Thinking about your garden, especially with our warm winter? It’s time to mark your calendars with several upcoming Spring 2015 garden classes offered by the Sitka Local Foods Network Education Committee.

GreensInHoopHouseStPetersThese free classes will cover a variety of topics, from gardening basics and choosing what veggies to grow in Sitka to learning about fruit tree pruning, composting and seed-starting. But wait, there’s more. We recently added classes on raising chickens and rabbits. Some of the classes have limited space and require preregistration, so sign up early.

We will be adding more classes to this list as they become available, so check the website for updates. We plan to post individual class announcements as we get closer to the actual class dates.

And now, here’s the list of classes so far:

  • Everyone Can Compost — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, March 4, Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street), teacher Jennifer Carter, no preregistration required.
  • Fruit Tree Pruning Basics Workshop — 10 a.m., Saturday, March 7, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm (behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church), teacher Jud Kirkness, no preregistration required.
  • Growing and Fertilizing Rhubarb — 11 a.m., Saturday, March 14, at the home of Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz (131 Shelikof), teachers Perry Edwards and Michelle Putz, no preregistration required.
  • Raising Chickens 101 — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, March 25, Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street), teacher Bobbi Daniels, no preregistration required.
  • Starting Vegetable Seedlings Workshop — 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 31, Harrigan Centennial Hall, teacher Jennifer Carter, learn how to start seedlings and go home with a tray of planted seeds, class limited to 15 people, preregistration required.
  • Raising Rabbits 101 — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, March 25, Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street), teacher Bobbi Daniels, no preregistration required.
  • Seed-Starting Basics — 2 p.m., Saturday, April 11, call for location (Michelle Putz, 747-2708), teacher Linda Wilson, class limited to 8-10 people, preregistration required.

We had 55 people attend our first two classes in January and February, kicking off a year-long series of education events on a variety of topics related to vegetable gardening, livestock, and food preservation in Sitka. Our garden mentor program classes also will be open to the public, once they start in April.

For more information or to sign up for classes requiring preregistration, contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520 or Michelle Putz at 747-2708.

• Spring 2015 garden education classes from the Sitka Local Foods Network (opens as PDF)



The Sitka Local Foods Network will benefit from a “Fill the Bistro” fundraiser on Thursday, March 26, at Ludvig’s Bistro (256 Katlian St.).

Fill the Bistro is a series of community fundraisers held on Thursdays this spring for local organizations working in Sitka (in previous years they were on Wednesdays). Ludvig’s Bistro is open from 5-9 p.m. serving traditional Mediterranean fare and seafood. The beneficiary organization for each Thursday’s Fill the Bistro event receives 10 percent of the night’s sales.

Due to the small size of Ludvig’s Bistro, it is recommended that diners call 966-FOOD (966-3663) to make reservations. If the restaurant is closed, there is an answering machine to take reservations (please call in and don’t email the restaurant).

The Sitka Local Foods Network thanks Ludvig’s Bistro owner/chef Colette Nelson for including us in this year’s series of Fill the Bistro fundraisers.


The Sitka Local Foods Network is looking for a manager and assistant manager to coordinate the 2015 Sitka Farmers Markets this summer. These are contract positions, and the manager and assistant manager (who reports to the manager) receive small compensation depending on experience for their work organizing the six scheduled farmers markets this summer.

SLFNGroupwLindaThis is the eighth year of operation for the Sitka Farmers Market, which features six markets from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every other Saturday from July through September at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (this year’s market dates are July 4, 18, Aug. 1, 15, 29, and Sept. 12). The farmers markets feature booths from local farmers/gardeners, local fishermen, and artisans and craftspeople. These events are great Sitka gathering places, and we promote local foods and other local goods at the markets.

A detailed description of the market manager duties can be found at the link below. For more information or to submit applications, contact Maybelle Filler at 738-1982 or mocampo25@hotmail.com, or you can email the Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors at sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com (please put “Sitka Farmers Market Manager” in the subject line). Applications should include a cover letter, resume, three recommendations, and they are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, March 6. The market manager of the Sitka Farmers Market reports to the Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors, and the assistant manager reports to the manager.

