• It’s time to … get out into the garden and pick your rhubarb

Rhubarb

Your Sitka Local Foods Network reminds you it’s time to get out in the garden and, finally, plant your garden. Perry Edwards will host a short on-the-ground rhubarb workshop at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 7, at 131 Shelikof Way.

Rhubarb is an easy-to-grow, productive, and healthy “fruit” that grows great in Sitka. At this workshop, you will learn the right way to pick your rhubarb so it stays productive all spring and summer long.  We’ll also discuss how to plant, fertilize, and eat your rhubarb. And through a drawing, two lucky participants will go home with enough rhubarb to make a simple, delicious rhubarb sauce. Anyone may attend, but parking space is limited, so those interested in participating are asked to please consider walking, bike riding or carpooling.

The Sitka Local Foods Network is hosting a series of “It’s time to …” workshops this spring and summer designed to help local residents learn about various aspects of vegetable gardening and fruit growing. Many of these classes will be informal get-togethers at various gardens around town. Please watch our website, Facebook page, Facebook group, and local news media for information about upcoming classes. If you have an “It’s time to …” workshop you’d like to teach, contact Michelle Putz at 747-2708.

We are still looking to expand our network of local volunteers who can teach classes (formal and informal) this year about growing food, so please attend if you’re interested. If you can’t attend, please email Charles Bingham at charleswbingham3@gmail.com with info about what topics you can teach, your gardening experience, and contact information so we can add you to our database of instructors.

• Sitka Farmers Market vendor forms, information sheets and regulations for 2014 now available

SitkaFarmersMarketSignVendors looking to sell local food, arts and crafts, and other items at the 2014 Sitka Farmers Markets can find all the vendor forms, information sheets and regulations for this year by going to the Documents page on this site, or look at the bottom of this post for the documents. The forms are in downloadable Acrobat PDF files.

The 2014 Sitka Farmers Markets will be managed by Ellexis Howey and Debe Brincefield, and they can be reached at sitkafarmersmarket@gmail.com or 738-8683 during the market season. Our 2014 Sitka Farmers Markets will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on six alternating Saturdays starting in late June (June 28, July 12, 26, Aug. 9, 23, and Sept. 6) at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall on Katlian Street.

Ellexis and Debe already have hosted one pre-market meeting for potential market vendors, and the next pre-market meeting for market vendors is at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 17, at the See House behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on Lincoln Street. All potential market vendors are encouraged to attend. Ellexis and Debe are available to answer questions and to make suggestions that will help new and returning vendors adjust to any food regulation changes from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, changes to the Alaska Quest electronic benefits program, and any other changes.

For more information, contact Ellexis or Debe at the numbers above.

Sitka Farmers Market vendor forms

• Guide to Operating a Successful Home-Based Food Business (March 2014 document from UAF Cooperative Extension Service and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation includes Alaska food safety information and regulations for farmers markets and other food sales)

• 2014 City and Borough of Sitka Sales Tax Form for Sitka Farmers Market Vendors

• 2014 Sitka Farmers Market Vendor Rules And Responsibilities Packet

• 2014 Sitka Farmers Market Vendor Registration Packet

• 2014 Sitka Farmers Market Vendor Guidelines Signature Page (this must be on file for all vendors)

• 2014 Sitka Farmers Market EBT Alaska Quest Vendor Agreement

• It’s time to … get down and dirty and plant the veggies at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm

StPetersSignWithToDoListSignThe Sitka Local Foods Network will host a planting party from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, to continue planting this summer’s crops 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. Some of it also is sold to people using SNAP benefits (food stamps) and to local schools for their lunch programs.

In addition to planting, there may be other garden chores to do. During these work parties we usually need people to shovel dirt and sift soil, 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. These garden parties are a great place for Sitka residents new to gardening to get some hands-on instruction on how to plant their own veggie garden.

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.

• Sitka to host three-day Gathering in conjunction with two-week Introduction to Ethnobotany course

Salmonberries await picking near the entrance to Sitka National Historical Park

Salmonberries await picking near the entrance to Sitka National Historical Park

This month Sitka will host a two-week Introduction to Ethnobotany course on May 19-30, and as part of that course there will be a three-day UAF Kuskokwim Campus Ethnobotany Program All-Hands Gathering for stakeholders on May 29-31 held in conjunction with the class. As part of the Gathering, there will be a couple of events open to Sitka residents interested in ethnobotany and the uses of local plants.

The Gathering is sponsored by the Ethnobotany Certification Program of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Kuskokwim Campus (Bethel), and the Gathering will serve as a chance for stakeholders (students, instructors, elders, colleagues) to to get together to celebrate the program’s first five years, plan the next five years, and network with each other.

The schedule is still being finalized, but the first public event will be on Thursday, May 29, when the 10 ethnobotany class students will make their presentations from 3-5 and 6-8 p.m. (with a break for a bring-your-own dinner) in Room 229 of the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus.

At 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, May 31, keynote speaker Anore Jones (author of Plants That We Eat) will  share her passion for traditional foods of the subarctic. This event will be at the Yaw Classroom at the Sitka Fine Arts Campus.

The Gathering will conclude at 5:30-9 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, with a community potluck dinner/local foods feast and Native dancing at the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi. This event will feature a Native chant from our Hawaiian friends, vending tables, as well as music from the Sitka rock band Slack Tide. The Gathering will provide a main course, some desserts and beverages for this event, and people are encouraged to bring side dishes featuring local food.

For more information, contact Kuskokwim Campus Ethnobotany Program Coordinator Rose Meier, PhD, at 1-907-474-6935 (voice), 1-907-474-5952 (fax) or by email at rameier@alaska.edu.

