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Archive for September, 2010

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

It’s time to put St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm to rest for the fall and winter!

Join us from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2, as the Sitka Local Foods Network hosts a “bedding-down party” at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm. We need help weeding, de-slugging, planting row cover crops and finishing up early fall harvesting.

All are welcome. Come by for 15 minutes or stay the entire time; it’s loads of fun and means we’ll have even more fertile soil for the 2011 growing season!

St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm is a communal garden located behind the See House at St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on Lincoln Street (above Crescent Harbor). Vegetables from the garden are sold at the Sitka Farmers Markets during the summer, with some crops also going to local churches and other charities that provide food to local residents who need it.

For more information, call Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 747-5985.

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Participants line up behind the Running of the Boots banner before the start of the race

Participants line up behind the Running of the Boots banner before the start of the race

Despite high winds and rain, a large crowd of about 150-200 people showed up at Crescent Harbor Shelter on Saturday, Sept. 25, for the 16th annual Running of the Boots, a fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network. The event was part of the third annual Summer’s End Celebration hosted by the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Cruise Association.

Many of the runners were in costume, especially the younger runners. There were

Two fairy princesses and their dogs before the race

Two fairy princesses and their dogs before the race

Jesuit Volunteer priests, fairy princesses, witches, swimmers and a bug. Some costumes were covered by heavy rain gear, but the XtraTuf rubber boot (aka, the Sitka Sneaker) was a key part of just about every costume.

While there was a race on Saturday, the event was all about fun, with a lip-synch event and the Sitka Blues Band to spice things up. And we even had a table to sell late-season Sitka Farmers Market produce.

The Sitka Local Foods Network appreciates everybody who participated in this fundraiser. A slideshow from the Running of the Boots is posted below, and you can go to our Shutterfly site for a similar slideshow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Sitka residents are invited to join their community in honoring our local wellness champions and planning our health priorities for the next year during the fourth annual Sitka Health Summit, “Working Together for a Healthier Sitka,” on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 4-5, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

The Sitka Local Foods Network got its start as two community food security projects from the 2008 Sitka Health Summit — to create a local foods market and to create a community greenhouse/expand local community gardens. In 2009 the Sitka Local Foods Network received a community wellness champion award for nutrition.

There are two main community events during the Sitka Health Summit — the Sitka Community Dessert and Awards Ceremony on Monday, Oct. 4, and the Planning Day: Real Ideas Into Action on Tuesday, Oct. 5.

Julien Naylor, MD, MPH

Julien Naylor, MD, MPH

Doors open for Monday’s program at 6 p.m., with the program starting at 6:30 p.m. The event features a selection of free local and organic desserts provided by Sitka Spuce Catering for the first 200 people. The keynote presentation will be by Dr. Julien Naylor, an internal medicine/diabetes specialist at SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital who will speak about the importance of creating a healthy community in Sitka and how to help people move toward a more healthful life. Following the presentation will be an awards ceremony honoring our community wellness champions. This event is free, but donations will be accepted for the Sitka Health Summit’s new Health Initiatives Fund. Also, raffle tickets for a watercolor by local artist Pat Kehoe and other prizes are being sold for $5 each to raise money for the Health Initiatives Fund.

Sitka Local Foods Network president Kerry MacLane, left, and secretary/treasurer Linda Wilson say a few words after the Sitka Local Foods Network received a Community Wellness Champion award for nutrition at the 2009 Sitka Health Summit

Sitka Local Foods Network president Kerry MacLane, left, and secretary/treasurer Linda Wilson say a few words after the Sitka Local Foods Network received a Community Wellness Champion award for nutrition at the 2009 Sitka Health Summit

Tuesday’s program from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. will allow Sitka residents to set the community’s health and wellness goals for 2010-11. Some of our recent past goals were to make Sitka more bicycle friendly and to start a market for local foods, and they resulted in Sitka becoming Alaska’s first official Bicycle Friendly Community in 2008 and the creation of the Sitka Farmers Market. This year’s top goals and priorities will receive seed money from the new Health Initiatives Fund. There also will be a community health and wellness resource room open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Exhibit Room. Snacks and lunch will be available.

The Sitka Health Summit is brought to you by Sitka Community Hospital and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), with major financial help from Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, the City and Borough of Sitka, Scott Insurance Services, White’s Inc./Harry Race Pharmacy/White’s Pharmacy and the University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka Campus. The Sitka Health Summit’s vision is “to serve our great state as a model for community wellness by creating a healthy community where all Sitkans strive for and enjoy a high quality of life.”

