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Archive for the ‘Sitka Local Foods Network events’ Category

Sitka Farmers Market Volunteer Trish Coffey, left, and Sitka Farmers Market Manager Debe Brincefield, right, present the Table Of The Day Award to Elizabeth Faulkner of Friendship Beading Co. at the first Sitka Farmers Market of the 2015 summer on Saturday, July 18, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall in Sitka. Faulkner makes ear rings, bracelets, and necklaces. Faulkner received a gift bag with fresh greens and fresh rhubarb. This is the eighth year of Sitka Farmers Markets, hosted by the Sitka Local Foods Network. The next market is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian St. Don't forget Aug. 2-8 is National Farmers Market Week, so check out the Sitka Farmers Market. For more information about the Sitka Farmers Markets and Sitka Local Foods Network, go to http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/ or check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaLocalFoodsNetwork. (PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK)

Sitka Farmers Market Volunteer Trish Coffey, left, and Sitka Farmers Market Manager Debe Brincefield, right, present the Table Of The Day Award to Elizabeth Faulkner of Friendship Beading Co. at the first Sitka Farmers Market of the 2015 summer on Saturday, July 18, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall in Sitka. Faulkner makes ear rings, bracelets, and necklaces. Faulkner received a gift bag with fresh greens and fresh rhubarb. This is the eighth year of Sitka Farmers Markets, hosted by the Sitka Local Foods Network. The next market is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian St. Don’t forget Aug. 2-8 is National Farmers Market Week, so check out the Sitka Farmers Market. For more information about the Sitka Farmers Markets and Sitka Local Foods Network, go to http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/ or check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaLocalFoodsNetwork. (PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK)

Pressure canner gauge testing and a musical theater preview were among the highlights at the second Sitka Farmers Market of the season on Saturday, July 18, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall.

While it looked like it might be rainy at the start of the market, the weather cleared up and even gave us a bit of sun. Sarah Lewis of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service Juneau District Office was in town offering free pressure canner gauge testing, and the Sitka Fine Arts Camp Musical Theater program stopped by to sing a couple of numbers from its July 24-25 production of Beauty and the Beast.

The third Sitka Farmers Market of the summer is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1, at ANB Founders Hall, 235 Katlian Street. National Farmers Market Week is Aug. 2-8 (the first full week of August), so stop by and check out the Sitka Farmers Market.

A reminder, due to health codes we can’t allow any pets in the ANB Hall or the parking lot other than service dogs. We also don’t allow smoking at the Sitka Farmers Market because this is a health event.

Also, if you’ve ever wanted to be a vendor you can learn more by clicking this link or sending and email to sitkafarmersmarket@gmail.com. We always need new vendors, especially those selling produce from their home gardens, commercially caught fish or locally baked bread.

A slideshow from the second Sitka Farmers Market is posted below.

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SitkaSoundSuppersLogoEating local in Sitka can be an amazing experience. We have wide variety of high-quality seafood, including five types of salmon, halibut, blackcod, dozens of varieties of rockfish, ling cod, Alaska king crab, Dungeness crab, scallops, spot prawns, yum. There also is Sitka black-tailed deer and other wild game. And there’s nothing like the taste of fresh produce from the garden, and our berries are exquisite.

Now you can experience the best of Sitka’s local food scene with Sitka Sound Suppers: A Chef-To-Table Experience, a fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network.

Three Sitka chefs — Kathy Jones (Westmark/Dock Shack), Edith Johnson (Fly-In Fish Inn), and Jackie Barmoy (former owner of Loaves and Fishes in Seattle) — have volunteered their talents to prepare a totally local meal that will be brought to your Sitka home for you to enjoy.

  • Donate at the $500 level and you receive a local Sitka dinner for two people.
  • Donate at the $1,000 level and you receive a local Sitka dinner for four people.
  • Donate at the $2,000 level and you receive a local Sitka dinner for eight people.

We are planning on preparing just one special dinner at each donation level, so get in on the promotion early.

The Sitka Sound Suppers fundraiser launches on July 16 and ends after our final Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Sept. 12. The winners of our meals will be connected to our chefs, so they can agree on a menu and date for the meal during the Fall 2015 harvest season (late September to November). All meals will be prepared and served in Sitka, Alaska. You can learn more about the Sitka Sound Suppers fundraiser by watching this video.

