• Sitka Community Food Assessment project launches community survey to look at food security and resiliency in Sitka

SitkaCommunityFoodAssessmentLogo

OnepagerFinalThe Sitka Community Food Assessment work group is encouraging Sitkans to complete a 36-question survey that explores questions about local, wild food, seafood, game and plants (i.e., how do you fish, hunt, gather and/or grow). It also explores issues of food security, as well as where folks shop and how much food they store.

The data collected will augment data coming from our secondary data collection efforts, which focuses on sport and subsistence harvest data for fish and game,  as well as data on food assistance programs, food producers and food costs. It also will include focus group data that we will be gathering over the next 4-6 weeks.

FoodAssessmentDefsCollectively, the work group hopes to present the findings at a Sitka Food Summit that will take place in November 2013. Then the group will begin strategic planning to address our issues and improve food access for all Sitkans.

A link to the survey can be found on the Sitka Community Food Assessment page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SitkaCommunityFoodAssessment), or by going directly to the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MQTF22Q.

Paper copies of the survey are available at the Kettleson Memorial Library.  The survey is open through the end of April.  For more information, email sitkafoodassessment@gmail.com. This is one of three community wellness projects voted on for this year by Sitka residents attending the 2012 Sitka Health Summit.

• Sitka Community Food Assessment one-page fact sheet

• Sitka Community Food Assessment food security definitions

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• Sitka Local Foods Network to host March 26 meeting to discuss Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center

Sitka residents interested in building a Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center pose with Shane Smith of the Cheyenne, Wyo., Botanic Gardens (front row, second from right) after he spoke at a March 12, 2013, meeting about the greenhouse.

Sitka residents interested in building a Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center pose with Shane Smith of the Cheyenne, Wyo., Botanic Gardens (front row, second from right) after he spoke at a March 12, 2013, meeting about the greenhouse.

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a meeting from 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, at Harrigan Centennial Hall to continue discussions about creating a Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center.

The construction of a community greenhouse will help Sitka increase its access to fresh, locally grown produce all year round. The greenhouse also will serve as an education center, helping local residents learn about what it takes to grow fruits and veggies in Sitka, Alaska. This was a Sitka Health Summit project from 2008 that recently regained momentum.

The group currently is looking to build a 30-foot-by-52-foot greenhouse, possibly at the Sheldon Jackson Campus near the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center. Other locations are being considered, but this has been the best potential offer of a site since the start of the project. To learn more, contact Doug Osborne at 966-8734 or Kerry MacLane at 752-0654.

• Help prepare St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm for spring planting and a summer of fresh veggies

StPetersSignWithToDoListSignIt’s still a little cold to be planting outdoors, but it’s warm enough to start getting the garden ready.

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host two work parties, from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, and from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, to help get the garden beds ready at the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden (located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on Lincoln Street). Produce grown at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm is sold during the Sitka Farmers Markets to help fund Sitka Local Foods Network projects throughout the year.

During these work parties we will need people to shovel dirt and sift soil, among other jobs. For those wanting to do lighter work, we need people to weed, mulch and spread fertilizer (seaweed) on the existing garden beds. Most garden tools will be provided, but we will need people to bring shovels and pick-axes if they have them.

For more information, contact St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm lead gardener Laura Schmidt at 623-7003 or 738-7009, or contact Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 747-5985. We will start planting the gardens in May, once we’re past the final freeze.

• Sitka Local Foods Network to host March 12 meeting to discuss Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center

Shane-SmithAre you interested in helping Sitka increase its access to fresh, locally grown produce all year round? The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a gathering from 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12, at Harrigan Centennial Hall to discuss plans for the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center.

Building a community greenhouse and education center was a community wellness goal from the 2008 Sitka Health Summit, but over the years there were a few problems (usually with securing land) bringing the project to fruition. It now appears the Sitka Fine Arts Camp will allow us to build a 30-foot–by-52-foot greenhouse on the Sheldon Jackson Campus, next to the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center. This is the closest we’ve come to being able to start building a greenhouse.

In addition to the availability of land, we have been offered locally harvested wood to build the greenhouse frame, which will be modeled after another successful greenhouse built near Sitka in 2011.

Please join us on Tuesday to learn more about this exciting project. In addition, Shane Smith, the executive director and founder of the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Botanic Gardens and author of the Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion, will be at the meeting to provide advice based on his experiences building a similar project. Shane Smith also will give a presentation on greenhouses and high tunnels from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus Room 229, and he’ll have a booth at the Let’s Grow Sitka garden education event from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian St.

