• Check out the February 2016 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter


The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the February 2016 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 about our annual meeting and potluck dinner on Feb. 11, a variety of new education opportunities, a Sitka Farmers Market meeting on Feb. 17, and how you can donate to the Sitka Local Foods Network through the 2016 Pick.Click.Give. donation program through the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend application. 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.

• Please join us Feb. 17 to discuss changes to the Sitka Farmers Market


The Sitka Local Foods Network has some changes in store for the way it runs the Sitka Farmers Market, and we want you to be a part of those changes and we want to hear your input.

We’re hosting an informational session, a Q&A if you will, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street). The meeting should run for about an hour.

The gist of the meeting is that there are two challenges the Sitka Farmers Market needs to overcome for the 2016 season:

  1. How can we make the Sitka Farmers Market financially sustainable?
  2. Historically we have avoided holding Sitka Farmers Markets on Chelan Produce days. Chelan Produce has changed its schedule, so how can we best adapt our schedule?

We will have a short presentation, followed by Q&As and discussion. Anyone interested in the Sitka Farmers Market is welcome.

Traditionally farmers markets are run by the vendors who benefit from them, so please come and let your thoughts be heard. We value your input and want to empower you to create a successful market together. And we will have snacks.

For more information, email sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com.

• Sitka Kitch to offer Basic Culinary Skills classes in March for those seeking restaurant work


Chef Kathy Jones holds up a fresh king crab.

kitch_logo_mainAre you seeking work in the restaurant or catering industry this summer but feel you need to beef up your skills? The Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen will offer a series of four Basic Culinary Skills classes in March designed to help you develop the skills you need to work in the field.

These classes will be taught by Kathy Jones, executive chef at the Westmark Sitka Hotel and the Totem Square Inn. They are modeled after a similar basic culinary skills program Chef Kathy knows from Indianapolis offered by a food relief nonprofit called Second Helpings.

Cutting slices of fresh cucumber. Cucumbes, food prep, knife, cooking, vegetables. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

The classes take place from 6-8:30 p.m. on each Monday in March (March 7, 14, 21, and 28) at the Sitka Kitch, which is located inside the First Presbyterian Church (505 Sawmill Creek Road). Each class costs $25, plus a small materials fee. There is a $20 discount for those students who register for all four classes and pay at the first class. To learn more about each class, click the class titles below (which will take you to our registration page; you pay with cash or check at the class, with checks made out to the Sitka Conservation Society).

Since class size is limited, we ask anybody who can’t make the class to please let us know so we can let someone from the waiting list into the class. Registration for each class closes at 5 p.m. the Friday before each class so supplies can be purchased, or the class can be canceled if not enough people sign up, so please register early.

  • Basic Culinary Skills 1 — 6-8:30 p.m., Monday, March 7, this class will focus on basic kitchen sanitation, beginning knife skills and basic kitchen tools.
  • Basic Culinary Skills 2 — 6-8:30 p.m., Monday, March 14, this class will focus on basic cooking techniques, basic nutrition, and sauces, soups and stocks part 1.
  • Basic Culinary Skills 3 — 6-8:30 p.m., Monday, March 21, the class will focus on sauces, soups and stocks part 2, salads, and measurements.
  • Basic Culinary Skills 4 — 6-8:30 p.m., Monday, March 28, the class will focus on poultry, meats, and the Alaska DEC safe food handler’s card.

The Basic Culinary Skills class series is supported by a grant from the Northwest Farm Credit Services rural community grant program.

In addition to the Basic Culinary Skills class series, there still are spots open in the Sitka Kitch’s winter Cooking From Scratch series of classes in February. All of the classes are open to the general public.

The Sitka Kitch was a project of the 2013 Sitka Health Summit, and the project is coordinated by the Sitka Conservation Society in partnership with the Sitka Local Foods Network. The Sitka Kitch can be rented to teach cooking and food preservation classes, by local cottage food industry entrepreneurs who need a commercial kitchen to make their products, and for large groups needing a large kitchen for a community dinner. To learn more about how to rent the Sitka Kitch, please go to the website at http://www.sitkawild.org/sitka_kitch.

