Joshua Kellogg, Clyde Higgs and Mary Ann Lila
The emerging research evidence regarding functional food health benefits, coupled with the modern rise in degenerative and lifestyle-related health conditions, has created a growing market in the United States: the super-fruit. Wild berries, which contain bioactive phytochemicals with demonstrated efficacy against metabolic syndrome, have fulfilled important nutritional, medicinal, and social roles in Native American/Alaska Native lifestyles for generations. In this article, a SWOT analysis was used to explore the opportunities and obstacles for native development of wild Alaskan berries as a commercial product. On one hand, the novelty, market appeal and abundance of these phytochemically enriched berries suggest an entrepreneurial prospect for native communities. On the other hand, historical traditions typically dictate community ownership of the wild indigenous berries, and a natural inclination to protect common resources is prevalent in most communities. The factors that influence this complex juxtaposition between internal culture and external development are highlighted.