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Archive for September, 2011

It’s time to dig your XtraTufs out of the closet and gussy them up. The 17th annual Running of the Boots takes place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Crescent Harbor shelter. And this year people who “Bike to the Boots” can receive a free bike safety check before the race.

So what is the Running of the Boots? It’s Southeast Alaska’s answer to Spain’s “Running of the Bulls.” Sitkans wear zany costumes and XtraTufs — Southeast Alaska’s distinctive rubber boots (aka, Sitka Sneakers). The Running of the Boots raises funds for the Sitka Local Foods Network, a 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.

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

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. Other prize categories include best-dressed boots, zaniest costume, best couple, best kids group and more. The course involves a run from Crescent Harbor to the corner of Katlian and Lincoln streets and back, with a short course for kids looping around St. Michael’s Cathedral. 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. Costume judging starts about 10:30 a.m. There is a lip synch contest after the race, which costs $10 to enter. Local merchants have donated bushels of prizes for the costume and lip synch contests, including a new pair of XtraTufs. The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a Sitka Farmers Market booth with fresh veggies for sale. Grilled black cod and crépes also will be available.

The “Bike to the Boots” event was added this year as part of the national 350.org “Moving Planet: A Day to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels” event on Sept. 24 promoting community sustainability. A bike station will be set up at 10 a.m. at Crescent Harbor Shelter, and people can pump air into their tires, oil their chains, get a safety check, receive info about bicycle safety rules and more. There also will be booths about Sitka environmental issues, the importance of local food and how to reduce our use of fossil fuels.

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

“This is a really fun way to advance the Sitka Farmers Market and our other Sitka Local Foods Network projects,” Sitka Local Foods Network Board President Kerry MacLane said. “The ‘Bike to the Boots’ event will add a fun new twist to the Running of the Boots, while helping remind people about how much fossil fuel is used to bring food to Sitka from thousands of miles away.”

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/, and info about the Sitka Local Foods Network and more recent Running of the Boots events (2008-10) is online at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/.

• 2011 Running Of The Boots flier (feel free to print this PDF and hang copies around town)

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The Fish to Schools program will kick off this year’s schedule of serving fish lunches at school on Wednesday, Sept. 14.

Local fish lunches will be served every second and fourth Wednesday of the month at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary and Blatchley Middle School as a hot lunch option. This is a Sitka Health Summit project that got started last year with once-a-month fish meals at Blatchley, so this is a major expansion of the program. The goal is to get more wild, local fish into school lunches.

These fresh and tasty meals will be prepared with locally caught fish donated by Seafood Producers Cooperative and Sitka Sound Seafoods. Encourage your children to eat healthy and choose fish for lunch. It’s yummy and good for you.

Sitka Conservation Society Community Sustainability Organizer Tracy Gagnon was interviewed about the program on Aug. 22 on KCAW-Raven Radio, and you can listen to the interview at this link. For more information about the project, contact Tracy at 747-7509 or tracy@sitkawild.org.

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Sitka Conservation Society Community Sustainability Organizer Tracy Gagnon holds a flier introducing a new 4H club for Sitka.

Sitka Conservation Society Community Sustainability Organizer Tracy Gagnon holds a flier introducing a new 4H club for Sitka.

The Sitka Conservation Society and Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will host an organizational meeting for a new Sitka 4H club from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13, at Room 215 at the University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka Campus.

4H is a national youth development organization that empowers young people to reach their full potential. In Alaska, the 4H program is part of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service. There used to be a 4H club in Sitka many years ago, but that club ceased operations. More information about the new Sitka 4H club can be found by clicking here.

The Sitka Conservation Society is working with the UAF Cooperative Extension Service to start a new club that will focus on Alaska way-of-life traditions, including but not limited to fishing, gardening, food preservation, baking, hiking and survival skills. Join in the harvest by learning to catch, hunt and grow your own food with other Sitka families. This program is organized by the families involved and led by parent volunteers.

The organizational meeting on Sept. 13 will discuss program logistics. Contact Tracy Gagnon at 747-7509 or tracy@sitkawild.org for more information. An RSVP is appreciated.

• Sitka 4H club registration/interest flier

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The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a seed-saving workshop with James David Sneed from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11, at Sprucecot Gardens (308 Peterson).

This free workshop will cover basic seed saving concepts and include hands-on practice with peas, radishes, beans, squash and grains. Information will be provided for those interested in saving seed from the cabbage (kale, broccoli), carrot and beet families.

