• Sitka Conservation Society to host annual Wild Foods Potluck on Dec. 8 at Sweetland Hall

Wild Foods Potluck no words

WildFoodsPotluckHelp Sitka celebrate its wonderful bounty of local and wild foods by joining the Sitka Conservation Society for its annual Wild Foods Potluck from 5-7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8, at Sweetland Hall on the Sheldon Jackson Campus.

This annual event features a variety of wild foods that can be harvested around Sitka, including many varieties of fish, deer, ducks, berries, seaweed, beach greens, and more. This event gives local residents a chance to sample a multitude of wild food dishes for a true taste of Sitka. If you don’t have any wild foods, just garnish your dish with a local plant.

“Bring a dish that features ingredients from the outdoors and meet others interested in subsistence foods and the conservation field,” said the Sitka Conservation Society’s Ray Friedlander, who is helping coordinate the event. “Your dish could win a prize if you enter it into the Best Dish, Best Side, and Best Dessert category.”

This event is non-alcoholic, and it is open to all residents of Sitka, including members and non-members of the Sitka Conservation Society. For more information, contact Ray Friedlander or Mary Wood at the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509, or go to http://www.sitkawild.org/.

• Pacific High School wins recognition in 2013 Alaska Farm to School Challenge

Pacific High School student chefs (from left) Allana Carlos, Walter Borbridge, and Justin Tucker

Pacific High School student chefs (from left) Allana Carlos, Walter Borbridge, and Justin Tucker

Pacific High School of Sitka is an Alaska Farm to School Challenge prize-winner after serving a local lunch this October. The meal highlighted coho salmon sourced through the Sitka Conservation Society’s Fish to Schools program along with Sitka-grown produce and biscuits made from Alaska-grown barley flour.

In celebration of National Farm to School Month this October, the Alaska Division of Agriculture presented the 2013 Alaska Farm to School Challenge. The challenge encouraged schools and community members to highlight projects and activities that bring foods produced or grown in Alaska into schools. These projects underlined a broader goal of promoting the benefits of increasing procurement of Alaskan foods for use in schools.

Pacific High School’s cooking class prepared the meal for students, staff and visitors on Oct. 24. The class is part of the alternative high school’s Healthy Lunch, Healthy Lives program, which provides students with the tools and knowledge to incorporate wellness into their everyday lives through culinary arts, nutrition, and gardening education.

For more information on this program or Pacific High School’s efforts to increase sourcing of local products, contact Sarah Ferrency at ferrencys@sitkaschools.org.

• Sitka Food Co-op to host all-day planning workshop on Saturday, Nov. 23


Are you interested in helping the Sitka Food Co-op develop its short- and long-term plans? Then come join us in an all-day planning workshop from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Fireside Room at the First Presbyterian Church, 505 Sawmill Creek Rd.

This workshop will be facilitated by Lisa Sadleir-Hart, board president of the Sitka Local Foods Network and project coordinator of the Sitka Community Food Assessment. Workshop participants will create an action plan for the co-op’s next five years, as well as developing the co-op’s vision and priorities.

Sitka Food Co-op Board Chair Keith Nyitray said, “Topics to be covered include whether we need a paid “general manager” position, whether and/or when to conduct a feasibility study about opening a retail store-front, starting home-deliveries, submitting paperwork to accept WIC, whether to switch incorporation to a non-profit status or not, moving toward establishing a two-tiered membership system, bulk buying and/or member equity sharing, and more.”

According to the Co-op’s website, the purposes of the Sitka Food Co-op are to:

  1. Create a community-based, member-owned buying service;
  2. Make available wholesome natural and organic foods and products as inexpensively as possible;
  3. Support and encourage local growing of fresh organic foods;
  4. Purchase and purvey, whenever feasible, the goods or services of local and regional growers and producers; and
  5. Serve as a center for activities and services which otherwise enrich the life of the community.

This workshop is open to everyone, including non-members, but please RSVP by Nov. 21 at sitkafoodcoop@gmail.com. There will be a potluck lunch, so please bring a dish to share. To learn more about the Sitka Food Co-op, go to http://sitkafoodcoop.org/.

• Sitka Food Hub project to focus on a community commercial kitchen and emergency food storage


The Sitka Food Hub project working group from the 2013 Sitka Health Summit now has refined its focus based on a survey of group interests.

The project will continue to focus on community food security through food education and a commercial kitchen facility. A  second sub-group is devoted to increasing local capacity to develop a food storage system for emergency preparedness. These groups will meet individually to begin planning. The groups will also re-convene in December to report back to one another and push the project forward. Ultimately the two projects will be combined as the project grows.