The funds raised by this promotion will help the Sitka Local Foods Network continue its work promoting local foods in Sitka and Southeast Alaska through the Sitka Farmers Market, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden, and our education programs. As the organization has grown and matured, we’ve reached a point where we need to hire a part-time staff person to handle some of the daily duties of our organization. Your donations will go into a fund to help us eventually be able to hire that staff person.

Your support for the Sitka Local Foods Network is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

By the way, if you want to contribute to the Sitka Local Foods Network but not receive one of the Sitka Sound Suppers, you can go to our main fundraising page on Razoo.com (a fundraising/crowdfunding site for nonprofit organizations) and donate in any amount over $10 there. Your online donation is secure and tax-deductible (we have 501(c)(3) nonprofit status). Thanks again.

• Sitka Sound Suppers information flier (opens as PDF file)

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Canner

SarahLewisTestsCannerGaugeThis is a great time of the year to be in Sitka. The fish are running, gardens are starting to produce, and berries are ripe for the picking.

Many Sitka residents have pressure canners to preserve their harvest, and this weekend Sarah Lewis of the Juneau District Office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service is in town to teach four classes about canning on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Sitka Kitch (a rental community commercial kitchen at First Presbyterian Church, 505 Sawmill Creek Road, note, all classes are full). She also provide free pressure canner gauge testing at the Sitka Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 18, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall.

“People can bring the gauge or the lid with the gauge still attached,” Sarah said about the pressure canner gauge testing. “If they have any questions about the full canner (gaskets, damage, how to use, etc.) they can bring the whole thing.”

In addition to testing pressure canner gauges, Sarah plans to work with Jasmine Shaw of the Sitka District Office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service to have a wide variety of publications available about home canning. In addition, the UAF Cooperative Extension Service has a series of online tutorials on its website called “Preserving Alaska’s Bounty.” Pressure canner gauges should be tested at least once a year to make sure they are hitting the right pressures for safe food preservation.

A reminder about the Sitka Farmers Market, due to health codes we can’t allow any pets other than licensed service dogs in the ANB Hall or the parking lot. We also don’t allow smoking at the Sitka Farmers Market (in ANB Hall or the parking lot) because this is a health event.

Also, if you are in Sitka and you can’t make the pressure canner gauge testing event at the Sitka Farmers Market, you can call Jasmine Shaw at 747-9440 at the Sitka office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service to set up a time when you can stop by and have her test your gauge in the office. She now has a gauge and is trained on using it.

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Sitka Local Foods Network Board Secretary Alli Gabbert, left, and Sitka Farmers Market Manager Debe Brincefield, right, present the Table Of The Day Award to Jennifer "Springer" Black of Charlee Oh Creations at the first Sitka Farmers Market of the 2015 summer on Saturday, July 4, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall in Sitka. Springer is a new vendor at the Sitka Farmers Market and she sold handmade soft-soled shoes for babies and toddlers, some with matching bibs. Springer received a gift bag with fresh greens, fresh rhubarb, fresh mint, and some handmade earrings donated by Taylor Ihde. This is the eighth year of Sitka Farmers Markets, hosted by the Sitka Local Foods Network. The next market is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 18, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian St. Bring your canner pressure gauge to this market to have it checked. For more information about the Sitka Farmers Markets and Sitka Local Foods Network, go to http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/ or check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaLocalFoodsNetwork. (PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK)

Sitka Local Foods Network Board Secretary Alli Gabbert, left, and Sitka Farmers Market Manager Debe Brincefield, right, present the Table Of The Day Award to Jennifer “Springer” Black of Charlee Oh Creations at the first Sitka Farmers Market of the 2015 summer on Saturday, July 4, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall in Sitka. Springer is a new vendor at the Sitka Farmers Market and she sold handmade soft-soled shoes for babies and toddlers, some with matching bibs. Springer received a gift bag with fresh greens, fresh rhubarb, fresh mint, and some handmade earrings donated by Taylor Ihde. This is the eighth year of Sitka Farmers Markets, hosted by the Sitka Local Foods Network. The next market is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 18, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian St. Bring your canner pressure gauge to this market to have it checked. For more information about the Sitka Farmers Markets and Sitka Local Foods Network, go to http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/ or check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaLocalFoodsNetwork. (PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK)

Sitka celebrated its independence from over-processed store-bought food with the first Sitka Farmers Market of the season on Saturday, July 4, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall.

