• Sitka Local Foods Network to host six Sitka Farmers Markets in 2014

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host its seventh summer of Sitka Farmers Markets this year. The first of the six markets is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.), with the other markets on July 12, July 26, Aug. 9, Aug. 23, and Sept. 6. From left are Sitka Local Foods Network board members Charles Bingham, Maybelle Filler and Michelle Putz, Sitka Farmers Market co-managers Ellexis Howey and Debe Brincefield, vendors Linda Wilson and Pat Hanson, and helper D.J. Brincefield. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson).

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host its seventh summer of Sitka Farmers Markets this year. The first of the six markets is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.), with the other markets on July 12, July 26, Aug. 9, Aug. 23, and Sept. 6. From left are Sitka Local Foods Network board members Charles Bingham, Maybelle Filler and Michelle Putz, Sitka Farmers Market co-managers Ellexis Howey and Debe Brincefield, vendors Linda Wilson and Pat Hanson, and helper D.J. Brincefield. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson).

SitkaFarmersMarketSignThe Sitka Local Foods Network will host its seventh summer of Sitka Farmers Markets with six markets this year starting on June 28 and taking place on alternate Saturdays through Sept. 6. The Sitka Farmers Markets give Sitka residents a chance to buy and sell locally produced food and crafts.

The Sitka Farmers Markets take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, July 12, July 26, Aug. 9, Aug. 23, and Sept. 6 at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.). The markets feature local seafood (fresh, frozen, and cooked, ready to eat), locally grown and harvested fruits and vegetables, baked goods, locally made jams and jellies, live entertainment and music, local arts and crafts, and a variety of other items gathered or made in Sitka. We emphasize local products and lots of fun. We were the first farmers market in Southeast Alaska to accept WIC coupons and Alaska Quest EBT for SNAP (food stamp) users. We also plan scheduled transportation from Sitka Tours for the last five markets (details coming soon), and don’t forget to support the Sitka Farmers Market in the I Love My Farmers Market Celebration (click logo) at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/.

“The Sitka Farmers Market is a great way to connect with community members and support local entrepreneurs,” Sitka Local Foods Network Board President Lisa Sadleir-Hart said. “Circulating your dollars locally also has a multiplying effect and helps your neighbors.”

2014 Quest Flyer SitkaThe Sitka Farmers Market started as a community wellness project that came out of a health priority planning meeting at the 2008 Sitka Health Summit. The markets are sponsored by the Sitka Local Foods Network, Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp No. 1, Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp No. 4, Baranof Island Housing Authority, the Alaska Farmers Market Association, the Alaska Division of Public Health Cancer Control Program, and the SEARHC Health Promotion and Diabetes Prevention programs.

“We are excited to have Ellexis Howey and Debe Brincefield working as a team as our new market co-managers,” Sadleir-Hart said. “Ellexis and Debe bring loads of enthusiasm and some new ideas to the market, and they are focused on creating a sustainable market that can be in Sitka for the duration. As always, the market will be a place to support the growing local food movement in Sitka and learn more about how to eat more sustainably.”

Vendor fees are $30 for a 6-foot table, $40 for an 8-foot table and $20 for a 4-foot table. Vendors with their own tents pay $5 per foot. As always, we offer cost incentives for vendors growing locally produced food. The fees will help us cover the costs of renting ANB Founders Hall and its kitchen, hiring musicians and other expenses. To learn more about being a vendor or to sign up for a table, contact Sitka Farmers Market Co-Managers, Ellexis Howey and Debe Brincefield at 738-8683 or by e-mail sitkafarmersmarket@gmail.com. Vendor rules, registration forms and other info for potential vendors can be found on the Documents page at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/.

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• It’s time to … thin your apples for better production (free workshop)

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Your Sitka Local Foods Network reminds Sitkans that now is the time to get out in your garden and thin the apples on your tree. Thinning fruit increases the size and quality of your fruit and reduces the chances that limbs will break. Thinning also reduces the chances of spreading diseases.

Jud Kirkness will host a free discussion and hands-on workshop on fruit thinning and fruit tree care from 6-7 p.m. on Thursday, June 26, at 131 Shelikof Way. Jud also will look for and discuss fruit tree pests. All are welcome; call Michelle Putz at 747-2708 for more information or directions to the garden.

The Sitka Local Foods Network education committee has been 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 pageFacebook 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.

The SLFN education committee is still looking to expand our network of local volunteers who can teach classes (formal and informal) this year about growing food, 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.

• It’s time to … get the veggies at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm ready for the first Sitka Farmers Market

StPetersSignWithToDoListSignYour Sitka Local Foods Network will host a garden party from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, June 21, at the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden (located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on Lincoln Street) to get the veggies ready in preparation for the first Sitka Farmers Market of the season.

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 the produce also is sold to people using SNAP benefits (food stamps) and to local schools for their lunch programs. The first Sitka Farmers Market of the season is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.). The remaining Sitka Farmers Markets are on July 12, July 26, Aug. 9, Aug. 23, and Sept. 6.

In addition to planting and weeding, there may be other garden chores to do. During these garden 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 may 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. The garden parties are kid-friendly, and we encourage volunteers to bring their children so they can learn where their food comes from. Volunteers can receive a share of the veggies for their work at the 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.

• It’s time to … learn about gardening in a high tunnel

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Have you ever wanted to learn more about growing vegetables in a high tunnel or hoop house? Your Sitka Local Foods Network is teaming up with local landscape architect and 20-year Sitka gardener Barth Hamberg, who will host a free discussion about high-tunnel gardening at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 25, at Hamberg’s garden.

