• Sitka Local Foods Network to host board of directors meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 3 (Meeting changed to Monday, Sept. 9)

The 2013 Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors, from left, Jack Ozment, Beth Kindig, Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Tess Giant, William Giant, Linda Wilson, and Milt Fusselman. Not pictured are Cathy Lieser and Maybelle Filler.

The 2013 Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors, from left, Jack Ozment, Beth Kindig, Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Tess Giant, William Giant, Linda Wilson, and Milt Fusselman. Not pictured are Cathy Lieser and Maybelle Filler.

Now that the summer is winding down, the Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 3, at the Sitka Economic Development Association (SEDA) conference room (329 Lincoln St., Suite 212, in the Troutt Building, enter off Lincoln Street using the stairway next to Seasons Cards and Gifts). Please note that this is a change from our normal board meeting location, now that we have an expanded board of directors. (NOTE, due to schedule conflicts and illness, this meeting was postponed until Monday, Sept. 9, at the same times and location)

This is the board’s first monthly meeting since June, and the meeting is expected to last until 8:30 p.m. A preliminary budget meeting takes place at 6:15 p.m. Board president Lisa Sadleir-Hart will lead the meeting.

Key topics include the Sitka Farmers Market, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, Blatchley Community Gardens, the Sitka Community Food Assessment, the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center, the Alaska Food Policy Council, the Running of the Boots fundraiser on Sept. 28 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.

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• Scenes from the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the 2013 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK Sitka Farmers Market Interim Manager Garrett Bauer, left, and Co-Manager Francis Wegman-Lawless, right, present the Table Of The Day Award to Peter Apathy and Carole Knuth of Reindeer Redhots at the fourth market of the season on Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall in Sitka. Peter and Carole sell Alaska-made reindeer and all-beef hot dogs and Polish sausage, with sauerkraut and chili sides from their cart, which is open at the corner of Lincoln and Lake streets on most big cruise ship days (http://reindeerredhots.com/). They received a gift bag with fresh produce, fresh rhubarb jam 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, Aug. 31, 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 Interim Manager Garrett Bauer, left, and Co-Manager Francis Wegman-Lawless, right, present the Table Of The Day Award to Peter Apathy and Carole Knuth of Reindeer Redhots at the fourth market of the season on Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall in Sitka. Peter and Carole sell Alaska-made reindeer and all-beef hot dogs and Polish sausage, with sauerkraut and chili sides from their cart, which is open at the corner of Lincoln and Lake streets on most big cruise ship days (http://reindeerredhots.com/). They received a gift bag with fresh produce, fresh rhubarb jam 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, Aug. 31, 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/.

SitkaFarmersMarketSignThe fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the 2013 summer took place on Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian St.

For the first time this summer, we had to deal with a bit of rain during the market, but the downpour was only temporary. We still had a decent crowd, and there were even a few new booths.

The fifth Sitka Farmers Market of the season takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31, at ANB Founders Hall. To learn more, watch this site for updates. A slideshow with scenes from the fourth market is below.

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• Sitka’s ‘Fish To Schools’ program puts out call to commercial fishermen for donations

Fishermen_Donation_Updated Aug2013

The Fish To Schools program in Sitka has put out the call looking for donations of commercially caught fish for the upcoming school year. Donations are being accepted from Aug. 18-25 at Sitka Sound Seafoods and Seafood Producers Cooperative. (NOTE, the time period for donations has been extended. Please call the numbers below to see if more fish still is needed.)

SCS-031_smFishToSchoolsTacoThe Sitka Fish To Schools project (click here to see short video) got its start as a community wellness project at the 2010 Sitka Health Summit, and now is managed by the Sitka Conservation Society. It started by providing a monthly fish dish as part of the school lunch as Blatchley Middle School, and since then has grown to feature regular fish dishes as part of the lunch programs at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School, Blatchley Middle School, Sitka High School, Pacific High School (where the alternative high school students cook the meals themselves) and Mount Edgecumbe High School.

