• Learn about where your Sitka Farmers Market produce is grown


SitkaFarmersMarketSignWhen people stop at the Sitka Local Foods Network booth at the Sitka Farmers Market to buy produce a common question people ask is where is the food grown.

Most of the produce sold at the Sitka Local Foods Network booth is grown here in Sitka and comes from three main sources — the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden (Laura Schmidt is lead gardener), some land in Pat Arvin’s Garden she donates to the Sitka Local Foods Network to grow potatoes and carrots, and Anam Cara Garden owned by Tom Hart and SLFN president Lisa Sadleir-Hart. We also receive donations from other family gardens in town with extra produce.

All of the funds raised selling produce at the Sitka Local Foods Network booth are used to support SLFN projects during the year. These include hosting the six Sitka Farmers Markets each summer, operating St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, providing a variety of education opportunities about local foods and gardening in Sitka, and supporting other projects in town that promote local foods (such as the Sitka Community Food Assessment, Fish to Schools, Sitka Kitch, etc.).

Don’t forget the last Sitka Farmers Market of the summer is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.). If you live near Sawmill Creek Apartments (9:45 a.m. pick-up), Indian River housing (9:50 a.m.), or the Swan Lake Senior Center (10 a.m.), we have free transportation to the market through a contract with Sitka Tours. The shuttle bus picks up at the times listed, and makes its return trip at noon from ANB Hall. We do plan a small produce table at the Running of the Boots on Saturday, Sept. 27, near St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral.

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


Wednesday, Sept. 17, is the registration deadline for a certified food protection manager workshop being taught on Wednesday, Oct. 1, by University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service. This is an all-day statewide class that will be offered by videoconferencing to Fairbanks, Nome, Palmer, Sitka and Petersburg.

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 Oct. 1 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 Jasmine Shaw at 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.

• 20th annual Running of the Boots costumed fun run raises funds for Sitka Local Foods Network


It’s time to dig your XtraTufs out of the closet and gussy them up. The 20th annual Running of the Boots begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27, at the big tent near St. Michael of the Archangel Russian Orthodox Cathedral on Lincoln Street.

This will be the second year featuring a new meeting point and course, allowing the race to be a bigger part of the End-of-Season Celebration festivities hosted downtown by the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Cruise Line Association.

“I’m excited about the Running of the Boots joining the End-of-Season folks under one big tent … literally,” race organizer Kerry MacLane said. “We’ll have music, hot chocolate, and folks can enjoy a complimentary lunch after oodles of prizes have been awarded.”

So what is the Running of the Boots? It’s Southeast Alaska’s answer to Spain’s “Running of the Bulls.” Sitkans wear zany costumes and XtraTufs — Southeast Alaska’s distinctive rubber boots (aka, Sitka Sneakers). The Running of the Boots raises funds for the Sitka Local Foods Network, a nonprofit organization that hosts the Sitka Farmers Market and advocates for community gardens, a community greenhouse, sustainable uses of traditional subsistence foods and education for Sitka gardeners.

The Running of the Boots is a short race for fun and not for speed, even though one of the many prize categories is for the fastest boots. Other prize categories include best-dressed boots, zaniest costume, best couple, best kids group and more. The new course starts by St. Michael’s Cathedral, and heads down Lincoln Street toward City Hall, takes a left on Harbor Drive and loops up Maksoutov Street and back to the starting line.

The entry fee for the Running of the Boots is $5 per person and $20 per family, and people can register for the race starting at 10 a.m. Costume judging starts about 10:30 a.m., and runners hit the streets at 11 a.m. As usual, local merchants have donated bushels of prizes for the costume contest. The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a Sitka Farmers Market booth with fresh veggies for sale. The booth takes debit cards, WIC vouchers and Quest cards.

“This is a really fun way to advance the Sitka Farmers Market and our other Sitka Local Foods Network projects,” MacLane said. “This is a must-see annual change-of-the season tradition in Sitka.”

To learn more about the Running of the Boots, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or 747-7888, or by email at maclanekerry@yahoo.com.

Historical information about the race (through 2005) can be found online at http://www.runningoftheboots.org/. Info about the Sitka Local Foods Network and more recent Running of the Boots events (2008-13) is online at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/ (type Running of the Boots into the search bar at the top of the page). Click here to see a slideshow of scenes from last year’s event.

Also, don’t forget to like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaLocalFoodsNetwork to stay updated on Sitka Local Foods Network activities.

