Welcome to our blog! This post is to introduce ourselves and let you know who the gardeners behind Gardens in the Arctic are and how we got started in this adventure!
Rainey Hopson is the woman behind the Gardens in the Arctic dream. She is a lifelong student always in search of new knowledge to learn and share with our Arctic community. Rainey got her bachelors in Studio Art (after a few years being a marine biology major) at Humboldt State University and attended the Graduate of Education program at University of Alaska Fairbanks. She was a middle school art teacher in Utqiagvik before moving to Anaktuvuk Pass and often uses this experience to work with students and teachers here at the Nunamiut School. Rainey started this project with her own backyard garden and when that proved to be successful, like the entrepreneur that she is, she sought funding to start a larger project to help the entire community. The gofundme page raised money to start distributing garden boxes to community members who were interested in growing their own vegetables in their own yards, then came the high tunnel to grow vegetables where community members who did not have garden boxes can still get fresh home grown foods.
Catherine Edwards, who goes by Casey, is the lifelong Anaktuvuk Pass resident who is always eager and ready to help her community. The Gardens in the Arctic is a project that Casey eagerly became involved in as she, like many Anaktuvuk Pass residents, is interested in self sufficiency and getting healthy foods for herself and her family. Casey helped with spreading the word about the gofundme page and helped Rainey with the garden boxes and getting people interested. She also set up her own green house in her back yard and has been growing her own vegetables for herself and her family. Since the high tunnel was set up last summer, Casey has helped with tending to the garden beds, harvesting the crops and community distribution.
Isabel Nay is the newest member of the Gardens in the Arctic team. She was a Registered Nurse in Anchorage and Fairbanks and moved to Anaktuvuk Pass with her family to be a stay at home mom/ Arctic Gardener! The Gardens in the Arctic project inspired her to start her own home garden in Fairbanks and she contacted Rainey for advice on her garden often, which Rainey graciously helped with.