EBOT Public Flyer final

• Sitka Kitch, First Presbyterian Church announce grant to renovate kitchen for classes, rentals

The Sitka Health Summit congratulates the folks at Sitka Kitch and First Presbyterian Church on their $13,000 grant. The funds will go a long way towards renovation of their community kitchen. "Sitka Kitch is a community collaboration to augment and strengthen Sitka's workforce through the development of food-based curriculum and training." It is an initiative of the Sitka Health Summit. From left are Patrick Williams, Marjorie Hennessy, Clara Gray, Cheri Hample, Martina Kurzer, Suzan Brawnlyn, Cyndy Gibson, and Betsy Decker. (Photo Courtesy of the Sitka Health Summit)

The Sitka Health Summit congratulates the folks at Sitka Kitch and First Presbyterian Church on their $13,000 grant. The funds will go a long way towards renovation of their community kitchen. “Sitka Kitch is a community collaboration to augment and strengthen Sitka’s workforce through the development of food-based curriculum and training.” It is an initiative of the Sitka Health Summit. From left are Patrick Williams, Marjorie Hennessy, Clara Gray, Cheri Hample, Martina Kurzer, Suzan Brawnlyn, Cyndy Gibson, and Betsy Decker. (Photo Courtesy of the Sitka Health Summit)

kitch_logo_mainSitka Kitch is the community food project that arose from the 2013 Sitka Health Summit. The overall goal of Sitka Kitch is to improve community capacity and community development through the lens of food security.

The Sitka Kitch will start with food-based education and emergency preparedness at the household level. As it grows, the Sitka Kitch seeks to provide career and technical training, and entrepreneurial development opportunities. This will be achieved through a shared-use community kitchen and will work to educate, incubate and cultivate community sustainability.

Sitka Kitch also has a sub-group that is currently working to improve storage of emergency food with the Salvation Army. Eventually the kitchen would also like to generate a food ‘income’ stream to augment immediate relief efforts by local food banks and soup kitchens.

Sitka Kitch is pleased to announce a new partnering with the Sitka First Presbyterian Church to kick off its first year through the use of kitchen space. The groups collaborated in April to prepare an application to the Northwest Coast Presbytery Community Blessings Grant. The proposal outlined a budget to renovate the church’s existing kitchen to meet the requirements of becoming an Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)-certified kitchen and thus meet the needs of Sitka Kitch users.

The church and Sitka Kitch were awarded the grant, in the amount of $13,000, and the funds will go towards renovating and improving functionality of the kitchen. These renovations will begin in June and Sitka Kitch plans to start offering classes in July.

For more information, contact Marjorie Hennessy at the Sitka Conservation Society (marjorie@sitkawild.org or 747-7509). Click here to listen to a KCAW-Raven Radio morning interview with Marjorie and Suzan Brawnlyn to learn more about Sitka Kitch.

• Sitka Local Foods Network education committee to host third classes in new garden mentor program

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Garden maintenance will be the theme of the third round of classes in the Sitka Local Foods Network’s new garden mentoring program.

This year, the SLFN education committee chose two families from a list of first-time gardeners to mentor for the summer. The two families agreed to allow other first-time gardeners to attend the six proposed classes at their homes, in exchange for help building their gardens from more experienced Sitka gardeners.

These free classes are open to all first-time gardeners in Sitka. The classes will be similar at each location, so people wanting to participate only need to sign up for one class. New classes will be added as the spring/summer progress, so keep watching for more.

The first class was on garden preparation, and the second class was on planting. During the third round of classes on garden maintenance we will review choosing easy vegetables to plant and how to plant them, and then discuss and do garden maintenance (weeding, thinning, spacing plants/transplanting, inspecting for good and bad bugs, disease, slugs, deeper watering, hilling/propping up potatoes, etc.). If new people attend, we will review garden preparation, too.

The two garden maintenance classes will be:

  • Sunday, May 25, 4 p.m. at Tami O’Neill’s house, 2309 Merganser Drive.
  • Friday, June 6, 4:30 p.m. at Anna Bradley’s house, 4764 Halibut Point Road.

For more information, contact Michelle Putz at 747-2708 or michelleputzfood@yahoo.com.

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• Sitka Farmers Market vendor forms, information sheets and regulations for 2014 now available

SitkaFarmersMarketSignVendors looking to sell local food, arts and crafts, and other items at the 2014 Sitka Farmers Markets can find all the vendor forms, information sheets and regulations for this year by going to the Documents page on this site, or look at the bottom of this post for the documents. The forms are in downloadable Acrobat PDF files.

The 2014 Sitka Farmers Markets will be managed by Ellexis Howey and Debe Brincefield, and they can be reached at sitkafarmersmarket@gmail.com or 738-8683 during the market season. Our 2014 Sitka Farmers Markets will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on six alternating Saturdays starting in late June (June 28, July 12, 26, Aug. 9, 23, and Sept. 6) at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall on Katlian Street.

Ellexis and Debe will host at least one pre-market meeting for potential market vendors, tentatively scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 21, at the See House behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church. They will be available to answer questions and to make suggestions that will help new and returning vendors adjust to any food regulation changes from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, changes to the Alaska Quest electronic benefits program, and any other changes.

For more information, contact Ellexis or Debe at the numbers above.

Sitka Farmers Market vendor forms

• Guide to Operating a Successful Home-Based Food Business (March 2014 document from UAF Cooperative Extension Service and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation includes Alaska food safety information and regulations for farmers markets and other food sales)

• 2014 City and Borough of Sitka Sales Tax Form for Sitka Farmers Market Vendors

• 2014 Sitka Farmers Market Vendor Rules And Responsibilities Packet

• 2014 Sitka Farmers Market Vendor Registration Packet

• 2014 Sitka Farmers Market Vendor Guidelines Signature Page (this must be on file for all vendors)