36: Ginger Duncan on Self-Sufficiency on Kodiak Island
Take a walk on the wild side with our guest Ginger Duncan who lives the wilderness lifestyle.
Shout-out to Oz and Ella – Listen to the podcast to find out just what that means! You don’t want to miss this amazing story!
By the way, Ginger Duncan is also our featured farmer for this month. After you listen, Read her article about her lifestyle on the blog.
Ginger moved to Kodiak Island at 2 years old, and grew up there feeling trapped. When she met her husband, they started off-grid living and she discovered freedom and the vast beauty and bounty Alaska and the wilderness hold.
She created a sustainability learning center because the subsistence lifestyle is being lost.
Kodiak is also known as “Emerald Isle.” It’s 80 miles long and 60 miles wide. The only bigger island in the U.S. is the Big Island of Hawaii.
It is about 550 air miles away from the mainland. You must take an air taxi or travel by sea, then you drive 13 miles over a gnarly potholed road, then a 1-hour boat ride over open ocean through a sea otter colony – you’ll see birds, whales, eagles, porpoise.
It can be scenic and it can be brutal – the ocean conditions are sometimes perilous. There were times when Ginger drove the boat praying that she would make it home.
The city of Kodiak has the largest Coast Guard base…
…and the second largest fishing port in Alaska.
Grocery store prices are astronomical. There is only one Safeway – the only grocery store. Kodiak is the most expensive city in Alaska to live in. A head of lettuce is $5-$6, and bell peppers are $4.
Anything they need at Mystic Mountain, they provide for ourselves. By growing herself, she has more nutritious food.
All 8 buildings on the property have electricity courtesy of Mother Nature (hydropower). There is no TV, no cell service, no internet.
The subsistence portion entails working hard. May to October provides edibles and medicinals when the there are 21 daylight hours per day. The day length in the winter is a mere 6 hours.
They have a shorter growing season but longer days. Ginger learned that the light is way more important than heat. The daylight hours are more powerful.
Food security: Ginger is appalled by the American food supply. Many countries have outlawed GMOs, but here in the U.S. politics are working to control the seed supplies. She feels that much of our disease is caused by the food people are eating.
Wildcrafting: Taking advantage of the natural properties in plants to administer for health, nurturing, wellbeing. Ginger eats and makes salves with her bounty, which can include stinging nettles, plantain, yarrow, watercress, berries, goldenrod (for women’s issues), dandelions. Balm of gilead for healing. Comfrey for injury. Willow tree bark for a toothache.
Devil’s Club – vicious looking, horribly nasty thorns, big beautiful leaves. Wear your gloves, tell the plant you’re thankful for its sacrifice, dig up the root and you can make tea out of it. It is the indigenous form of ginseng.
Protein comes from the land or sea, including venison, halibut, cod, and several species of salmon.
They provide Alaskan seafood and take orders ahead of season. As they fish, they know how many pounds they are catching for each customer. Check it out at Mysticmountain.org – Fish For Sale.
They are developing a micro-community dedicated to self-sufficiency. It’s a demanding lifestyle to live a sustainable, off-grid lifestyle. Visit the volunteers page on Mystic Mountain and see where you can participate.
Living The Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing
Just get started!
How to reach Ginger:
Ginger’s article on Urban Farm U