High tunnels, also known as hoop houses or temporary greenhouses, extend the growing season so more food is produced before and after the traditional dates for growing stuff outdoors. High tunnels are different than greenhouses in that they are passively heated by the sun, so they have lower energy costs than greenhouses. This link has frequently asked questions and answers about seasonal high tunnel systems for crops.

“Last summer I constructed a high tunnel with a grant from the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service),” Hamberg said. “This is my first season in production and I’m experimenting with may different plants and learning a lot about the advantages of the high tunnel. It’s working great.”

Some of the topics Hamberg will discuss include:

  • siting and constructing a high tunnel
  • selecting a high tunnel manufacturer and style of tunnel
  • planting for winter harvest
  • planting for early spring harvest
  • high tunnel maintenance requirements
  • irrigation systems
  • making the high tunnel an enjoyable place to work and to be
  • compost-based soil fertility in the high tunnel

“My interest is growing food in the most efficient and beautiful way possible,” Hamberg said.

People interested in attending this discussion should call Hamberg at 738-9145 to reserve a space and to receive the address and directions to his garden.

The Sitka Local Foods Network education committee has been 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 pageFacebook 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.

The SLFN education committee is still looking to expand our network of local volunteers who can teach classes (formal and informal) this year about growing food, 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.

• Pledge to spend at least $10 at the Sitka Farmers Market as part of the ‘I Love My Farmers Market’ celebration

LoveMyFarmersMarketApples

AFT_Love_My_Market_InfographicHow well do you love the Sitka Farmers Market? You can show your love by clicking this linkand pledging to spend at least $10 at the next Sitka Farmers Market as part of the “I Love My Farmers Market” Celebration, sponsored by the American Farmland Trust.

According to the American Farmland Trust:

AFT’s I Love My Farmers Market Celebration is raising national awareness about local farmers markets and putting money directly in the pockets of family farmers.

Throughout the celebration, consumers will pledge dollars they intend to spend at their local farmers markets. A pledge is a commitment to spend $10 at your farmers market. Pledges can be cast once a day, and farmers market shoppers can pledge to support more than one farmers market.

Each week, one lucky participant and their favorite farmer will receive a free No Farms No Food® hat.

The Top 100 most celebrated markets will receive a special logo honoring their achievement, “No Farms, No Food”® gear, and recognition on the I Love My Farmers Market Celebration’s website, www.lovemyfarmersmarkets.org/.

The 2014 I Love My Farmers Market Celebration started on June 13 and will end at midnight EST on Sept. 13.

Click here to listen to a 90-second PSA from the American Farmland Trust about the importance of shopping at your local farmers market, and how farmers markets benefit your health and local economy.

The Farmers Market Coalition, which provides technical resources for farmers markets and sponsors National Farmers Market Week on Aug. 3-9, recently released a report about the benefits of farmers markets. Some of the findings included:

  • There were more than 7,800 farmers markets in the US in 2012—an increase of nearly 10% in just one year.
  • For every $100 spent at a farmers market, $62 stays in the local economy, and $99 stays in-state.
  • People who shop at farmers markets have 15-20 social interactions per visit, while they would only have one or two at the grocery store.

SitkaFarmersMarketSignThere will be six Sitka Farmers Markets in 2014. The first one takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.). The remaining five Sitka Farmers Market are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, July 12, July 26, Aug. 9, Aug. 23, and Sept. 6, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.). The Sitka Farmers Market accepts Alaska Quest card electronic benefits transfers for people using SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, aka food stamps.

• UAF Cooperative Extension Service offers Certified Food Protection Manager class by videoconference in Sitka

CFPM flyer 7-9-14

Friday, June 27, is the registration deadline for a certified food protection manager workshop being taught on Wednesday, July 9, by University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service. This is an all-day statewide class that will be offered live in Fairbanks and Palmer, and by videoconferencing to Sitka and Ketchikan.

A certified food protection manager (CFPM) is responsible for monitoring and managing all food establishment operations to ensure that the facility is operating in compliance with food establishment regulations.

A CFPM is knowledgeable about food safety practices and uses this knowledge to provide consumers with safe food, protect public health and prevent food-borne illnesses. Alaska regulations require food establishments to have at least one CFPM on staff.

This course takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (with a half-hour lunch), and participants will take a computer-based exam at the end of the class. The reason the deadline is two weeks before the class is to guarantee course materials reach all the students in time for the class. The cost is $200, and the course will be taught by Marsha Munsell of Fairbanks and Julie Cascio of Palmer. Students can register here (scroll down and select the July 9 item)

The Sitka videoconference for the class will take place in Room 110 at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus. To learn more, contact the Sitka District Office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service at 747-9440, or contact Kathy McDougall at (907) 474-2420 (Fairbanks number) or kmmcdougall@alaska.edu.

• Sitka Conservation Society adult 4-H program offers backcountry cooking classes

SCS_Backcountry Cooking Series_Summer2014

The Sitka Conservation Society is offering an adult 4-H program, with the first offering a backcountry cooking class series in June and July. We’ll be teaching you how to cook delicious meals for your next camping or backpacking trip following Leave No Trace (LNT) principles.

Classes are from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, June 19, June 26, July 10, and July 17. The first class is required — you’ll learn backcountry cooking basics and LNT principles. The following three classes you can pick and choose from. We’ll focus on a different meal each evening, but you can expect things like pizza, cinnamon rolls, and home-made dehydrated meals.

Space is limited and registration is required. The class location will be given when you register. Classes are $6 for Sitka Conservation Society members, and $10 for non-SCS members. For more information, call the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509, or contact Mary Wood at mary@sitkawild.org or Tracy Gagnon at tracy@sitkawild.org.