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Agriculture in Alaska

The Matanuska Valley, northeast of Anchorage, and Delta Junction, north of Fairbanks are the leading farming regions in Alaska. There are only about 500 farms in Alaska, most found in the 880,000 acre Matanuska Valley. About 85 percent of the fresh produce and almost 100 percent of the processed products consumed in Alaska are imported.

Farming in Palmer
Farm in Palmer

A short, but intense growing season provides good potential for Alaska commercial agriculture, although it is expensive to get the products to market. Hay, potatoes, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, beef, pork, dairy products, and greenhouse and nursery items are common products produced.

In terms of revenue generated, Alaska's top five agricultural products are greenhouse and nursery products, hay, dairy products, potatoes, and cattle and calves.
The most valuable livestock commodity produced in Alaska is milk, followed by eggs and beef cattle. Alaskan farmers also raise chickens, hogs, sheep, and lambs. Native Alaskan Inuit maintain herds of reindeer as a source of meat and hides.
Greenhouse and nursery products are the top agricultural revenue producers in Alaska. Barley, hay, oats, and potatoes are prevalent field crops. Timber, spread over 25 million acres, is also important to the state.

Alaska's Awesome Soils - Activity book

Fun and Games
Ag Crossword Puzzle
AK Ag Day Double Puzzle
Fun Facts
Alaska Ag Day Cryptogram 1
Alaska Ag Day Cryptogram 2

Ag Search - How many answers can you find?


Alaska Division of Agriculture - Alaska is the place where we still have true pioneers. We have generations of farmers who are still clearing virgin ground for crop production....

Alaska GrownAlaska Grown

Harvesting A Large Cabbage - video -
Follow Scott Robbs' 87-pound cabbage from harvest to 2nd place in the 2007 Alaska State Fair Giant Cabbage Weigh-Off.

Agriculture Companies in Alaska

History of Agriculture in Alaska

People settled in Palmer since the early 20th century, but the town didn't really grow until 1935. In that year one of President Roosevelt's New Deal relief agencies, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, moved 203 farm families to Palmer. The Colonists arrived in Palmer eager to settle in. The families were mostly from the Upper Midwest, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, whose farms were unproductive and were receiving government assistance. Shipping food to the growing population of Alaska was expensive, so the resettlement program was used to jump start Alaska's agricultural production.

The Matanuska Colony: The New Deal in Alaska
Colony House Museum photos
History of Agriculture in Alaska


Flowering plants come from two kinds of seeds: Monocotyledons and Dicotyledons. (monocots and dicots).

The majority of plants that most children see are the flowering plants or angiosperms. The majority of angiosperms are dicots, The dicots have flower parts in multiples of four or five while monocots have flower parts in multiples of three. The dicots have leaves with a network of veins while monocots have leaves with parallel veins. The xylem and phloem in a dicot are arranged in a ring while they are randomly arranged in a monocot. The monocot seed has one seed leaf while the dicot has two seed leaves. For example a peanut is a dicot while rice and corn are monocots. The roots of dicots show secondary growth which the roots of the monocots do not.


  • Monocotyledon (monocot) - plant having a single cotyledon or seed leaf such as corn, wheat, rice, grasses, barley

  • Dicotyledon (dicot) - plant whose seeds have two cotyledons or seed leaves such as lima beans, peanuts, almonds, peas, kidney beans.

  • Cotyledon - the first leaf to be developed by the embryo in seed plants.

  • Seed Coat - the hard outer layer of a see; the protective covering.

  • Embryo - any organism in its earliest stages of development.

  • Endosperm - the food source for a growing plant during seed germination.

  • Germination - sprouting of a seed, and beginning of plant growth.

Dicot Dicot Seed

  • have two halves
  • two cotyledons or seed leaves
  • fleshy cotyledons
  • network veins in leaves
  • flower parts typically in groups of four or five.
  • peas, beans, peanuts, apples, tomatoes

Monocot monocots Monocot Seed

  • does not divide in half
  • one cotyledon or seed leaf
  • thin narrow cotyledons
  • parallel veins in leaves
  • flower parts typically in groups of 3 or multiples.
  • rice, wheat, Corn, coconuts, grasses
dicot seedling
monocot seedling