Tim Meyers is farming Alaska tundra. Last year, the farmer from the remote community of Bethel produced 50,000 pounds of vegetables. Meyers credits warmer temperatures, but says the key to his hefty yield is the soil.
“But tapping that ultra-rich soil takes time. To prepare the land for farming, Meyers starts in June when the permafrost ground begins to melt a bit. He uses a tractor to clear the low-lying mossy lichen and other tundra plant life that act as an insulator to keep the permafrost cold. Then, in July, he plows fields to loosen the soil and dislodge the remaining native plant roots.
In all, Meyers must spend as much as two years working a piece of land before he can plant it. And even then, the ground below the soil in which he farms is still ice.”