• Don’t forget Sunday’s the deadline to add Pick.Click.Give. donations to your PFD application


Lovalaska FB Square PhotoGrid Tag (1)If you’re like most Alaskans you probably filed your 2014 Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) application before the March deadline. But did you know you still can add Pick.Click.Give. donations to your 2014 application through Sunday, Aug. 31? If you haven’t already, please consider making a Pick.Click.Give. donation to the Sitka Local Foods Network.

Here’s how to add or change your Pick.Click.Give. donations. First, go to the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend application website, http://pfd.alaska.gov/, and find the green bar in the right column. Click the green bar, and follow the directions. You’ll need to enter your driver’s license number, Social Security number, and birthday to access your application, but once on the page you’ll be able to see your current Pick.Click.Give. donations (if any) and you can add or change them.

This is the first year the Sitka Local Foods Network is participating in the Pick.Click.Give. program, which allows people to donate in $25 increments to their favorite statewide and local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations when they file their PFD applications. When you choose to donate part of your PFD to the Sitka Local Foods Network, you support the Sitka Farmers Market, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, Blatchley Community Gardens, education programs about growing and preserving food, the sustainable use of traditional foods, the Sitka Community Food Assessment, the Sitka Food Summit, and a variety of other projects designed to increase access to healthy local foods in Sitka.

You still can donate to the Sitka Local Foods Network if you aren’t from Alaska or aren’t eligible for a 2014 PFD. To donate, send your check to the Sitka Local Foods Network, 408 Marine St., Suite D, Sitka, Alaska, 99835. Our EIN is 26-4629930. Please let us know if you need a receipt for tax purposes. For more information about donating, you can send an email to sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com.

Thank you to everybody making a Pick.Click.Give. donation to your Sitka Local Foods Network. We appreciate your support.

• It’s time to … get outdoors and pick some berries

Blueberries (kanat'á)

Blueberries (kanat’á)

Huckleberries (tleikatánk)

Huckleberries (tleikatánk)

The Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s Kayaaní Commission (aka, the Plants Commission) and your Sitka Local Foods Network (SLFN) remind Sitka residents that it’s time to get out in the woods and pick huckleberries (tleikatánk) and blueberries (kanat’á).

Huckleberries and blueberries are extremely healthy fruits that grow in the forests and openings that surround Sitka. They are a traditional food of the Tlingít and have become a traditional food for Sitka residents who depend on nature’s bounty to keep their families healthy. They can be used fresh on a salad, in jams and smoothies, berry desserts and many other dishes. And they store well in the freezer for a healthy winter snack.

When going berry picking, please keep the following in mind (summarized from the Kayaaní Commission Traditional Harvesting Guidelines):

  • Be Courteous — other families are picking berries too; never take more than you need. If you accidentally got too much, share it with someone that you know will use it.
  • Be Safe — be positive about your identification of edible plants. Check your field guide for details if you are unsure. And pick berries during daylight with friends; make plenty of noise to keep bears away.
  • Take Care of the Berries — wash your berries with clean water before eating them and watch for rot, mildew, and insects. For best results: rinse berries, spread on a baking sheet to freeze, once frozen, slide off the tray and freeze in bags until ready to use.
  • Pick Clean Berries — from off the major road systems and in areas where you know pesticides and other chemicals will not have reached the berry plants.
  • Take Care of the Plants — make sure that there are plenty of other plants in the area (at least 10) to assure future abundance. Whenever possible, harvest so that the existing plant can reseed or recover after you are done. Treat the plants with respect. In Alaska Native cultures, it is traditional to thank the plant for its gift and give an offering. Each individual should show respect to the plant spirits in their own way.

“We encourage people to get out and pick the ripe berries. By getting out and picking berries you’ll get fresh, healthy food, exercise, and quality time with family and friends,” said Kayaaní Commission Coordinator Heather Riggs and Sitka Local Foods Network Vice President Michelle Putz. “Encouraging berry-picking for personal consumption and for winter storage supports both our missions. The Kayaaní Commission’s mission is to preserve their spiritual way of life and to preserve and protect traditional ways of their ancestral knowledge. The Sitka Local Foods Network’s mission is to increase the amount of locally produced and harvested food in the diets of Southeast Alaskans.”