In addition to serving locally caught fish meals as part of the school lunch program, the Fish To Schools program also brings local fishermen, fisheries biologists and chefs to the classroom to teach the kids about the importance of locally caught fish in Sitka. The program received an innovation award from the Alaska Farm To Schools program during a community celebration dinner in May 2012, and now serves as a model for other school districts from coastal fishing communities.

Due to state regulations, the Sitka Fish To Schools program can only accept donations of fish that have been commercially caught, and it cannot accept fish from sport or subsistence fishermen. The donation period is timed with the coho salmon season, and fishermen can get more information or pledge a donation by contacting Beth Short-Rhodes at 738-9942 or elianise@yahoo.com.

For more information about the Fish To Schools program, contact Tracy Gagnon at the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509 or tracy@sitkawild.org.

• Daily Sitka Sentinel features Keith Nyitray with his winning cabbage from the Sitka ‘state’ Fair

BIG PRODUCE – Sitka gardener Keith Nyitray arranges the leaves on his 17-pound cabbage Sunday during the second annual Sitka “State” Fair at Harrigan Centennial Hall. The cabbage earned a blue ribbon at the fair, which had categories for vegetables, jams, hobbies, crafts, photography and spam hors d’oeuvres, among others. The event included music by the SitNiks and performances by Celtic dancers. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

BIG PRODUCE – Sitka gardener Keith Nyitray arranges the leaves on his 17-pound cabbage Sunday during the second annual Sitka “State” Fair at Harrigan Centennial Hall. The cabbage earned a blue ribbon at the fair, which had categories for vegetables, jams, hobbies, crafts, photography and Spam hors d’oeuvres, among others. The event included music by the SitNiks and performances by Celtic dancers. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

The Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel included a photo of local gardener Keith Nyitray with his winning cabbage from the Sitka “state” Fair held Sunday, Aug. 11, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

The second annual Sitka “state” Fair was hosted by the Greater Sitka Arts Council. More details about the event and some of its contests can be found here.

• KCAW-Raven Radio reports on how Sitka residents can double down on EBT benefits at the Sitka Farmers Market

Mira Vale staffs the EBT Quest Card table at the Aug. 3, 2013, Sitka Farmers Market

Mira Vale staffs the Alaska Quest Card/EBT benefits table at the Aug. 3, 2013, Sitka Farmers Market

The Friday, Aug. 9, 2013, newscast on KCAW-Raven Radio featured a story about how Sitka residents on food stamps can double their Alaska Quest Card/EBT benefits at the Sitka Farmers Market.

The Alaska Quest Card is an EBT, or Electronic Benefits Transfer, program that helps people on food stamps pay for food at local grocery stores. Their monthly EBT benefits are loaded onto their Alaska Quest Card, and an amount is deducted from the card each time they buy food.

Starting last year, the Sitka Farmers Market joined several Alaska farmers markets in accepting Alaska Quest Cards/EBT benefits, and this year the number of markets accepting EBT has grown to 11 markets in Alaska. Since many farmers market vendors aren’t set up to accept charge cards, people on EBT benefits can use their cards to buy tokens (wooden nickels) at a booth at the Sitka Farmers Market, and they then can use the tokens to purchase fresh food from participating vendors.

The Alaska Quest Card/EBT booth also sells a second type of token that people not on EBT benefits can use to purchase food and other items (including arts and crafts) from participating vendors. This second token allows vendors who aren’t set up for credit/debit cards to still make sales.

Kerry MacLane uses a token to purchase produce from Sitka Farmers Market vendor Keith Nyitray during the Aug. 3, 2013, Sitka Farmers Market.

Kerry MacLane uses a token to purchase produce from Sitka Farmers Market vendor Keith Nyitray during the Aug. 3, 2013, Sitka Farmers Market.