• Description of duties for market manager of the Sitka Farmers Market Manager (2015)


Now that we’re into February, there still are a few weeks left for Alaskans to file for their 2015 Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend check As usual, Alaskans can share their wealth with a variety of Alaska nonprofits, including the Sitka Local Foods Network, through the PFD’s Pick.Click.Give. program.

PickClickGiveFlier3DYDPRINTThis is the second year the Sitka Local Foods Network will participate in the Pick.Click.Give. program, which allows people to donate in $25 increments to their favorite statewide and local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations when they file their PFD applications from Jan. 1 through March 31. We thank the 56 donors who pledged $2,900 to the Sitka Local Foods Network in 2014, and we appreciate your support again in 2015.

When you choose to donate part of your PFD to the Sitka Local Foods Network, you support the Sitka Farmers Market, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, Blatchley Community Gardens, education programs about growing and preserving food, the sustainable use of traditional foods, the Sitka Community Food Assessment, the Sitka Food Summit, and a variety of other projects designed to increase access to healthy local foods in Sitka.

Lovalaska FB Square PhotoGrid Tag (1)In 2014 a record 26,773 Alaskans gave $2.77 million to their favorite nonprofit organizations, up from $545,000 donated by 5,175 people in the program’s first year of 2009. Some Alaskans choose to donate to just one group, while others may spread several donations around to many groups. There now are more than 500 total 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations participating in Pick.Click.Give. for 2015, including 22 from Sitka.

To encourage more Alaskans to donate through the Pick.Click.Give. program, this will be the second year of the Double Your Dividend contest. Anybody who makes a non-anonymous Pick.Click.Give. donation to at least one of the registered nonprofits will be entered into a contest where 10 lucky Alaskans will win a second PFD check. The winners will be announced in October, about the time the PFDs start hitting bank accounts.

PCGKidsHarvest2015So how do you make a donation to the Sitka Local Foods Network through the Pick.Click.Give. program? First, go to http://pfd.alaska.gov/ and fill out your PFD application. When you get to the section of the application asking if you want to participate in Pick.Click.Give. Charitable Contributions program, click on the PCG link and search for the Sitka Local Foods Network. You also can look for us by using the town search for Sitka.

The Pick.Click.Give. program is available only to people who file their PFD applications online, and not to those who file by mail. Even though you can’t file a new PFD application after March 31, you can go back into your application and update your Pick.Click.Give. donations through Aug. 31 each year.

You still can donate to the Sitka Local Foods Network if you aren’t from Alaska or aren’t eligible for a 2015 PFD. To donate, send your check to the Sitka Local Foods Network, 408D Marine St., Sitka, Alaska, 99835, or go to our page on Razoo.com, http://www.razoo.com/story/Sitka-Local-Foods-Network, and click the Donate button to make an online contribution. You also can send in a check or make an online donation if you are trying to make nonprofit donations before the end of the 2014 tax year. Please let us know if you need a receipt for tax purposes. For more information about donating, you can send an email to sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com.

Thank you for supporting our mission of promoting and encouraging the growing, harvesting and eating of local foods in Sitka and Southeast Alaska.


The first two classes from the Winter/Spring 2015 schedule of the Sitka Local Foods Network Education Committee are in the books and more than 50 students attended. The Vegetable Gardening 101 class on Jan. 27 had 33 people in attendance, while the Choosing What Veggies to Grow in Sitka class on Feb. 3 had 22 students.

These classes show Sitka has a hunger for learning more about how to grow and raise its own food, and we’re hoping to offer a wide variety of classes that help accomplish that goal. Our next class is Everyone Can Compost, taught by Jennifer Carter at 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking is off Spruce Street). Other upcoming classes include Fruit Tree Pruning Basics on March 7, Growing and Fertilizing Rhubarb on March 14, Starting Vegetable Seedlings on on March 31, and Seed-Starting Basics on April 11. The full schedule is attached, and the link above has more details.