While the kanat’á (blueberry) season is upon us, remember the plant is not finished offering its resources to the inhabitants of Sitka once the berries are gone. After the berries have completed their life cycle, the leaves from the plant can be utilized for its medicinal properties. Kanat’á leaves are high in antioxidants. These antioxidants can protect your body against heart disease and cancer. Making a tea from the leaves can help indigestion or a sore throat. Contact the Kayaaní Commission for more information on uses of native plants and methods of preparing plants.

More information about either group or local, traditionally harvested foods is available by calling Heather with the Kayaaní Commission at 747-7167 or Michelle with the Sitka Local Foods Network at 747-2708.

Please note that personal-use berry-picking is allowed on state and federal lands around Sitka, but any commercial-use berry-picking (money changes hands) requires a special permit, https://sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/2014/08/20/%E2%80%A2-tongass-national-forest-sitka-ranger-district-clarifies-rules-for-berry-picking-and-gathering-on-forest-lands/

• Kayaaní Commission Plant Gathering Guidelines

• 2003 Sitka Tribe of Alaska ordinance creating and defining the Kayaaní Commission

• UAS Sitka Campus to host annual class on how to identify Southeast Alaska mushrooms

SE mushrooms Brochure 2014_Page_2

The University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus Office of Continuing Education will host its annual class “Southeast Mushrooms: How to Identify Them.”

This two-day class takes place from 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 4, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6, at the UAS Sitka Campus (with field trips). The course fee is $50 and students should dress for the outdoors, bring waxed paper and a bucket for gathering.

This course is designed to introduce students to the mushroom flora of Southeast Alaska. The focus will be on the use of taxonomic keys for identification of fungi and recognition of both edible and poisonous mushrooms. Cooking and preservation of mushrooms will be discussed. Field trips are followed by in-class identification of collected mushrooms.

There is a maximum of 18 students allowed in this class, and the class may be canceled if at least 10 people don’t pre-register for it. For more information, contact the UAS Sitka Campus Office of Continuing Education at 747-7762. To register, call 1-800-478-6653, Ext. 7762, or go to https://aceweb.uas.alaska.edu/. Click the link below to download the course brochure as a PDF file.

• “Southeast Mushrooms: How to Identify Them” class brochure for 2014

• Sitka Local Foods Network to host Alaska’s first Lexicon of Sustainability pop-up art show


the_lexicon_of_sustainability_postYour Sitka Local Foods Network will host a free Alaska premiere of the Lexicon of Sustainability pop-up gallery art show from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 28, at the Back Door Café. Samples of a kale feta salad featuring kale grown in Sitka at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm will be available, and the Back Door Café will be selling drinks and food during the show.

So what is the Lexicon of Sustainability? According to the website, “The Lexicon of Sustainability is based on the simple premise: People will live more sustainably if they understand the basic terms and principles that will define the next economy.” The Lexicon of Sustainability features dozens of large photos of our food and farming systems, water and energy, with a variety of topics defined on each photo, such as food security, sustainable fisheries, farm to table, permaculture, etc.

lex84_salmonsafe“The Lexicon of Sustainability illuminates the vocabulary of sustainable agriculture, and with it, the conversation about America’s rapidly evolving food culture. The Lexicon of Sustainability educates, engages and activates people to pay closer attention to how they eat, what they buy, and where their responsibility begins for creating a healthier, safer food system in America.”

In addition to the photos, the Lexicon of Sustainability includes a book, “Local: The New Face of Food and Farming in America,” by Douglas Gayeton. The project also was featured in a “Know Your Food” series of short films on PBS. Copies of Local have been ordered by Old Harbor Books and will be available for purchase soon.

WildHarvest“I had the good fortune to view the Lexicon of Sustainability art show at the Food Justice Conference in Oakland in 2012,” Sitka Local Foods Network Board President Lisa Sadleir-Hart said. “As conference attendees gathered around the posters, amazing conversations sprung up and started us thinking collaboratively about solutions and make connections with each other. I couldn’t wait to use art this way to stimulate social change conversations in Sitka around food.”

This will be the first of several Lexicon of Sustainability shows in Sitka, before the photos move north to Anchorage and the rest of the state (this batch of photos will remain in Anchorage with the Alaska Food Policy Council for future shows around the state). The photos from this first show will be on display through Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Back Door Café. Future Sitka shows include a Sitka Local Foods Network fundraiser in late October at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp/Sheldon Jackson Campus, and possibly a show at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus at a date TBA.

To learn more about this project, contact Lisa Sadleir-Hart at sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com.