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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

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.

Plant starts in Sitka gardener Keith Nyitray's greenhouse

Plant starts in Sitka gardener Keith Nyitray’s greenhouse

The Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Food Co-op are teaming up to make garden starts available for Sitka food gardeners.

The plant starts will be available through the Sitka Local Foods Network on the next three monthly Sitka Food Co-op delivery days, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 21, May 19 and June 23, at the Sitka First Presbyterian Church (505 Sawmill Creek Road). The sale of these plant starts helps benefit the Sitka Local Foods Network, and we thank the Sitka Food Co-op for the opportunity to sell them on their delivery pick-up days. The plant starts are from Sitka gardeners and are of plants that do well in Sitka’s climate.

For more information, contact Keith Nyitray of the Sitka Food Co-op at sitkafoodcoop@gmail.com or go to http://sitkafoodcoop.org/

ParadeOfTheSpecies

2014+Earth+Week+posterEarth Day is on Tuesday, April 22, and Earth Week is April 20-26. Sitka will host a variety of activities for Earth Week, including some gardening classes, a youth eco-challenge, free bus rides all month, spring clean-up events, and the 13th annual Parade of the Species. Click the event names at this link for more activity details.

Giving Earth Week an early start is a presentation at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 12, in Room 106 at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus, when Gordon Wrobel will discuss his three-year USDA project to build local food systems in Elfin Cove. Contact the Sitka Local Foods Network at sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com for more information.

Lauren Oakes will discuss yellow cedar ecology and long-term vegetation changes in temperate forests impacted by climate change at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 17, at the UAS Sitka Campus as part of the ongoing Natural History Seminar Series.

yellow_cedarb_nathistorytalkBob Gorman of the Sitka District office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will give two presentations at 7 p.m. at the UAS Sitka Campus — on Monday, April 21, about extending the growing season and greenhouses, and on Tuesday, April 22, about sustainable wood heat.

There will be clean-up events from 9-11
a.m. on Saturday, April 19, for 4-H club members and other youth, and from noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22, for Sitka Conservation Society members and other community members, both at locations TBA. There also is a community-wide spring clean-up event from April 26
through May 11, when people can bring in a variety of large items and hazardous materials to the Sawmill Cove Scrap Yard, hosted by the City and Borough of Sitka Public Works Department.

The Sitka Community Ride bus service will provide free bus rides during the entire month of April in its annual recognition of Earth Day.

The youth eco-challenge is from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 26, at Sitka National Historical Park. School-aged youth teams will test their skills of compass navigation, bear safety, and fire building while they make their way through the Sitka National Historical Park. Sign up in teams of four, or as individuals and be put on a team. Teams of multiple ages are recommended. It’s a race. Contact Mary Wood to register, 747-7509.

Finally, the 13th annual Parade of Species, hosted by the Sitka Conservation Society, is on Friday, April 25. Parade participants are invited to dress as their favorite animal or plant and gallop, slither, swim, or fly with us. We will meet in Totem Square at 2:30 p.m. and parade down Lincoln Street to Harrigan Centennial Hall at 3 p.m. There will be a number of community organizations with hands-on Earth Day inspired activities for the whole family from 3-4:30 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for Best Use of Recycled Material, Most Realistic, and Best Local Plant/Animal. For more information contact mary@sitkawild.org or call 747.7509. Click here for photos of 2013 Parade of Species costumes.

• Sitka Spring Clean-Up Events 2014

• Sitka Earth Week Events Schedule for 2014

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