We were greeted by gorgeous sunny weather, a Sitka rarity for the Fourth of July, and several new booths. A reminder, due to health codes we can’t allow any pets in the ANB Hall or the parking lot other than service dogs. We also don’t allow smoking at the Sitka Farmers Market because this is a health event.

The second Sitka Farmers Market of the summer is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 18, at ANB Founders Hall, 235 Katlian Street. Don’t forget to bring your pressure canner gauge and lid because Sarah Lewis of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service Juneau District Office will be in town offering free pressure canner gauge testing. You should have your pressure canner gauge tested once a year to make sure it’s safe.

A slideshow from the first Sitka Farmers Market is posted below.

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July2015SLFNNewsletterScreenshot

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the July 2015 edition of its newly launched monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This edition of the newsletter has brief stories about the Sitka Farmers Market opening its eighth season on July 4, how you can help us win $15,000 for the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden and other programs in the Gardens for Good contest, a series of free food preservation and entrepreneurship workshops offered by the SEARHC WISEFAMILIES Traditional Food program and UAF Cooperative Extension Service at Sitka Kitch, and the grand opening of the first home horticulture stand under a new zoning ordinance passed by the Sitka Assembly. Each story has links to our website for more information.

You can sign up for future editions of our newsletter by clicking on the registration form image in the right column of our website and filling in the information. If you received a copy but didn’t want one, there is a link at the bottom of the newsletter so you can unsubscribe. Our intention is to get the word out about upcoming events and not to spam people. We will protect your privacy by not sharing our email list with others.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK Sitka Local Foods Network board members and supporters pose at the St. Peter's Fellowship Farm communal garden on Monday. St. Peter's Fellowship Farm supplies most of the local produce sold at the Sitka Farmers Markets during the summer. The first Sitka Farmers Market of the season is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 4, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian St. The other five Sitka Farmers Market dates are July 18, Aug. 1, Aug. 15, Aug. 29, and Sept. 12. Pictured are, front row from left, Michelle Putz, Muriel Sadleir-Hart, Lisa Sadleir-Hart, and Kathy Jones. Back row, Matthew Jackson, Jonathan Adler, Peter Gorman, Jud Kirkness, Brandie Cheatham, Mary Therese Thomson, and Laura Schmidt.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
Sitka Local Foods Network board members and supporters pose at the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden on Monday. St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm supplies most of the local produce sold at the Sitka Farmers Markets during the summer. The first Sitka Farmers Market of the season is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 4, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian St. The other five Sitka Farmers Market dates are July 18, Aug. 1, Aug. 15, Aug. 29, and Sept. 12. Pictured are, front row from left, Michelle Putz, Muriel Sadleir-Hart, Lisa Sadleir-Hart, and Kathy Jones. Back row, Matthew Jackson, Jonathan Adler, Peter Gorman, Jud Kirkness, Brandie Cheatham, Mary Therese Thomson, and Laura Schmidt.

Sitka Local Foods Network uses St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm and Sitka Farmers Market to improve food security in Sitka

During the stormy months of winter, most people in Sitka aren’t thinking about their gardens. But that’s when St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm Lead Gardener Laura Schmidt is trying to figure out which vegetables to plant in which garden bed, starting seeds, and (if the soil isn’t frozen) amending the soil with seaweed and other nutrients to get an early start on the garden.

As the lead gardener since 2011, a contract position with the Sitka Local Foods Network, Schmidt is responsible for growing most of the fresh, local vegetables sold during the Sitka Farmers Markets each summer. She oversees food production at the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden, located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church, and at an extension garden located at Pat Arvin’s house.

