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BeachSeaweed

Because of a major increase in the collection of seaweed from Halibut Point Recreation Area for gardens and compost, the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation (aka, Alaska State Parks) is limiting the amount residents can remove in order to continue to provide reasonable qualities for all users.

Alaska State Parks has permitted collection of seaweed washed ashore at Halibut Point Recreation Area for many years. However, effective immediately a special-use permit is required to collect seaweed at Halibut Point Recreation Area. Commercial use will not be permitted.

The Sitka Park office, which is located at the recreation area, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, but staff is often away from the office. Residents should make an appointment to obtain a seaweed special-use permit in advance of using it, at least a day prior to collecting, by calling state parks at 747-6249. There is no charge for the permit. The access gate will be locked starting April 12. Gatherers are asked to limit the amount of seaweed they take.

Alaska State Parks said it appreciates the public’s cooperation in the implementation of the seaweed collection special-use permit. Access to Halibut Point Recreation Area for the disabled to get to the picnic and day use area will continue to be accommodated as quickly as possible, the park said. Contact park staff for more information.

• Alaska State Parks special-use permit for seaweed gathering at Halibut Point Recreation Area

Broccoli growing in the garden

Broccoli growing in the garden

The Sitka Local Foods Network reminds you that it’s time to plant your broccoli, cauliflower and other brassicas.

Linda Wilson will present a short workshop on planting brassicas at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 7, at 3509 Halibut Point Road. Broccoli, cauliflower and other brassicas are good for stir fries and other meals, and they’re fun to grow. Parking space is limited, so please consider walking, riding your bike, taking the bus or carpooling. More information is available by calling Linda at 747-3096 (nights, weekends) or by emailing her at lawilson87@hotmail.com.

The Sitka Local Foods Network is hosting a series of “It’s time to …” workshops this spring and summer designed to help local residents learn about various aspects of vegetable gardening and fruit growing. Many of these classes will be informal get-togethers at various gardens around town. Please watch our websiteFacebook pageFacebook group, and local news media for information about upcoming classes. If you have an “It’s time to …” workshop you’d like to teach, contact Michelle Putz at 747-2708.

In addition, don’t forget the Sitka Local Foods Network education committee will meet from 5:30-7 p.m. on Monday, May 5, at Harrigan Centennial Hall to discuss future workshops and classes for the rest of the spring and summer.

We are still looking to expand our network of local volunteers who can teach classes (formal and informal) this year about growing food, so please attend if you’re interested. If you can’t attend, please email Charles Bingham at charleswbingham3@gmail.com with info about what topics you can teach, your gardening experience, and contact information so we can add you to our database of instructors.

KittyLaBountyAndMollieKablerKCAWGardenShow

Kitty LaBounty, left, and Mollie Kabler have been hosts of The Garden Show on KCAW-Raven Radio for more than 20 years. (Photo courtesy of KCAW-Raven Radio)

For more than 20 years, Mollie Kabler and Kitty LaBounty have taken to the airwaves during the spring months for The Garden Show on KCAW-Raven Radio.

The show returned to the programming lineup earlier this month and airs from 5:30-6 p.m. on Saturdays from April through June, or longer into the summer if work schedules permit. Topics include timely tasks for gardening in Southeast Alaska, taking on-air questions, and themes around basic and more advanced gardening of vegetables, flowers, fruit etc.

Mollie and Kitty both have been gardening in Sitka for more than 25 years, and they also have gardening experience from their childhoods in Wisconsin (Mollie) and Oregon (Kitty). They both have passed the Master Gardener classes offered by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.

To call the show with gardening questions, call 747-5877 between 5:30-6 p.m. on Saturday.

Food Assessment Indicator Report web version_Page_01

SitkaCommunityFoodAssessmentLogoThe Sitka Community Food Assessment Indicators Report was released on Monday, and the findings will help guide future food system planning in Sitka.

A 2012 Sitka Health Summit project, the Sitka Community Food Assessment has examined where Sitka residents get their food, what types they eat, what they grow, what they hunt and fish for, where they shop, what type of access people have to healthy food, and other questions about Sitka’s food supply. The findings of the food assessment will help Sitka improve its food security.

After Sitka residents chose the Sitka Community Food Assessment as a project at the September 2012 Sitka Health Summit, the work group received a grant to hire a coordinator and contract with a data person. A revised version of a questionnaire from a similar project on the Kenai Peninsula was posted online, available at the library, and discussed in focus groups, with more than 400 residents answering the 36 questions. In November 2013, some of the initial data was presented at the Sitka Food Summit, where about 60 residents discussed the results and noted any further research that needed to be done. Since then, the work group, in partnership with The Island Institute and others, fine-tuned the data before writing and editing the indicators report.