For more information about the Sitka Health Summit, contact Holly Keen at 738-2707 or sitkahealthsummit@gmail.com, or go to our Web site at http://www.sitkahealthsummit.org/.

• Sitka Health Summit poster (PDF file, feel free to print out and post around town)

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Don’t forget the 16th annual Running of the Boots fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network takes place at 11 a.m. (registration opens at 10 a.m.) on Saturday, Sept. 25, as part of the third annual Summer’s End Celebration hosted by the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Cruise Association. This fun run for people sporting XtraTuf rubber boots features a run from the Crescent Harbor shelter through downtown Sitka and around St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral.

Since St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm and several other local gardeners have late produce, the Sitka Local Foods Network will have a table or two of produce for sale at the Running of the Boots, with all proceeds going to the non-profit Sitka Local Foods Network to help us with our various projects. The produce tables won’t be as big as they are during a typical Sitka Farmers Market, but WIC clients will be able to use their farmers market produce coupons. The market opens at 10 a.m., and local gardeners who have extra produce available should show up at 9:30 a.m. to barter, donate or sell it to the Sitka Local Foods Network for the produce booth.

More details on Saturday’s Running of the Boots are posted elsewhere on this site, or call Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 for more information. Click here for historical information on the Running of the Boots.

• Click here to download a copy of our flier to post around town (legal size paper needed)

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Size comparison of an AquAdvantage® Salmon (background) vs. a non-transgenic Atlantic salmon sibling (foreground) of the same age. (CREDIT AquaBounty)

Size comparison of an AquAdvantage® Salmon (background) vs. a non-transgenic Atlantic salmon sibling (foreground) of the same age. (CREDIT AquaBounty)

This week, two different U.S. Food and Drug Administration committees have been taking testimony about the future of genetically modified salmon. On Monday, one committee — the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine — heard testimony about whether genetically modified salmon is safe to eat and if it should be approved. Tuesday, the other committee — the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition — heard testimony about whether or not genetically modified salmon should have special labeling.

The issue is over a genetically modified Atlantic salmon produced by the Massachusetts firm AquaBounty Technologies, known as AquAdvantage®. The AquAdvantage® fish not only includes a growth gene from a chinook salmon, which makes it reach market size in 16-18 months instead of the usual three years, plus there is a gene from an eel-like fish known as an ocean pout. According to AquaBounty, all of the commercialized fish will be female and sterile, and the fish are designed to be raised in fresh-water pens or tanks on land instead of the usual salt-water pens where most farmed Atlantic salmon are raised.

Many in the biotech, food and other industries are pushing for the FDA to quickly approve the commercial production of this fish. But some consumer groups, food safety experts and others want the FDA to slow or end the approval process until more is known about the fish.

On Tuesday’s Alaska News Nightly show, the Alaska Public Radio Network reported that it may be some time before genetically modified salmon reach the market. However, the Los Angeles Times reported that the FDA seemed to give preliminary approval to the fish’s safety and the main issue was who is responsible for telling the consumer the fish has been genetically altered.

AquAdvantage salmon eggs are grown in incubator jars in a laboratory. (CREDIT AquaBounty)

AquAdvantage salmon eggs are grown in incubator jars in a laboratory. (CREDIT AquaBounty)

The idea of a genetically modified Atlantic salmon is of special concern to Alaska’s fishermen. Many fish farms in British Columbia raise Atlantic salmon, and there have been times when Atlantic salmon have escaped from the fish farm pens and mixed with wild Pacific salmon, including in Alaska. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game considers Atlantic salmon an invasive species, and already requests fishermen turn any Atlantic salmon caught in Alaska in to the nearest ADF&G office without being cleaned. According to ADF&G, there are concerns that Atlantic salmon might bring diseases to the five species of Pacific salmon and compete for food.

In addition to more recent cases of diseases among farmed fish and a high use of antibiotics, farmed Atlantic salmon also harmed the markets for Alaska fishermen trying to sell wild salmon (fish farming is banned in Alaska), and prices for Alaska fish dropped substantially when fish farms became more popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It’s only been in recent years that Alaska fishermen have started to regain some of their lost market share.

Sitka Conservation Society intern Molly Andrews has been keeping a blog this summer on the genetically modified salmon issue and what the fish could mean to Sitka. Molly’s blog has links to several stories about genetically modified salmon (recently called “Frankenfish” by U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska). The blog also has contact information if people want to contact the FDA or other officials to make comments about genetically modified salmon.

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Sitka Local Foods Network board members Maybelle Filler, left, and Suzan Brawnlyn, right, present home baker and honey/jelly maker Iris Klingler with the Table of the Day Award for the fifth Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Sept. 11, 2010.