For more information about the Sitka Kitch and the classes, please email sitkakitch@sitkawild.org. You also can go to our class registration page at https://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com/ to see all of the available classes (click on the class titles to register).

• UAS Sitka Campus offers ‘Flora of Southeast Alaska’ course as a hybrid

Salmonberries await picking near the entrance to Sitka National Historical Park

Salmonberries await picking near the entrance to Sitka National Historical Park

A newish biology class by University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus associate professor Kitty LaBounty will itself be a “hybrid”, and it’s back for its second year.

FloraOfSEAK_Poster11x17_2016The DNA of most traditional botany classes is to gather students around a table of samples and look at them in a face-to-face classroom setting. By offering Flora of Southeast Alaska as both a local and distance-delivery (eLearning) class, students from anywhere can get up to speed on how to identify the common native trees, shrubs and herbs of southeast and south central Alaska. Local students can participate in the lectures on campus, while students across Alaska can see the imagery online and hear the lectures either live or via digital recording.

Flora of Southeast Alaska is a one-credit, seven-week workshop. The focus will be on identification of common species and attaining an understanding of their place in the ecosystem of Southeast Alaska. Students will discover how these plants interact with other plants and animals, and how humans use these plants for food, fuel, medicine, or simply enjoyment.

In addition to illustrated weekly lectures, there will be written exercises and “check for understanding” activities. The class is available to any student without prerequisites. It does not count as credit toward a biology major at UAS.

Professor LaBounty brings her lifelong passion as a gardener and scientist to this topic, along with more than 25 years experience working on plant identification for state, federal and nonprofit agencies in Alaska.

The class will meet from 5:30-7 p.m. on Thursdays from Feb. 25 to April 30 — with time off for spring break. The cost is $187 for local students and $227 for eLearning (distance) students.

For more information, contact Kitty LaBounty at UAS Sitka Campus. 747-9432. To register, call 747-7700. or toll-free, 800-478-6653.

• It’s time … get ready for spring vegetable gardening with classes from the Sitka Local Foods Network


Thinking about your garden, especially with our warm winter weather? It’s time to mark your calendars with several upcoming Spring 2016 garden classes offered by the Sitka Local Foods Network Education Committee.

GreensInHoopHouseStPetersThese classes will cover a variety of topics, from gardening basics and choosing what veggies to grow in Sitka to extending your gardening season, composting and seed-starting. But wait, there’s more. There’s also a class on abundant landscaping, plus classes on growing rhubarb and potatoes. Some of the classes have limited space and require preregistration, so sign up early. Most of the classes are free, but we accept donations. There is one class with a minimal materials fee.

We will be adding more classes to this list as they become available, so check the website for updates. We plan to post individual class announcements as we get closer to the actual class dates.

And now, here’s the list of classes so far:

  • Vegetable Gardening 101 — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 27, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce St.), teacher Michelle Putz, class tailored for beginning gardeners, no preregistration required.
  • Choosing What Veggies to Grow in Sitka — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 10, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce St.), teacher Lori Adams, class tailored for beginning gardeners or gardeners new to Sitka, no preregistration required.
  • Extending Your Gardening Season — 2 p.m., Saturday, March 12, at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof Way), teacher Kerry MacLane, the class will explore various methods for protecting your plants and lengthening the growing season, no preregistration required.
  • Starting Vegetable Seedlings Workshop — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, March 23, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce Street), teacher Jennifer Carter, learn how to start seedlings and go home with a tray of planted seeds, space limited, $10 materials fee, preregistration required.
  • Abundant Landscaping — 2 p.m., Saturday, April 2,  at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce St.), teacher Jud Kirkness, a hands-on approach to the “9-layer forest garden” methodology, no preregistration required.
  • Growing and Fertilizing Rhubarb — 9 a.m., Saturday, April 9, at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof), teacher Michelle Putz, no preregistration required.
  • Everyone Can Compost — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, April 20, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce Street), teacher Jennifer Carter, learn the basics of composting your own soil, no preregistration required.
  • Growing Potatoes In Sitka — 9 a.m., Saturday, April 23,  at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof), teacher Michelle Putz, no preregistration required.

