• Sitka Local Foods Network hosts annual meeting and potluck dinner on Saturday, Jan. 21

Please join the Sitka Local Foods Network for its annual meeting and potluck dinner at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking lot is off Spruce Street).

Join us as we honor our four years of existence and prepare for our fifth year. During this time, the Sitka Local Foods Network has worked on several initiatives — creating the Sitka Farmers Market, building St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, hosting the Let’s Grow Sitka! garden education event, and more. We supported projects to plant more fruit trees around Sitka, get more local fish served in school lunches and increase Sitka’s ability to compost, and we are working toward starting the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center. We also received a 501(c)(3) non-profit status from the IRS, so people can make tax-deductible gifts to help fund our work.

Our annual meeting and potluck is open to the public, and all Sitka residents are welcome to attend. We will feature local and slow foods, but we really value your attendance. This is our opportunity to say thank you to those who have helped us grow, and it is your chance to learn more about what we’re doing and how you can help.

As we enter 2012, Sitka and the rest of Alaska face some serious food security issues. According to a recent survey by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, the weekly cost for food for a family of four in Sitka has gone up 44 percent over the past five years. With rising fuel prices, this trend does not figure to change in the near future. Sitka still imports about 90-95 percent of its food from the Lower 48 or other countries, which means transportation is a big part of our food cost. The Sitka Local Foods Network is looking for input from Sitka residents about how we can work to improve Sitka’s food security. We also are working with the Alaska Food Policy Council, which is a statewide organization working on food security issues.

So mark your calendar to attend our annual meeting and potluck dinner at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, 408 Marine St. For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654.