We also are looking for more teachers who feel comfortable teaching an aspect of gardening they know well and is suited for Sitka. If you think you can teach a class, please contact Michelle Putz at 747-2708 or michelleputzfood@yahoo.com. Below are handouts related to the first two classes, plus a slideshow of photos from the first class.

• Winter/Spring 2015 garden education classes from the Sitka Local Foods Network (opens as PDF)

• Vegetable Gardening 101 Handout

• Vegetable Garden Varieties for Southeast Alaska (from UAF Cooperative Extension Service)

• Vegetable Gardening in Southeast Alaska (from UAF Cooperative Extension Service)

• Raised-Bed Gardening in Alaska (from UAF Cooperative Extension Service)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


SitkaFoodCoOpLogoThe Sitka Food Co-op will host its third annual membership meeting and potluck dinner at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21, at Sprucecot Cabin (308 Peterson St.). The meeting is open to all Sitka residents, regardless of co-op membership.

This meeting will give members and prospective members a chance to learn what the co-op is doing, where its going and how it plans to get there. There also will be elections for the board of directors (four seats are open, must be a co-op member to run or vote), amendments to the by-laws, and there will be several new and important committees created. Co-op officers encourage people to attend and take part in building the co-op to the next level.

The Sitka Food Co-op was incorporated on Sept. 26, 2011, as a way to bring good food and community together. The purposes of the Sitka Food Co-op are to:

  • Create a community-based, member-owned buying service;
  • Make available wholesome natural and organic foods and products as inexpensively as possible;
  • Support and encourage local growing of fresh organic foods;
  • Purchase and purvey, whenever feasible, the goods or services of local and regional growers and producers; and
  • Serve as a center for activities and services which otherwise enrich the life of the community.

Please note that the Sitka Food Co-op is a separate organization than the Sitka Local Foods Network, even though we share some of the same goals.

To learn more about the Sitka Food Co-op and its annual meeting, email sitkafoodcoop@gmail.com or go to http://sitkafoodcoop.org/. Potential board members should submit an email to sitkafoodcoop@gmail.com by Friday, Feb. 20, telling a little bit about yourself and why you want to serve on the board of directors.


Registration has begun for the inaugural Southeast Alaska Farm and Fish to Schools Conference, which takes place April 2-3 at Centennial Hall in Juneau.

This event will be the first regional opportunity focused on building connections between Alaska’s school systems and local food entrepreneurs. Anyone interested in bringing more local foods into our school system is invited to collaborate and connect with regional experts to strengthen fish and farm to school programming across the state.

Southeast Conference, the regional economic development organization, is coordinating the conference in conjunction with the newly formed Sustainable Southeast Partnership, a diverse network of organizations working together on community sustainability in Southeast Alaska.

Farm&Fish-logo-on-photos Cropped“Often we find that the barriers to achieving access to local, healthy foods can be overcome if we work together as a region to make this initiative a priority,” said Alana Peterson, program director of the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, Haa Aani, Community Development Fund Inc. “By bringing all the key players together for a conference we are hoping to achieve just that.”

Fish and farm to school programming offers significant economic, environmental cultural and nutritional opportunities to our rural communities and region.

“Schools in southeast received more than $500,000 last year to buy Alaskan produced foods through the Nutritional Alaska Foods to Schools grant program.” said Shelly Wright, Executive Director of Southeast Conference. “However, schools are often limited by what they can procure. There are untapped opportunities for, farmers, fishermen and small business in our region. We are eager to break down barriers and grow the opportunities for everyone.”

Online registration and more detailed conference information is available at http://www.seconference.org/southeast-farm-and-fish-schools-conference. Register before Feb. 28 to be eligible for a travel stipend. For more information, contact Lia Heifetz at growsoutheast@gmail.com.


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