March 5th, 2017 at the Anchorage Love Church. 


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Abridged Transcript


What is foods connection to tradition? What role can food play in cultural exchange? From economics, health and security, to identity, belief and community, food is interwoven into many facets of human life. Beyond nourishment for the body, the food we eat says a great deal about our values, our history and how we live.

This conversation brings together panelists Mark John, Danny Consenstein, Dr. Zeynep Kılıç and Samantha Mack, moderated by Julia O’Malley(panelist bios below). The panel will be followed by an informal potluck. Bring a small plate of food to share and your thoughts and questions for further conversation. 

What We Eat was made possible with the help of a grant from The Alaska Humanities Forum and the support Edible Alaska.

Mark John, originally from Toksook Bay, is well known and well respected throughout the region as a commercial fisherman, active subsistence hunter and fisherman, and fluent speaker of the Yup'ik language. Receiving his BSW and MSW from the University of Alaska, he is also a gifted leader and administrator, and has worked slowly and carefully to realize Calista Elders Council’s potential.

Dr. Zeynep Kiliç was born and raised in Turkey and is now a professor of sociology at UAA. She recieved a Fulbright U.S. scholar grant and a sabbatical grant from the Institute of Turkish Studies (ITS) which took her to Turkey in 2015-2016 to complete her documentary Tables of Istanbul on food, identity and culture in Istanbul, Turkey. 

Danny Consenstein served the last 8 years as the State Executive Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Alaska Farm Service Agency. He has over 30 years of experience helping Alaska small economies grow and thrive. As a board member of the nonprofit Alaska Food Policy Council he is continuing to build stronger food systems and healthier communities in the state of Alaska. He is also an avid backyard gardener and part of a commercial fishing family. 

Samantha Mack is Unangax from King Cove, Alaska, and graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage in the Spring of 2016 with a double major in Political Science and English and a minor in Alaska Native Studies. She is currently pursuing a Masters of English Studies and working as a Teaching Assistant at UAA. Samantha recently wrote a paper exploring the use of language in the King Cove Women’s Club Cookbook.

Julia O’Malley is a teacher, independent journalist and lifestyle blogger who lives in Anchorage. She writes about Alaska’s people, politics, culture, home and food.

Thanks to Kathleen McCoy for helping research the topic and for assistance preparing for this panel. Kathleen has worked as a journalist in Alaska for more than 30 years. She has worked for The Nome Nugget, as a writer and editor for The Anchorage Daily News, as an electronic media specialist and storyteller at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and as the original host of Hometown Alaska on KSKA.