In Thorne Bay, the school runs an aquaponic greenhouse.
The kids feed the goldfish, the goldfish waste creates ammonia, which gets munched on by worms, which help process the ammonia into nitrates. Then the lettuce (and basil and kale and beets) feasts.
The kids harvest the produce for their lunches, and sell the rest to the local store. They get veggies and make some cash.
And it feels kinda like a miracle. In a part of the world renowned for getting most of its food by barge or plane, stumbling on a truck bed stuffed with fresh lettuce is like turning a corner in Brooklyn and finding a waterfall roaring away across the street.
And though rural Alaska is pretty salad shy (three-week-old bagged barge lettuce doesn't exactly inspire), "if they grow it, they'll eat it," the superintendent says about his kids, closing the door to the greenhouse. "They're sucking salad down like candy."
I spent the last week driving around Prince of Wales, America's 97th largest island with a friend. We brought home a dozen cans of salmon, close to two thousand photos, and a lot of dirt in our tires. You want stories? I'll be posting stuff all week.