Learn how to save seed and prepare for next season’s garden.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK  Sitka Local Foods Network board vice president Linda Wilson, left, and former SLFN board member Lynnda Strong, right, present Amanda Hershberg, owner of The Cupcake Bar by Twinflower Sugar Craft, with the Table of the Day Award from the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the season on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall. The prize included fresh produce, preserves and a set of Alaska Grown tote bags. The fifth and final Sitka Farmers Market of the season is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, at ANB Hall (235 Katlian St.). There will be a smaller market held as part of the annual Running of the Boots fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network on Sept. 24 at the Crescent Harbor Shelter.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK Sitka Local Foods Network board vice president Linda Wilson, left, and former SLFN board member Lynnda Strong, right, present Amanda Hershberg, owner of The Cupcake Bar by Twinflower Sugar Craft, with the Table of the Day Award from the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the season on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall. The prize included fresh produce, preserves and a set of Alaska Grown tote bags. The fifth and final Sitka Farmers Market of the season is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, at ANB Hall (235 Katlian St.). There will be a smaller market held as part of the annual Running of the Boots fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network on Sept. 24 at the Crescent Harbor Shelter.

Be sure to attend the fifth and final Sitka Farmers Market of the summer, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall (235 Katlian St.).

This will be the last of five full Sitka Farmers Markets this summer, with the schedule running on alternate Saturdays (July 16, 30, Aug. 13, 27 and Sept. 10). There will be a small market as part of the Running of the Boots fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network on Sept. 24 at the Crescent Harbor shelter.

The markets feature local seafood (fresh, frozen, and cooked, ready to eat), locally grown and harvested fruits and vegetables, baked bread, locally picked berries, jams and jellies, cooking demonstrations, live entertainment, locally brewed and roasted coffee, music, local arts and crafts, and a variety of other items gathered or made in Sitka. We emphasize local products and lots of fun. We are the first farmers market in Southeast Alaska to accept WIC coupons.

For more information about the market or hosting a booth, contact Sitka Farmers Market Manager Linda Wilson at 747-3096 (evenings or weekends) or lawilson87@hotmail.com. By the way, we always need volunteers to help set up and take down the market before and after the event.

Also, any family gardeners with extra produce to donate or sell during the Sept. 10 Sitka Farmers Market, please contact Linda Wilson. Due to the recent rainy weather, some of our usual gardeners are low on produce for the markets. Your help is greatly appreciated.

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The Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors will hold its monthly meeting from 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8, at the Sitka Local Foods Network’s new office in the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Building, 408 Marine St.

Key topics for the meeting include the Sitka Farmers Markets this summer, the Running of the Boots fundraiser on Sept. 24, an update on St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, other garden projects in town (Sprucecott Garden with high tunnels/hoop houses, Blatchley Community Gardem), educational projects, Food Day on Oct. 24, the Sitka Health Summit on Sept. 29-Oct. 1, an update on the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center, a report on a possible meeting and board training with the Foraker Group, our new logo and t-shirts, and more.

Board meetings are free and open to the general public. We always welcome new volunteers interested in helping out with our various projects. For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654.

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A group of kids harvests garlic during an Aug. 12, 2011, work party at St. Peter's Fellowship Farm.

A group of kids harvests garlic during an Aug. 12, 2011, work party at St. Peter's Fellowship Farm.

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host two family friendly harvests of root vegetables at 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, and at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm (behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on Lincoln Street).

The picking parties are to help get root vegetables ready to sell at the fifth Sitka Farmers Market of the summer, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall (235 Katlian St.). This is the last full Sitka Farmers Market of the summer (a small market will be held Sept. 24 at Crescent Harbor shelter in conjunction with the Running of the Boots fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network).

On Friday, volunteers will help St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm lead gardener Laura Schmidt dig up potatoes and pull root crops such as carrots, turnips and garlic. The rest of the crops, such as lettuce, kale, rhubarb and other veggies, will be harvested on Saturday. The picking parties are family friendly and kids are encouraged to participate. Volunteers should wear appropriate clothing for the weather. Work gloves and garden tools are available at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm.

For additional information, contact Laura Schmidt at 623-7003 or 738-7009.

Also, any family gardeners with extra produce to donate or sell during the Sept. 10 Sitka Farmers Market, please contact Linda Wilson at 747-3096 (nights, weekends) or lawilson87@hotmail.com. Due to the recent rainy weather, some of our usual gardeners are low on produce for the markets.

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