Schmidt and her volunteer gardeners have about 3,000 square feet in production. Last year they grew about 300 pounds of rhubarb and 100 pounds of kale. “That’s a lot of kale,” Schmidt said. Besides kale and rhubarb, they also grow garlic, onions, potatoes, kohlrabi, cabbage, broccoli, fava beans, spinach, carrots, beets, nasturtiums, zucchini, cucumbers, and more.

“It’s fun to have it all come together. It’s nice to see it turn into food,” Schmidt said. “It’s a fun puzzle because every year is different, and how do we make it more productive.”

2015SitkaFarmersMarketFlierSitka residents will have a chance to celebrate their independence from store-bought and overly processed food at the first Sitka Farmers Market of the summer, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 4, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall. The other five markets will be on July 18, Aug. 1, Aug. 15, Aug. 29, and Sept. 12.

“It’s very important. People come for the produce. It’s the prime attraction,” Sitka Farmers Market Manager Debe Brincefield said. “We have jams and jellies, bread, fish, and arts and crafts, but people bring their produce bags and are happy to fill them.”

The Sitka Farmers Market and St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm are two of the main projects of the Sitka Local Foods Network, and both projects came out of the second Sitka Health Summit, which took place in April 2008. The first garden beds were built and planted at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm by May 2008, and food grown at St. Peter’s was available for sale at the first Sitka Farmers Market in August 2008. Since then, both projects have been a growing concern.

These two projects came about because many in Sitka were concerned about food security, especially as the country entered a major recession in 2008. It’s estimated about 90-95 percent of the food eaten in Alaska is shipped here from the Lower 48 or foreign countries, and artificially cheap transportation made it easier for people to buy their food from the store than to grow or harvest it themselves, which was the norm in Sitka until the 1950s and 1960s. With so little food being grown locally, Sitka residents worried what might happen if fuel prices went up or if we had a natural disaster that destroyed our ports and/or airport.

There also were worries about how much longer residents could afford store-bought food, especially as Sitka food prices went up 43.6 percent from September 2003 to 2011, according to the Sitka Community Food Assessment Indicators Report (a 2012 Sitka Health Summit project). The report also noted that 1,410 Sitka residents participated in the food stamp program in 2013, about one-sixth of Sitka’s population of about 9,000. Sitka residents redeemed $1,645,702 in food stamp dollars in 2012, an increase of $201,000 from 2011.

The Sitka Farmers Market and St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm are two key elements for improving food security in Sitka, with education about gardening and food preservation being another key element.

“It helps people to connect the food to the market, and hopefully realize the Sitka Local Foods Network is the umbrella organization,” Sitka Local Foods Network Board President Lisa Sadleir-Hart said. “We knew if we had a market, we had to have food to sell. We have a lead gardener in Laura who has grown and expanded the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm and our extension garden at Pat Arvin’s every year. And we have generous people who donate produce from their gardens for us to sell, such as Jud Kirkness, Linda Wilson and my family.”

AK 2015 FMNP Poster SLFNTo help families struggling with food security, the Sitka Farmers Market became the first farmers market in Southeast Alaska to accept SNAP (food stamps) and WIC nutrition benefits, including the Alaska Quest electronic benefits transfer cards used for SNAP. The Sitka Farmers Market also matches dollars spent on SNAP-approved foods (produce, fish, baked goods, barley products, etc.), which allows Alaska Quest card users to double their purchase by as much as $20 per person per market. That means a family of four with SNAP benefits can be matched up to $80. This year, the Sitka Farmers Market will partner with the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) on a new program where SEARHC beneficiaries with chronic disease are prescribed vouchers for fruits and vegetables.

And the growing is spreading.

“As I was taking a walk around town the other day, I identified three new gardens,” Sadleir-Hart said. “They also have a new garden at the Pioneer Home where they’re growing food.”

For more information about the Sitka Local Foods Network, Sitka Farmers Market and St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, go to http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/ or email sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com. To learn about being a vendor at the Sitka Farmers Market, contact Debe Brincefield at sitkafarmersmarket@gmail.com or call 738-8683.

(Editor’s note: The story above appeared in the Weekender section of the July 2, 2015, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel. It was written by Sitka Local Foods Network board member/communications director Charles Bingham.)