Sitka Local Foods Network board members Maybelle Filler, left, and Suzan Brawnlyn, right, present home baker and honey/jelly maker Iris Klingler with the Table of the Day Award for the fifth Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Sept. 11, 2010.

Iris Klingler won the Table of the Day award at the fifth and final Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Saturday, Sept. 11, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall.

The local home baker and honey/jelly maker was presented with a certificate, $25 cash and a farmers market cookbook by Sitka Local Foods Network board members Maybelle Filler and Suzan Brawnlyn. Iris is one of the market’s newest vendors, but her table was a big hit. She sold out of her bread before the market was much more than an hour old, and her honey and jelly also sold well.

One vendor at each of the five Sitka Farmers Markets this season received similar prizes as the Table of the Day. This was the last big market of the summer, so Sitka residents will have to wait for next summer for the next opportunity to buy locally grown produce, locally caught fish, locally baked bread and locally made crafts at the Sitka Farmers Market.

Also, don’t forget the 16th annual Running of the Boots fundraiser for the Sitka

Runners hit the trail during the 14th Annual Running of the Boots race on Sept. 27, 2008, in Sitka.

Local Foods Network takes place at 11 a.m. (registration opens at 10 a.m.) on Saturday, Sept. 25, as part of the third annual Summer’s End Celebration hosted by the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Cruise Association. This fun run for people sporting XtraTufs rubber boots features a run from the Crescent Harbor shelter through downtown Sitka and around St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral.

Since St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm and several other local gardeners have late produce, the Sitka Local Foods Network will have a table or two of produce for sale at the Running of the Boots, with all proceeds going to the non-profit Sitka Local Foods Network to help us with our various projects. The produce tables won’t be as big as a typical Sitka Farmers Market, but WIC clients will be able to use their farmers market produce coupons. More details on the Running of the Boots are posted elsewhere on this site.

A slideshow of photos from the fifth Sitka Farmers Market is posted below, and a similar slideshow can be found on our Shutterfly site.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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High school exchange students dressed as aliens won the best group costume category in the 2009 costume contest

High school exchange students dressed as aliens won the best group costume category in the 2009 costume contest

It’s time to dig your XtraTufs out of the closet and paint them up. The 16th annual Running of the Boots takes place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25, at the Crescent Harbor shelter.

The Running of the Boots is part of the thid annual Season’s End Celebration, an event sponsored by the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Cruise Association that includes a free lunch for Sitka residents. The Chamber’s board donates money raised by the Running of the Boots to the Sitka Local Foods Network, the non-profit group that hosts the Sitka Farmers Market and advocates for community gardens, a community greenhouse, sustainable uses of traditional subsistence foods and education for Sitka gardeners.

The 2008 winner of the fastest boots award

The 2008 winner of the fastest boots award

So what is the Running of the Boots? It’s Southeast Alaska’s answer to Spain’s “Running of the Bulls.” But unlike the Pamplona spectacle, humans do the running in Sitka and they wear zany costumes and XtraTufs — Southeast Alaska’s distinctive rubber boots (aka, Sitka Sneakers). The entry fee for the Running of the Boots is $5 per person and $20 per family, and people can register for the race starting at 10 a.m. There is a lip synch contest after the race, which costs $10 to enter.

The Running of the Boots is a short race for fun and not for speed, even though one of the many prize categories is for the fastest boots. Categories include best dressed boots, zaniest costume, best couple, best kids group and many others. The course includes a loop around St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral before returning to Crescent Harbor for families with children, or a run from Crescent Harbor to the corner of Katlian and Lincoln streets and back for Sitka’s hardier souls.

“This event is the highlight of our Season’s End Celebration, after which Sitkans can partake of the Alaska Cruise Association’s free lunch,” said Sheila Finkenbinder, executive director of the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce. Finkenbinder started the ‘run’ 16 years ago, inspired by an idea from KCAW-Raven Radio general manager Ken Fate.

“This is a really fun way to advance the Sitka Farmers Market and our other Sitka Local Foods Network projects,” Sitka Local Foods Network President Kerry MacLane said. “And just like at the market, there will be live music by the Sitka Blues Band.”

To learn more about the Running of the Boots, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or by e-mail at maclanekerry@yahoo.com. Historical information about the race (through 2005) can be found online at http://www.runningoftheboots.org/. Info about the Sitka Local Foods Network and more recent Running of the Boots events (2008-09) is on this site (either click “Running of the Boots” under Categories in the right-hand column, or type “Running of the Boots” into the search engine at the very top of the page).

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