“The Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center would be a tremendous asset to our town and we’ve never been closer to making that dream become a reality,” Sitka Local Foods Network President Kerry MacLane said.  “Having Shane’s expertise and guidance to draw from just puts us that much closer to making this happen this year.”

For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654.

• Optimistic Gardeners: What to do with a bumper crop? The UAF Cooperative Extension Service can help

SarahLewisGreetings, Sitka. My name is Sarah Lewis and I’m the new Home, Health and Family Development Agent for the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service. My home is in Juneau, but my district is all of Southeast.

On Sunday, March 10, I’ll be in Sitka to participate in the Let’s Grow Sitka garden education event. But I won’t be there to give you tips on how to grow abundant food — fine Master Gardeners and other local and national experts will be on hand do that. I’m coming to motivate you! I have so much confidence in the gardeners of Sitka that my job is to prepare you for your bumper crops. Imagine winter meals with food stored and preserved from your garden.

I will have information about preparing and safely preserving your harvest, and I’ll have a pressure canning gauge tester on hand to test your gauges. I’ll have information about a wide range of vegetables and how you can enjoy them over the summer and even after your garden has been put to rest for the winter.

I look forward to coming to Sitka regularly in the coming years, and welcome calls and emails from Sitkans with questions about food (preparation, preservation, safety, and entrepreneurship), home resource use and conservation (energy, food, finances, and consumer goods), and family emergency preparedness. I’m here to assist individuals and support agencies and groups in their own work, with Cooperative Extension classes, information, and publications.

Please stop by the Let’s Grow Sitka event from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, at the ANB Founders Hall at 235 Katlian. Come chat with me, bring your questions and ideas, and take advantage of all the resources Let’s Grow Sitka will have to offer.

And always feel free to contact me at 907-796-6241 or sarah.lewis@alaska.edu at the UAF Cooperative Extension Service office in Juneau.

• Sitka Local Foods Network seeks manager and co-manager for 2013 Sitka Farmers Markets

SitkaFarmersMarketSignThe Sitka Local Foods Network is looking for a manager and co-manager to coordinate the 2013 Sitka Farmers Markets this summer. These are contract positions, and the manager and co-manager (who reports to the manager) receive small stipends for their work organizing the six scheduled farmers markets this summer.

This is the sixth year of operation for the Sitka Farmers Market, which features six markets from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every other Saturday from July through September at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (this year’s dates are July 6, 20, Aug. 3, 17, 31, and Sept. 14). SLFNGroupwLindaThe farmers markets feature booths from local farmers/gardeners, local fishermen, and artisans and craftspeople. These events are great Sitka gathering places, and we promote local foods and other local goods at them.

A detailed description of the market manager duties can be found at the link below. For more information or to submit applications, contact Maybelle Filler at 747-2761 or 738-2761, or e-mail the Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors at sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com. The market manager of the Sitka Farmers Market reports to the Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors.

• Description of duties for market manager of the Sitka Farmers Market Manager (2013)

• Sitka Local Foods Network recruiting two new board members and other volunteers

The 2011-12 Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors at its winter board retreat on Dec. 3, 2011. From left are Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Doug Osborne, Maybelle Filler, Cathy Lieser, Robin Grewe, Linda Wilson and Kerry MacLane. Not pictured is Tom Crane.

The 2011-12 Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors at its winter board retreat on Dec. 3, 2011. From left are Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Doug Osborne, Maybelle Filler, Cathy Lieser, Robin Grewe, Linda Wilson and Kerry MacLane. Not pictured is Tom Crane.

Are you concerned about increasing access to local food for all Sitka residents? Are you concerned about rising food prices in Sitka, or do you want to advocate for more community gardens in Sitka?

Then consider joining the board of directors for the Sitka Local Foods Network for the 2012-13 fiscal year. Two board members are needed as soon as possible.

Board members help direct the Sitka Local Foods Network, a non-profit that promotes the harvest and use of local food in Sitka. In addition to setting the focus of the group, board members also help on a wide variety of projects such as the Sitka Farmers Market, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, Blatchley Community Garden, Let’s Grow Sitka, the Sick-A-Waste compost project, the Sitka Community Food Assessment project, Sitka Fish-To-Schools, other school education projects and more.

To apply for a spot on the board, please fill out the attached application and submit it to sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.org. For more information, contact Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 747-5985.

We also are looking to increase our pool of volunteers who will help out during the various projects hosted by the network each year (no formal application needed, just send us your name/contact info and what types of projects you enjoy).

The next Sitka Local Foods Network board meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalists Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St.). The board meets from 6:30-8 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month, except during the summer when board members are busy working with the Sitka Farmers Market and St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden.

• Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors application