• SEARHC, UAF Cooperative Extension Service to host deer/venison canning classes

Participants in Sitka's Alaska Way Of Life 4-H program, aka the Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H program, learn how to skin and butcher a deer. (Photo courtesy of the Sitka Conservation Society/Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H program)

Participants in Sitka’s Alaska Way Of Life 4-H program, aka the Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H program, learn how to skin and butcher a deer. (Photo courtesy of the Sitka Conservation Society/Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H program)

kitch_logo_mainThe SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) WISEFAMILIES Traditional Foods program and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service are teaming up to offer a deer and venison workshop from 3-7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30, at the Sitka Kitch.

The Sitka Kitch is a rental community commercial kitchen project coordinated by the Sitka Conservation Society, in partnership with the Sitka Local Foods Network, located inside the First Presbyterian Church, 505 Sawmill Creek Road. The Sitka Kitch was a project from the 2013 Sitka Health Summit designed to improve food security in Sitka while also providing a space for people wanting to get into the cottage food business or wanting to preserve their harvest for storage in the home pantry. Sitka Kitch officially opened in March 2015 after a series of renovations to make it pass Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation commercial kitchen food safety standards.

The Oct. 30 class will feature lessons on how to can venison in jars, taught by Ellen Ruhle, as well as how to prepare deer jerky and how to smoke venison, taught by Jud Kirkness.

There is a possibility we will be able to harvest a deer next week, and if so we will add on a portion of the workshop to focus on butchering and meat care. And this time we are just offering the food preservation class (canning, jerky, and smoking hind quarters).

Thanks to a grant from the SEARHC WISEFAMILIES Traditional Foods program, all ingredients, jars, and equipment will be supplied in class.

The SEARHC WISEFAMILIES Traditional Foods program promotes healthy lifestyles by connecting Alaska Natives in Southeast Alaska to their culture. Members of the program learn how to harvest, cook, and preserve their traditional Alaska Native foods, which usually are healthier than heavily processed store-bought foods. In addition, participants learn traditional language, dancing, carving, weaving, and other skills that help reconnect them to their culture.

The UAF Cooperative Extension Service offers a variety of programs geared toward food, how to grow it, how to preserve it for storage, and how to make it into cottage foods you can sell. For those who can’t make the classes, the service offers a series of free online tutorials about home canning called Preserving Alaska’s Bounty.

Pre-registration is required for this class, and there are only 12 spots available. For more information and to pre-register, please contact Jasmine Shaw at 747-9440 or jdshaw2@alaska.edu.

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• Scenes from the first class in the Sitka Kitch’s Cooking From Scratch series — Beans 101

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kitch_logo_mainThe first of four classes in the Sitka Kitch‘s Cooking From Scratch lesson series — Beans 101 — was held on Monday, Oct. 19, at the Sitka Kitch, and the students learned a variety of ways to cook beans and lentils, including making white bean banana bread, hummus, refried beans, and a couple of types of bean or lentil soup.

The class series is coordinated by Lisa Sadleir-Hart, a registered dietitian and certified health educator. She will teach three of the four classes, with Bridget Kauffman teaching the other. All classes will take place at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen (link opens Facebook page) located at the First Presbyterian Church, 505 Sawmill Creek Road. The future classes include:

  • Basic whole-grain bread (link opens registration page), 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2, taught by Lisa Sadleir-Hart — Learn how to bake whole-grain bread using the Tassajara bread technique. Students should bring two bread pans to the class so they can take home loaves of proofed bread ready to bake.
  • Gluten-free holiday baking, 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 16, taught by Bridget Kauffman — Learn how to bake a variety of holiday treats that are gluten-free.
  • Making yogurt from low-fat powdered milk, 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 7, taught by Lisa Sadleir-Hart — Learn how to make your own yogurt at home.

The Cooking from Scratch series goal is to teach basic cooking skills using high-quality ingredients, and to help Sitkans take back their kitchens and reduce their food budgets. Interested individuals can register at https://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com/ (click on the event title to register, and pay when you attend the class).

Each class is $20, plus a food cost that will be split between all the students in the class. People should pre-register by 8 a.m. on the Saturday before the scheduled class. We need at least six people registered so we can guarantee the class will happen. If you register and can’t make it, please contact Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 747-5985 to let her know.

Here is a slideshow of several photos from the first class in the series, Beans 101.

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• Sitka Local Foods Network one of nine Alaska organizations in the 2015 Good Food Org Guide

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2015_GFOG_SEAL_HIRESThe Sitka Local Foods Network is one of nine Alaska food organizations included in the Food Tank and James Beard Foundation‘s 2015 Good Food Org Guide, released on Oct. 16. This year’s second annual guide is more than triple the size of last year’s inaugural offering.

According to the Food Tank website, ‘This definitive guide highlights nonprofit organizations that are doing exemplary work in the United States in the areas of food and agriculture, nutrition and health, hunger and obesity, and food justice. Only nonprofit, scholarly, and municipal initiatives have been selected in order to spotlight efforts that are focused on community building and engagement, advocacy, and service.”

The guide is meant to be a definitive resource that highlights the exemplary work non-profit organizations in the United States are doing on food and agriculture, nutrition and health, hunger and obesity, and food justice.

In addition to the Sitka Local Foods Network, the other Alaska groups included in the guide for the second straight year are the Alaska Food Coalition, the Alaska Food Policy Council, the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, and Kids’ Kitchen, Inc. New to the guide this year are the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust/Alaskans Own Seafoods of Sitka, the Southeast Soil and Water Conservation District of Juneau, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, and Alaska Community Agriculture.

You can view the online version of the 2015 Food Org Guide by clicking this link, or you can download a hard copy of the 2015 Food Org Guide by clicking the link below.

• Food Tank and James Beard Foundation’s 2015 Good Food Org Guide

• Sitka Health Summit chooses three 2015-16 community wellness projects

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newsitkahealthsummitlogoSitka residents decided to find ways to honor and support our elders, build an accessible community playground near Crescent Harbor, and build a community greenhouse on the roof of the city cold storage building (or a similar-flat-roofed structure), choosing those as the three community wellness projects Sitka residents chose to pursue in 2015-16 at the ninth annual Sitka Health Summit planning day Friday, Oct. 9, at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus.

VotingForBroadProjectsThese three projects (one broad topic, and two specific topic projects that tied as top vote-getters) each were awarded with $2,000 in Tier 1 seed money to help get them started. The three projects were picked after 57 Sitka residents brainstormed and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of a wide variety of community wellness projects. In addition to the Tier 1 awards, the Sitka Health Summit also made applications available for Tier 2 grants of $10,000 for projects dealing with nutrition (applications are due Oct. 23, contact Lauren Hughey at lauren.hughey@searhc.org or go to http://www.sitkahealthsummitak.org/ for more information).

LynneBrandonAwardThe Sitka Health Summit also honored Lynne Brandon with a lifetime achievement award for her work promoting healthy lifestyles during her 13 years as Sitka’s Director of Parks and Recreation and now in her new position as executive director of Sitka Trail Works Inc.

Each of the three Tier 1 projects will host a kick-off event in the near future, and these events are open to the public and anybody who wants to help with the project. More information about the projects, their kick-off meetings, and contact people are listed below.

  • Design and build an ADA-accessible Sitka Community Playground, 6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 26, Sitka Community Hospital classroom, contact Kealoha Harmon, 747-3500 — This project is to create an accessible, attractive, low maintenance and safe community playground that will meet the needs of both children and their families. Right now Sitka does not have any playgrounds that are compliant with the Americans with Disability Act. Building the community playground was selected as a Sitka Health Summit goal in 2011, and a lot of important work has been done. Now it’s time to move this community-supported project forward.
  • Build a Sitka Community Greenhouse on the roof of the city cold storage plant (or similar flat-roofed building), 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 28, Sitka Pioneer’s Home Manager’s House (Brave Heart Volunteers building), contact Charles Bingham, 623-7660 or charleswbingham3@gmail.com — This project’s goal is to increase local food production and food security by using greenhouses, including ones situated on rooftops, a practice growing in popularity around the world. Everyone needs the nutritional boost that only vegetables provide and the more we grow locally the better. There are so many benefits to growing food here; freshness, nutritional value, sustainability and the economic benefits that come from keeping dollars in Sitka. Rooftop greenhouses also can capture waste heat and provide a flat, slug-free growing environment that will help us with food security. Rooftop greenhouses can be a point of interest for visitors, a point of learning for students, and a point of community pride for everyone who believes in innovation and using space wisely.
  • Create a way to honor and support the well-being of elders in Sitka, 3 p.m., Friday, Nov. 6, Hames Athletic and Wellness Center, contact Caitlin Blaisdell, 747-5080 — One of the largest and fastest-growing populations in Sitka is its elders. The Elder Connection action group is focused on organizing systems to support the health and well-being of seniors living is Sitka. We want everyone’s Golden Years to be just that, and we know that we can do more to support this critical group of wisdom keepers.

NutritionGroupDiscussesProjectIdeasThe Sitka Health Summit is coordinated by a coalition of local groups that includes the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), Sitka Community Hospital, Brave Heart Volunteers, the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus, and the State of Alaska Division of Public Health Nursing, with financial help from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco-Seattle Branch Community Development Division.

Over the years there have been a variety of Sitka Health Summit projects — create a local market for local fish and produce, build a Sitka community greenhouse, become a Bicycle Friendly Community, become a Walk Friendly Community, encourage more kids and families to get outdoors for recreation, support a community health and wellness center (Hames), plant fruit trees around town, get more local fish into school lunches, build a Choose Respect mural, Revitalize Sitka, the Sick-a-Waste compost project, the Sitka Community Food AssessmentPark PrescriptionsTogether for a Meth-Free Sitka, and Sitka Kitch (a project to create a community rental kitchen and improve Sitka’s emergency food storage capacity). The 2014 Sitka Health Summit projects were Celebrate Katlian Street: A Vibrant Community and the Southeast Youth Resource Guide (which evolved into Family Fun Days at the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center).

For more information about the Sitka Health Summit and its current and past projects, go to http://www.sitkahealthsummitak.org/.

• Sitka Local Foods Network seeks a coordinator for our new downtown garden education program

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UnitedWayOfSoutheastAlaskaLogoThe Sitka Local Foods Network is looking to contract with a Sitka resident to coordinate our new downtown garden education program. We recently received a 2015 community impact grant from the United Way of Southeast Alaska to develop this program, which we hope to launch in 2016 at a space next to Baranof Elementary School.

This contract run from November 2015 through fall 2016, and the coordinator will be in charge of developing curricula, teaching classes, obtaining supplies, and providing evaluation of the program. A full list of job duties and expectations can be found in the linked document at the bottom of this article.

Applicants should have at least 3-5 years of varied vegetable gardening experience, preferably in Southeast Alaska. They also should have 3-5 years of project coordination experience, as well as demonstrated communication, organizational, and teaching/mentoring skills.

This new program is modeled after our successful garden mentoring project, but instead of having garden mentors go out to beginning gardeners’ homes to provide instruction this new program will be taught at a centralized teaching garden next to Baranof Elementary School. The person who wins this contract will develop curricula (there is some curricula already available from the garden mentoring program), will prepare the garden plots, and will teach at least one class for adults and one class for kids every two weeks through the spring and summer.

The garden mentoring project began in 2014 when two families of first-time gardeners were chosen to receive help planning and building a simple garden to grow four relatively easy plants for Sitka (kale, rhubarb, potatoes, lettuce). In 2015 the program expanded to provide mentoring service to four new first-time gardening families, plus the two families from 2014 received a second year of mentoring as they learn a few more difficult to grow plants (such as carrots). There are six classes with each family, and they usually are open to the public.

Applicants should submit a letter of interest and resume by Wednesday, Oct. 21, to sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com. Please put “SLFN Downtown Garden Education Coordinator” in your email subject line. The contract pays $1,070 total, in three installments of $350 for the first two payments in February and April, and $370 for the final payment at the end of August.

Questions about the contract can be directed to Michelle Putz at 747-2708 or to Maybelle Filler at 738-1982, or send an email to sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com.

• SLFN downtown garden education coordinator contract information

• Sitka gardening group to host presentation on beekeeping in Sitka

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Join members of the Sitka Gardening and Horticulture group from Facebook as they host a presentation on beekeeping basics by Anchorage hive-meister, Joseph Linden, from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at the Sealing Cove Business Center on Alice Loop.

The presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session featuring Bill Lehmann and Brinnen Carter, both of whom have beekeeping experience in the Lower 48. Brinnen, who works at the Sitka National Historical Park, is interested in bringing true Russian bees to Sitka (the Russians had beehives when they were in Sitka), and has a comprehensive library of beekeeping resources.

For more information, call Kari Lundgren at 738-2089.

• Check out the October 2015 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

Oct2015SLFNNewsletter

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the October 2015 edition of its newly launched monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This edition of the newsletter has brief stories thanking our Pick.Click.Give. donors, an appeal for new Sitka Local Foods Network board members, information about upcoming garden and cooking education classes, and an update about the Sitka Farmers Market ranking as the top market in Alaska in a national vote.. Each story has links to our website for more information.

You can sign up for future editions of our newsletter by clicking on the registration form image in the right column of our website and filling in the information. If you received a copy but didn’t want one, there is a link at the bottom of the newsletter so you can unsubscribe. Our intention is to get the word out about upcoming events and not to spam people. We will protect your privacy by not sharing our email list with others.