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FARMMARKETCELEB_LOGO_D

What you put on your fork matters. That’s the message behind American Farmland Trust’s seventh annual Farmers Market Celebration. The celebration calls on shoppers to help identify the cream of the crop — the best of America’s farmers markets — and in Alaska we think that’s the Sitka Farmers Market.

SitkaFarmersMarketSignThe celebration calls on shoppers to help identify the best of America’s farmers markets. The summer-long event launched June 21 and runs through Sept. 23. The first Sitka Farmers Market of the summer is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 4, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall. The other five Sitka Farmers Markets this summer are on Saturdays, July 18, Aug. 1, Aug. 15, Aug. 29, and Sept. 12.

“The Celebration encourages market customers, family farmers, community activists – anyone who believes they’ve got the best farmers market in the country – to endorse their market in four special areas: Focus on Farmers, Healthy Food for All, Pillar of the Community, and Champion for the Environment,” said Susan Sink, American Farmland Trust vice president of development and external relations.

Shoppers are encouraged to use Instagram and join the local food community in saving farmland with their forks, as part of AFT’s “#OnMyFork” social media campaign. Supporters are encouraged to post pictures or videos of their farmers market to Instagram using the hashtag #OnMyFork. If you do post something about the Sitka Farmers Market, please tag our Sitka Local Foods Network page on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/SitkaLocalFoodsNetwork.

“While farmers markets have been growing in popularity, keeping family farmers on farmland remains a nationwide challenge,” Sink says. “Many family farmers are struggling to stay financially afloat and face daily pressure from development to sell their land. Farmers markets provide a wonderful opportunity for family farmers to sell directly to consumers and to help make a living on their land.”

bigcabbagewsFarmers markets have a lot to offer. Beyond the beautiful array of fresh and local food, farmers markets help family farmers thrive, connect us as a community and can be catalysts for both environmental and social good. That is why American Farmland Trust is giving away awards to farmers markets who are the Best in Class in four special areas — Focus on Farmers, Healthy Food for All, Pillar of the Community, and Champion for the Environment.

If you have ever been to the Sitka Farmers Market, you may already know that they are the gold standard for farmers markets in these areas. If you haven’t been to the market before, here are a few reasons why the Sitka Farmers Market deserves to be named one of America’s top markets:

  • Focus on Farmers — The Sitka Local Foods Network, which sponsors the Sitka Farmers Market, has been working with local gardeners and small farmers to increase the amount of locally grown fruits and veggies in Sitka. Not only is locally grown food fresher and better tasting, but it’s better on the environment because it doesn’t have to travel thousands of miles to get to Alaska. The Sitka Farmers Market also is a good place to participate in the $5 Per Week Alaska Grown Challenge to help improve Alaska’s food security.
  • Healthy Food for All — The Sitka Farmers Market was the first farmers market in Southeast Alaska to accept SNAP (food stamps/Alaska Quest cards) and WIC vouchers for people benefitting from those programs. In addition, we have matching dollars of up to $20 per person per market available for SNAP-eligible foods (produce, fish, baked goods, barley products, etc.). This year we are partnering with SEARHC on a program where SEARHC beneficiaries with chronic diseases such as diabetes are prescribed vouchers for fresh produce.
  • Pillar of the Community — The Sitka Farmers Market not only serves as a community gathering place, but it also is a business incubator. It’s a good place for budding entrepreneurs to test ideas and products before going into full production. The Sitka Farmers Market emphasizes local, local, local, which helps put the focus on products from Sitka.
  • Champion for the Environment — It’s estimated that Alaska residents import about 90-95 percent of their food from the Lower 48 or foreign countries. By encouraging people to grow or harvest food locally, we’re cutting down on thousands of miles of transportation costs. That means less fuel is used, and fewer pollutants in the air.

To help shine a light on the Sitka Farmers Market, just go to http://markets.farmland.org/market/sitka-farmers-market/ and recommend our market. In past Farmers Market Celebrations, sponsored by the American Farmland Trust, the Sitka Farmers Market has been at or near the top among the Alaska rankings. Those rankings also helped us crack the recently released 101 Best Farmers Markets in America list compiled by TheDailyMeal.com.

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