The KCAW story focused on Sitka resident Stacie Joseph, who uses EBT benefits to help pay for her food for her four kids while she attends school. Because of a grant from the state, various Alaska farmers markets are able to provide double the benefits for people using EBT benefits. For example, if someone wants to use $20 of their EBT benefits, they’ll receive $40 worth of tokens. Joseph said the doubled benefits mean that in addition to providing healthy fresh produce for her family, she can have more money available to use on her health management classes at the University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka Campus, helping her improve her earning potential.

“This program improves access to fresh, local foods to community members who are struggling financially.  Additionally, the program helps increase understanding of food insecurity issues in our community and how produce and other food vendors can be part of the solution,” said Lisa Sadlier-Hart, president of the Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors, which hosts the Sitka Farmers Markets.

• Scenes from the third Sitka Farmers Market of the season and the Sitka Seafood Festival

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK Sitka Farmers Market Co-Managers Garrett Bauer, left, and Sabrina Cimerol, right, present the Table Of The Day Award to Pat Hanson of Hanson Baked Goods at the third market of the season on Saturday, Aug. 3, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall in Sitka. Pat sells home-baked bread, cinnamon rolls and other treats at the markets. She received a gift bag with fresh produce, fresh rhubarb jam 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, Aug. 17, 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 Co-Managers Garrett Bauer, left, and Sabrina Cimerol, right, present the Table Of The Day Award to Pat Hanson of Hanson Baked Goods at the third market of the season on Saturday, Aug. 3, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall in Sitka. Pat sells home-baked bread, cinnamon rolls and other treats at the markets. She received a gift bag with fresh produce, fresh rhubarb jam 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, Aug. 17, 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/.

SitkaFarmersMarketSignOn Saturday, Aug. 3, Sitka had not one, but two major local foods events in town — the third Sitka Farmers Market of the season at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall and the fourth annual Sitka Seafood Festival at the Sheldon Jackson Campus.

ssflogo2The Sitka Farmers Market was a little bit smaller than normal because some vendors had booths at the Sitka Seafood Festival, but there still was a decent crowd, especially after the early morning rain ended and the weather cleared up. There were a couple of vendors who had booths at both events.

The Sitka Seafood Festival, which had events from Thursday to Sunday, Aug. 1-4, opened Saturday morning with a parade from Totem Square to Sheldon Jackson Campus, where most of Saturday’s events took place. Both events featured local food, arts and crafts, and entertainment.

The fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the six planned this summer will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, at ANB Founders Hall. To learn more, keep watching this site. A slideshow of scenes from the third Sitka Farmers Market of the season is below, with a slideshow from the Sitka Seafood Festival below that.

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Sitka Farmers Market slideshow

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Sitka Seafood Festival slideshow

• Gardening work parties continue at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm

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StPetersSignWithToDoListSignAre you interested in meeting other Sitka gardeners and learning about how to grow food in Sitka’s rainy climate? Then join us for garden work parties at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm.

St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm is located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on Katlian Street (the brown church with the steeple above Crescent Harbor). It is a communal garden that grows food to be sold at the Sitka Farmers Markets and used for various hunger programs around town.

Garden work parties take place from 2-4 p.m. on the Saturdays when we don’t have a Sitka Farmers Market, and from 4:30-6 p.m. on the Wednesdays right after our markets. The remaining Sitka Farmers Markets this year are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, Aug. 17, Aug. 31, and Sept. 14, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall.

That means there will be garden work parties at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm from 2-4 p.m. on Saturdays, Aug. 10, Aug. 24, Sept. 7, and Sept. 21. In addition, there are a few Wednesday afternoon work parties from 4:30-6 p.m. on Aug. 7, Aug. 21, and Sept. 4.

Garden work party duties include weeding, trimming plants, picking slugs, planting late-summer and fall crops, and harvesting. During the work parties, people are able to purchase ripe crops, and Alaska Quest electronic benefit transfer cards are accepted for people on food stamps. The work parties are kid-friendly, so feel free to bring the munchkins to help.

To learn more, call St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm lead gardener Laura Schmidt at 738-7009 or 623-7003, or contact Sitka Local Foods Network board president Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 747-5985 or sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com.