Growing up here in Anchorage, Alaska has been a blessing in many lenses. When I was younger the city seemed warm, in a sense that nobody was truly a stranger. Which ever side of the city you claimed as stomping grounds, there was undoubtedly a Mom & Pops, a restaurant, and a candy or ice cream shop (all locally owned) that you and your friends frequented. The owners and employees knew you and what you were up to. It was more than a transaction. It became an experience, an interaction with the community.
Time passed and the city has changed. Local store owners struggle to compete with larger corporate companies and rising operating costs; silently vanishing in their shadows. More Alaskans are leaving home and more transplants are moving in; adapting the culture and economy. Crime has become uncontrollable and unresponsive legislators add to the negligence thats began to engulf Anchorage. Most will agree that Alaska is a gorgeous sight, an experience everyone should be blessed with at least once. But, as a community it seems we’ve grown a little colder, became more guarded or selfish, and in some cases down right careless.
As I watched a line of cars go around me while I single handedly pushed a small Toyota out of an ice patch after spinning it’s tires for two traffic lights, it dawned on me. This city has gone to shit. And again, when a victim of poor journalism and stagnant justice reform became a ‘villain’ over night. It was then that I realized how much I yearn for the times when we didn’t hesitate to pull over and help. I crave an Anchorage that makes room for the little guy, as long as they’re good guys. I want my kids to grow up and live in the cozy Anchorage that promotes camaraderie and creativity. An Anchorage that speaks up and shows out for what’s right; not chastising those who do.
Times passed and the city has changed but, despite the odds, some pretty amazing businesses, projects, and people keep my optimism alive. For those who know me personally know I am a mental health advocate and local/small business supporter. Basically, I cope by eating and shopping. For a while I liked to think of it as empowering Alaskan entrepreneurs & enriching my economy (and hoodie collection). But to truly make the change I want to see, it can’t stop at me and my frivolous spending. It has to reach the community.
My hope is to use this platform as an outlet and tool to enlighten my community to all the amazing entrepreneurs and craftsmen woven into Anchorage, bringing their own bit of magic to the city. So, this ode is to everyone who’s pushed me to reach out and share these experiences; validating them for more than just bomb munchies, a dope hoodie assortment, and good taste in restaurants. This is to every ass busting and dedicated store owner, employee, and vendor who bring that nostalgic, warm energy back to Anchorage. To every fellow foodie, deeply rooted Alaskan, or simply curious tourist, this Food for Thought is a gift to you.
To Anchorage; the good, the bad, and all to come.