The two sub-groups will meet next week — the community kitchen group at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday,  Nov. 19, and the food storage group at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 20, both at Harrigan Centennial Hall. The two sub-groups were created to help tighten the focus of the main project and make it easier to improve Sitka’s food security

The shared-use community kitchen will be a place where families and individuals may take classes, rent space to preserve and can their own food, and small-scale local food producers can rent it to create their own value-added food products. The other group will focus on increasing food storage options, since our local hunger groups need more storage in order to expand and Sitka residents expressed community and individual food storage concerns when it came to disaster planning.

The two groups will reconvene for a meeting of the big group at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. To learn more about the Sitka Food Hub and to get onto the group’s email list, contact Marjorie Hennessy at 747-7509 (days) or marjorie@sitkawild.org.

• Sitka Herring Festival to host benefit dinner on Sunday, Nov. 17


The inaugural Sitka Herring Festival will host a benefit dinner at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17, at the Sitka Elks Club.

The Sitka Herring Festival will take place in the spring of 2014, when the herring return to Sitka to spawn. The event is sponsored by the Sitka Tribe of Alaska Resource Protection Department.

“The festival is a collaborative event to promote the importance of Pacific herring on the ecosystem and the culture of Sitka and the North Pacific Ocean,” event coordinator Jessica Gill said. “A few events to note are: kids’ herring derby, herring dip, fish printing, an educational unit in the schools, and a community potluck scheduled for April 4th.  I am currently working on bringing in a scientist from Oxford to give a talk on herring for the potluck, but that will be dependent of funding.”

To learn more, please contact Jessica Gill at 747-7168 or by email at sitkaherringfestival@gmail.com. In addition to the event’s new website (still under construction), there is a Facebook page.

• Sitka Food Hub project working group to meet on Tuesday, Nov. 12

Summit_LogoThe working group for the Sitka Food Hub project from the 2013 Sitka Health Summit will meet from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

This is the third meeting of the group, which formed during the Sitka Health Summit in late September as one of the summit’s two community wellness projects for the upcoming year. While the group’s ultimate mission, vision and goals still are being refined, community members at the Sitka Health Summit said they wanted the Sitka Food Hub to serve multiple functions — to be a place to help feed Sitka’s hungry while also serving as an emergency food supply for the community and also to provide education about how people can build their own personal pantries.

For this meeting we will continue on the work we started in our last meeting, which includes refining our mission, vision and goals so we can move forward with this project.

To learn more about the Sitka Food Hub and to get onto the group’s email list, contact Marjorie Hennessy at 747-7509 (days) or marjorie@sitkawild.org.

• Sitka Community Food Assessment findings to be presented Nov. 14 at inaugural Sitka Food Summit

Sitka Food Summit Flyer

SitkaCommunityFoodAssessmentLogoThe Sitka Community Food Assessment work group will present its findings during the inaugural Sitka Food Summit, from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

A 2012 Sitka Health Summit project, the Sitka Community Food Assessment has examined where Sitka residents get their food, what types they eat, what they grow, what they hunt and fish for, where they shop, what type of access people have to healthy food, and other questions about Sitka’s food supply. The findings of the food assessment will help Sitka improve its food security.

“The Sitka Community Food Assessment work group decided early on that there needed to be an opportunity for Sitka to engage with the food data and shape the writing of the food assessment indicator report,” project coordinator Lisa Sadleir-Hart said. “The inaugural Sitka Food Summit will use a format that was first tested in the late 1990s when the Island Institute was developing Sitka’s initial indicator report.  We’ll interact individually with the data, then use a conversation café model to discuss what the data brings up for us as Sitkans.  The working group wanted to create a venue that meets the needs of a wide range of citizens.”

The event sponsors include the Sitka Community Food Assessment Work Group from the Sitka Health Summit, Alaskans Own Seafood, the Sitka Food Co-op, Sitka Community Hospital, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Community Transformation Grant and Diabetes Prevention programs, the Sitka Local Foods Network, the Southeast Soil and Water Conservation District, and Sitka Tribe of Alaska. There also will be refreshments thanks to Sitka Community Hospital’s Basement Bistro, St Peter’s Fellowship Farm and Sitka Conservation Society staff.

For more information, contact Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 747-5895 or sitkafoodassessment@gmail.com. (Editor’s note: A few photos from the Sitka Food Summit are posted below.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.