“We hope the Sitka Community Food Assessment Indicators Report can guide future food system planning and plant seeds for innovative responses that will strengthen Sitka’s food landscape,” project coordinator Lisa Sadleir-Hart wrote in the 26-page document’s introduction. “The Sitka Community Food Assessment Indicators Report uncovers many weaknesses in our food system as well as some incredible assets that define Sitka’s food culture — a rich ecosystem filled with nutritious gems from the land and sea plus a generous spirit of sharing with our neighbors. Now that we’ve defined the current foodscape in Sitka, let’s work together to build a more resilient food system that can deeply nourish the entire community for generations to come.”

The Sitka Community Food Assessment Indicators Report opens with Sitka’s demographics and several Sitka food facts. It then features data about how many people in Sitka hunt, fish, gather, and/or grow their own food, as well as some barriers. Next is information about where people in Sitka shop for their food, followed by how many people in Sitka are on some form of food assistance. The report also includes information about food in the schools, and local food manufacturing.

The findings will be presented to the community during an upcoming meeting of the Sitka Assembly, and the report will be posted online here (see below) and on The Island Institute’s website.

• Sitka Community Food Assessment Indicator Report (April 14, 2014, opens as PDF file)

Bob Gorman, Extension Agent of the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, shows some germinating seed starts during a free garden workshop on March 11, 2009.

Bob Gorman, Extension Agent of the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, shows some germinating seed starts during a free garden workshop on March 11, 2009.

Bob Gorman with the Sitka District office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will host a two-part informative class on Mondays, April 21 and 28, about the unique challenges of gardening in Southeast Alaska. He also will host a workshop on Tuesday, April 22, about sustainable wood heat options for rural Alaska. All classes will take place at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus.

The two-part class about Southeast gardening will include topics such as selecting and starting seeds, transplants, grow lights, greenhouses, growing media, and managing garden soils. These are the last three workshops Bob will teach before he retires after a long career with the UAF Cooperative Extension Service in Sitka.

  • Monday, April 21, 7-8:30 p.m., UAS Sitka Campus Room 229, “Extending the Growing Season.”
  • Tuesday, April 22, 7-8:30 p.m., UAS Sitka Campus Room 106, “Sustainable Wood Heat.”
  • Monday, April 28, 7-8:30 p.m., UAS Sitka Campus Room 106, “Garden Soils.”

For more information, call the Sitka District office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service at 747-9440.

GreensStPeters

The Sitka Local Foods Network education committee has chosen its two families for its new garden mentoring program, and will begin hosting classes for first-time gardeners at the homes of our selected families.

To protect the privacy of the selected families, they will be referred to as Family A and Family B and the locations of their gardens will be given when first-time gardeners call to RSVP for the classes. These free classes are open to all first-time gardeners in Sitka. Family A lives near the end of Halibut Point Road, and Family B lives midway down HPR. The classes will be similar at each location, so people wanting to participate only need to sign up for one class. New classes will be added as the spring/summer progress, so keep watching for more.

Our confirmed classes so far:

  • Garden preparation class (choosing a location, building planters, soil and soil requirements, etc.), note a free planter box will be given to one participant in each garden-prep class.
  1. Family A, 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 23
  2. Family B, 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 27
  • Planting class (easy-to-grow plants, how, where and when to plant, planting)
  1. Family A, 5 p.m. on Friday, May 2
  2. Family B, 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 4

For more information, contact Michelle Putz at 747-2708 or michelleputzfood@yahoo.com.

New strawberry planters

New strawberry planters

The Sitka Local Foods Network reminds you that it’s time to get out in the garden and build your garden planters.

Michelle Putz will present a short workshop on building garden planters from 4-5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 18, at 131 Shelikof Way. These planters will be used for our two first-time gardener families in the Sitka Local Foods Network garden mentor program. Garden planters can range from the frames for raised garden beds to smaller planters used in container gardening. Participants are encouraged to bring drills with Phillips-head bits and extension cords, if they have them. Parking space is limited, so please consider walking, riding your bike or carpooling. More information is available by calling Michelle at 747-2708.

The Sitka Local Foods Network is hosting a series of “It’s time to …” workshops this spring and summer designed to help local residents learn about various aspects of vegetable gardening and fruit growing. Many of these classes will be informal get-togethers at various gardens around town. Please watch our websiteFacebook pageFacebook group, and local news media for information about upcoming classes.

In addition, don’t forget the Sitka Local Foods Network education committee will meet from 5:30-7 p.m. on Monday, May 5, at Harrigan Centennial Hall to discuss future workshops and classes for the rest of the spring and summer.

We are still looking to expand our network of local volunteers who can teach classes (formal and informal) this year about growing food, so please attend if you’re interested. If you can’t attend, please email Charles Bingham at charleswbingham3@gmail.com with info about what topics you can teach, your gardening experience, and contact information so we can add you to our database of instructors.

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