• FISH, Tree work groups set meetings to continue Sitka Health Summit project work

FISH (Fish In School, Hooray!) will hold an informal meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 1, at the front desk at the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center to make plans for its next school meal featuring locally  caught wild fish. The other local-food-related project from the 2010 Sitka Health Summit, the Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative, also has an upcoming meeting, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 9, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

The FISH project served its first special fish lunch at Blatchley Middle School in January, a red snapper fishwich. About 20 percent of the students chose the fish entrée (24 out of 120 lunches served), so the FISH group wants to look at ways they can better market the health and economic benefits of eating locally caught fish to the students. The informal meeting is scheduled during Tuesday’s open house/reopening event at Hames (5-7 p.m.) since many group members already were planning to attend the event. For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or maclanekerry@yahoo.com.

The Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative will be trying to set where it plans to plant fruit trees around Sitka later this spring, with the ultimate goal of planting 200 new apple, crabapple and cherry trees in Sitka. A brief description of the project is available in the document posted below. To learn more about the project, contact Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 747-5985 or 3akharts@acsalaska.net.

• Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative brief project description

• Alaskans Own™ community supported fisheries program expands from Sitka to Juneau

The Juneau Empire on Sunday, Jan. 23, featured an article that Sitka-based Alaskans Own™ seafood cooperative is expanding its Community Supported Fisheries program into Juneau this summer.

Last summer, Alaskans Own™ became the first community supported fisheries (CSF) program in Alaska, using a model popular with farmers called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) where customers buy a subscription and share in the harvest. In recent weeks there has been news that the Anchorage-based Alaska Marine Conservation Council is going to offer a CSF this year for Kodiak tanner crab, making it the second Alaska program to offer a CSF. With renewed emphasis on local foods, CSFs and CSAs are becoming very popular around the country since they help the customers connect directly with the harvesters.

Alaskans Own™ still is finalizing its plan for this year’s programs in Juneau and Sitka, with prices being set once the long-lining season opens in February and they see what the seafood market price ranges are for the year. Fish quantities may be limited, so Alaskans Own™ suggests signing up for subscriptions early. Full- and half-shares are available, with each share featuring a variety of salmon, halibut, black cod (sablefish), yellow-eye rockfish and other species. Alaskans Own™ also sells some fish during the Sitka Farmers Markets.

For more information, go to the Alaskans Own™ website, e-mail alaskansown@gmail.com, or call 738-3360 (Sitka) or 209-1187 (Juneau).

• Sitka Local Foods Network to host annual meeting and local foods potluck on Saturday, Jan. 29

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host its annual meeting and local foods potluck from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 29, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Building, 408 Marine St.

This event is free and open to all Sitka residents. The annual meeting portion of the program will feature an update on all of our current projects, including the two new local-foods-related projects that came out of the 2010 Sitka Health Summit (planting 200 fruit trees around town and getting more local fish in school lunches). We are gearing up for the annual Let’s Grow Sitka gardening education event on Sunday, March 20; the community garden season with work parties starting in April or May; and for the upcoming Sitka Farmers Market season starting in July. New volunteers always are appreciated.

We encourage everyone to bring a favorite dish that features local foods, such as venison steaks, grilled salmon, seafood chowder, freshly baked bread and salmonberry preserves, seaweed, herring eggs and vegetables from the garden. For more information, contact Linda Wilson at 747-3096 (evenings and weekends) or lawilson87@hotmail.com.

• Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative planting group to meet on Tuesday, Jan. 18

Apples are still on the tree in front of a house on Sawmill Creek Road in early December 2010.

Apples are still on the tree in front of a house on Sawmill Creek Road in early December 2010.

The Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative planting work group will meet from 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 18, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. All members of the public are welcome to attend.

The Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative hopes to plant 200 apple, crabapple or cherry trees in Sitka before the next Sitka Health Summit on Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2011. The group just turned in an order of 40 “project” apple trees — 30 Williams Pride and 10 Pristine — with Garden Ventures. Penny Brown, owner of Garden Ventures, also has an order of 60 fruit trees coming for her regular supply.

A key agenda item will be updating the list of possible locations to plant the fruit trees. Several local residents already have expressed interest in purchasing trees to grow in their yards, and the group has worked with local businesses, churches and other landowners to see if they are interested in trees.

The Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative continues to host fundraising events where Sitka residents can buy shares of fruit trees for $100 (full), $50 (half) or $25 (quarter). They also can buy shares in fruit-producing berry bushes ($25). The fruit tree shares make nice alternative gifts, and purchasers receive a certificate to give. To learn more, contact Lisa Sadleir-Hart of the Sitka Local Foods Network at 747-5985. The gift information brochure is posted below as a PDF file.

• Sitka Fruit Tree Project gift information brochure

• Sitka Local Foods Network seeks lead gardener for St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

The Sitka Local Foods Network is looking to contract with a lead gardener for the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden this spring and summer.

The person who’s selected will help manage the network’s activities at the community garden, lead the planting parties this spring and coordinate routine maintenance (watering, harvesting, weeding, etc.) at the garden this summer. Vegetables grown at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm are sold at the Sitka Farmers Markets, with some crops also being donated to charitable groups in need of fresh fruits and vegetables. St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm is a communal garden located behind the See House behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church, 611 Lincoln Street.

Details about the job duties and pay can be found on the Sitka Local Foods Network website (see PDF file below), http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/. If you are interested in the lead gardener contract, please submit a resume with two local gardening references and a letter of interest by Saturday, Feb. 5th, to 3akharts@acsalaska.net. For more information about the position, contact Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 747-5985 or Doug Osborne at 747-3752.

• St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm lead gardener job details (opens as PDF document)