• Participants selected for Sitka Local Foods Network’s 2015 garden mentoring program


The Sitka Local Foods Network has selected the 2015 participants for its garden mentoring program, and plans are being made for six classes each this summer at the homes of our four new participants and two returning families.

This is the second year of the program, which launched last year with two participants — the families of Tami O’Neill and Anna Bradley. This year our program expands with four new families (Josephine Dasalla, A.J. Bastian, Rebecca Kubacki, and Breezy), and our two 2014 families are back for a second year. Michelle Putz has been contracted to coordinate the program and design lesson plans, after the Sitka Local Foods Network received a community development grant from First Bank.

The Sitka Local Foods Network garden mentoring program is designed for first-time gardeners, and the first year of the program involves participants learning how to grow four simple crops that grow well in Sitka (lettuce, kale, rhubarb and potatoes). The participating families learn how to find the best spot on their land (for sun and drainage), how to build raised garden beds, how to amend the soil, how to plant, how to maintain their garden, and how to harvest their crops.

The two returning families will learn how to grow more difficult crops, such as carrots and onions, plus they’ll have refreshers on their first-year crops. The goal of the program is to teach people low-cost ways to grow healthy food in Sitka. When selecting our families, we wanted to make sure there were multiple generations involved, especially kids. The classes, when announced starting in mid-April, will be open to the public. Several experienced gardeners volunteer as mentors for the selected families.