• Skagway Garden Club hosts Southeast Alaska Garden Conference on July 19-21

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The Skagway Garden Club will host the Southeast Alaska Garden Conference on July 19-21 at various locations in Skagway, Alaska. The cot for the conference is $99.

The keynote speaker will be Garden Writers of America Hall of Fame member  Jeff Lowenfels, longtime garden columnist with the Anchorage Daily News and the author of the books “Teaming With Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web” and “Teaming With Nutrients: The Organic Gardeners Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition.” Lowenfels also was the founder of the “Plant A Row for the Hungry” (aka PAR) program that has provided more than 14 million meals for the hungry, and he is former president of the Garden Writers of America.

Garden enthusiasts will be thrilled at the selection of topics ranging from gardening for Alaska’s pollinators to cooking with local edibles through the science behind the process of composting. The conference will have activities for kids and tours of Skagway’s finest gardens and historic garden sites, which includes the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park’s Herbarium.

The conference includes a Friday evening opening reception at the Red Onion’s Bombay Room; Keynote and Saturday program at the Arctic Brotherhood Hall; Saturday continental breakfast; garden tours; lunch at the Westmark Hotel featuring Laurie Constantino, author of  “Tastes Like Home: Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska;” glassblowing demonstration and dinner at Jewell Gardens; and Sunday workshops. This year’s conference is hosted by the Skagway Garden Club and sponsored by the Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau.

• Master schedule for the 2013 Southeast Alaska Garden Conference

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• Invasive and damaging insect, the green alder sawfly, found in Sitka

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GreenAlderSawflyLarvaFor the first time, an invasive insect called the green alder sawfly (Monsoma pulveratum) has been found in Sitka. This insect is considered a danger to alder trees in Sitka and other Southeast wetlands.

“Several days ago a positive identification has been made on the green alder sawfly in Sitka,” Bob Gorman, resource development faculty with the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, wrote in an e-mail sent to Sitka and Southeast gardeners, “This invasive, exotic insect has defoliated alder trees in Anchorage and surrounding areas. It is a potentially serious threat to alder in southeast Alaska. The attached fact sheet (linked at the bottom of this post) provides details on the green alder sawfly. Distribute this information as you see fit. Thanks.”

The green alder sawfly is native to Europe and North Africa, and its preferred diet is European gray alder. It was first reported in North America in 1995 in Newfoundland, Canada. In 2004 it was first collected in Alaska near Palmer. Since 2007, the green alder sawfly has been documented defoliating thin-leaf alder (Alnus glutinosa) in numerous locations in Southcentral Alaska, eliminating alder in some watersheds. The green alder sawfly has been found in red alder (Alnus rubra) trees along Sawmill Creek Road, Halibut Point Road and Jarvis Street.

On Friday, KCAW-Raven Radio aired a story about the green alder sawfly with more details from Gorman and USDA Forest Service entomologist Liz Graham, who flew to Sitka from Juneau after Gorman sent her photos of the insect’s caterpillars.

Please report any known or suspected infestations of green alder sawfly to the Sitka office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service by calling 747-9440 or stopping by the office located in Room 122 at University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus. GPS (global positioning system) coordinates of known locations of the green alder sawfly will help in determining the extent of this insect, which probably overwintered in Sitka.

• Green Alder Sawfly: A Threat to Sitka and Southeast Watersheds flier from the UAF Cooperative Extension Service

 

• Scenes from the first Sitka Farmers Market of the summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK Sitka Farmers Market Manager Bridget Kauffman, left, and co-managers Garrett Bauer, second from left, and Sabrina Cimerol, right, present the Table Of The Day Award to Erin Keenan of Bear Buns. Erin makes cloth diapers and similar products for babies. She received a gift bag with fresh produce, chocolate and a copy of the Alaska Farmers Market Cookbook. This is the sixth year of Sitka Farmers Markets, hosted by the Sitka Local Foods Network. The next market is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian St. For more information about the Sitka Farmers Markets and Sitka Local Foods Network, go to http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
Sitka Farmers Market Manager Bridget Kauffman, left, and co-managers Garrett Bauer, second from left, and Sabrina Cimerol, right, present the Table Of The Day Award to Erin Keenan of Bear Buns during the first market of the summer on July 6 at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall. Erin makes cloth diapers and similar products for babies. She received a gift bag with fresh produce, chocolate and a copy of the Alaska Farmers Market Cookbook. This is the sixth year of Sitka Farmers Markets, hosted by the Sitka Local Foods Network. The next market is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, at the ANB Founders Hall, 235 Katlian St. For more information about the Sitka Farmers Markets and Sitka Local Foods Network, go to http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/.

SitkaFarmersMarketSignThe Sitka Farmers Market kicked off its sixth season on Saturday, July 6, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian St.

We lucked into a break in the rain and there was a pretty good crowd for the first market of the season. We had a lot of familiar booths selling fresh veggies, fish, baked goods, arts and crafts, plus some new faces joining the vendors.

The second market of the six planned this summer will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, at ANB Founders Hall. To learn more, keep watching this site. A slideshow of scenes from the first market is below.

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• Gov. Parnell signs executive order creating the Alaska Food Resource Working Group

AlaskaFoodPolicyCouncilLogoThe following is a note sent to members of the Alaska Food Policy Council listserv by Diane Peck, MPH, RD, a public health nutritionist with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Obesity Prevention and Control Program. Diane also is one of the lead contacts for the Alaska Food Policy Council.

Last Friday (June 28, 2013), at the Palmer Farmers Market, Gov. Sean Parnell signed Administrative Order No. 265 (http://gov.state.ak.us/admin-orders/265.html) to establish the Alaska Food Resource Working Group (AFRWG) to recommend policies and measures to increase the purchase and consumption of local wild seafood and farm products. This is a bit different than HCR 01. The AFRWG is composed of eight state agency commissioners or their designee. “The AFRWG shall collaborate with the Alaska Food Policy Council . . . and shall invite a member of the AFPC governing board to represent the AFPC at scheduled meetings.”

The goals of the group are:

  • Develop a mission statement that promotes increased use of locally grown and harvested foods within state and local agencies, institutions, and schools;
  • Identify factors that might discourage or prevent locally harvested and produced food from being purchased by federal, state and local agencies, institutions, and schools;
  • Review existing or proposed programs, policies, statutes, and regulations that impact the state’s food system and recommend to policymakers methods to improve coordination and implementation;
  • Identify research needed to support and encourage increased consumption and production of local foods within the state; and
  • Engage with the public to seek additional input on ways to promote the above-listed goals.

Lots of legislators and several commissioners were at the signing.  The governor said this elevates the group to “sub-cabinet” status.

To learn more about the Alaska Food Policy Council, go to its website or like its Facebook page. Sitka Local Foods Network board president Lisa Sadleir-Hart represents Sitka on the Alaska Food Policy Council.

• Alaska Food Policy Council press release about the executive order