In addition, we’ll be launching our new downtown teaching garden as we get closer to growing season and all of those classes will be open to the public. Feel free to help the Sitka Local Foods Network education committee plan new programming at its next monthly meeting, from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street).

For more information or to sign up for classes requiring preregistration, contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520 or 1-850-491-2666 (cell).

• Spring 2016 garden education classes from the Sitka Local Foods Network (opens as PDF)

• Sitka Local Foods Network education committee to meet on Thursday, Jan. 28


The Sitka Local Foods Network education committee will host its monthly meeting from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking is off Spruce Street).

During this meeting we will go over our spring schedule of gardening classes, select our new garden mentor program families, get updates on our new downtown teaching garden program, get an update on upcoming Sitka Kitch cooking classes, and look into other educational opportunities we can offer in Sitka (such as a garden tour or local foods directory).

This meeting is open to the public and all are invited. We also need volunteers who can help with our classes. For more information, contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520.

• Did you file for your PFD? Add a Pick.Click.Give. donation to the Sitka Local Foods Network


Now that it’s January, many Alaskans already are applying for their 2016 Alaska Permanent Fund Dividends. As usual, Alaskans can share their wealth with a variety of Alaska nonprofits, including the Sitka Local Foods Network, through the PFD’s Pick.Click.Give. program.

PCGTestemonialLisaAndMurielSadleirHart2016This is the third year the Sitka Local Foods Network will participate 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 from Jan. 1 through March 31. We thank the 64 donors who pledged $3,350 to the Sitka Local Foods Network in 2015, and we appreciate your support again in 2016.

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, education programs about growing and preserving food, the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen, Blatchley Community Gardens, 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.

PCGTestemonialEllenFrankenstein2016In 2015 a record 33,421 Alaskans made 53,851 pledges of $3,329,575 to their favorite nonprofit organizations, up from $545,000 donated by 5,175 people in the program’s first year of 2009. Some Alaskans choose to donate to just one group, while others may spread several donations around to many groups. There now are more than 500 total 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations participating in Pick.Click.Give. for 2016 (including multi-location nonprofits), including 24 from Sitka.

To encourage more Alaskans to donate through the Pick.Click.Give. program, this will be the second year of the Double Your Dividend contest. Anybody who makes a non-anonymous Pick.Click.Give. donation to at least one of the registered nonprofits will be entered into a contest where 10 lucky Alaskans will win a second PFD check. The winners will be announced in October, about the time the PFDs start hitting bank accounts.

PCGTestemonialCharlesBingham2016So how do you make a donation to the Sitka Local Foods Network through the Pick.Click.Give. program? First, go fill out your Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend application at http://pfd.alaska.gov/. When you get to the section of the application asking if you want to participate in Pick.Click.Give. Charitable Contributions program, click on the PCG link and search for the Sitka Local Foods Network. You also can look for us by using the town search for Sitka.

The Pick.Click.Give. program is available only to people who file their PFD applications online, and not to those who file by mail. Even though you can’t file a new PFD application after March 31, you can go back into your application and update your Pick.Click.Give. donations through Aug. 31 each year.

PCGFarmersMarket2016NEWYou still can donate to the Sitka Local Foods Network if you aren’t from Alaska or aren’t eligible for a 2016 PFD. To donate, send your check to the Sitka Local Foods Network, 408D Marine St., Sitka, Alaska, 99835. You also can donate online by going to our online fundraising page on Razoo.com, and clicking the Donate button to make an online contribution. 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 for supporting our mission of promoting and encouraging the growing, harvesting and eating of local foods in Sitka and Southeast Alaska.