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


The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the March 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 a variety of education opportunities in March, an update on some changes to the Sitka Farmers Market, 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.

• It’s time to … learn how to grow your own food this spring with 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 on starting seeds with a minimal materials fee, but you’ll take some plant starts home.

We already hosted two classes (on vegetable gardening 101 and choosing what veggies to grow in Sitka), but there still are several classes coming up this spring. 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:

  • Extending Your Gardening Season — 10 a.m., Saturday, March 19, 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. (NOTE: THE DATE AND TIME OF THIS CLASS HAS BEEN CHANGED FROM WHAT ORIGINALLY WAS ANNOUNCED.)
  • 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 “nine-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 Wednesday, March 30, 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)

• Alaskans Own community-supported fisheries program announces 2016 season subscription prices

Flier no tabs

Sitka-based Alaskans Own seafood recently announced its subscription prices for its 2016 community-supported fisheries (CSF) program in Sitka, Juneau, and Anchorage.

Alaskans Own was the first CSF program in the state, modeling its program after the successful community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs that let customers deal directly with harvesters so they can buy subscription shares to the year’s crop/catch. In addition to the CSF program, Alaskans Own usually has a table at the Sitka Farmers Markets during the summer (and plans to have a larger presence at the market this summer).

AO flier no tagsThis is the seventh year of the Alaskans Own CSF program, and there are four-month and six-month subscriptions available starting in May. The six-month subscriptions allow people to keep receiving freshly caught seafood through October instead of August, when the traditional four-month subscriptions end. Half-subscriptions also are available. Subscriptions include a mix of locally troll-caught black cod (sablefish), halibut, king salmon, coho salmon, lingcod and miscellaneous rockfish, depending on the commercial fishing season and prices.

AO logo-01 (2)“We’re so excited to be going into another year of connecting more Alaskans with the best fish out there,” said Anya Grenier, Alaskans Own seafood coordinator. “So little of the incredible bounty of our waters stays in state, or even in the U.S. We want to change that dynamic, and we think the place to start is investing in our fishermen and our community.”

This year’s price for a six-month full subscription (about 60 pounds, or 10 pounds a month) in Sitka is $825 (does not include sales tax) and $435 for a half subscription (about 30 pounds). The price for a four-month full subscription (about 40 pounds) is $565 and $300 for a half subscription (about 20 pounds). Sitka residents are required to pay 5 percent city sales tax if purchased before March 31, and 6 percent sales tax after that. Wholesale orders are available, and the deadline for subscription orders is May 1.

Prices and sales tax charges may vary for the other communities participating in the program. People can use the Alaskans Own online store site to purchase their CSF shares. You also can send a check to Alaskans Own, P.O. Box 1229, Sitka, Alaska, 99835. Delivery times and dates in Sitka will be announced later and usually take place at the old mill building next to the Sitka Sound Science Center (834 Lincoln Street).


Photo by Joshua Roper / Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI)

The Alaskans Own seafood program is managed by the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association. It also partners with the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust, the Fishery Conservation Network and Local Fish Fund, which have missions to strengthen Alaskan fishing communities and marine resources through scientific research, education, and economic opportunity.

For more information about the Alaskans Own seafood program, contact Anya Grenier at alaskansownfish@gmail.com or 738-2275.

• Sitka Conservation Society to host annual meeting Sunday, Feb. 28, at the Sitka Kitch

SCS Annual meeting poster 2016 PDF

The Sitka Conservation Society will highlight one of its community sustainability projects when it hosts its annual meeting and potluck (aka, the Voices of the Tongass Gathering) from 5-7 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 28, at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen (located inside First Presbyterian Church, 505 Sawmill Creek Road).

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.

Join the staff and board of the Sitka Conservation Society for an evening filled with great food, conversation, and idea sharing. The Voices of the Tongass Gathering is an opportunity to bring your ideas about how to promote sustainable communities in Southeast Alaska. Let your voice be heard.
In addition to the Sitka Kitch project, the Sitka Conservation Society also coordinates the Fish to Schools program in Sitka. There also will be discussion of tiny houses, local wood projects, Tongass policy, and youth projects such as 4H.
This annual meeting is free and open to the public. For more information, call Sophie Nethercut at 747-7509 or email sophie@sitkawild.org

• Sitka’s Fish to Schools program on international list of 16 innovative school lunch programs


FoodTankLogoSitka’s Fish to Schools program is one of 16 school lunch programs from around the world making a difference, according to an international list released this month by the organization Food Tank.

The Fish to Schools program got its start at the 2010 Sitka Health Summit, when community members decided they wanted to see more locally harvested fish in school lunches. The Sitka Conservation Society coordinates the program, in partnership with local schools.

The program started off with a monthly local fish lunch choice at Blatchley Middle School, but the program quickly expanded to include weekly local fish lunch choices at all Sitka schools (including the state-run Mount Edgecumbe High School boarding school and the private The SEER School).

In addition to putting local fish on the school lunch menu, the program also includes education about the fishing industry and its impact on the community (about one in five adults in Sitka work in the fishing industry). Local fishermen and women periodically share lunches with the students, which helps the students connect with their local food system. Local fishermen also donate coho salmon to the program, to help keep it sustainable.

In May 2014, the Sitka Fish to Schools program released a guidebook so other school districts in Alaska could create similar programs. For more information about the Fish to Schools program in Sitka, contact Sophie Nethercut of the Sitka Conservation Society, sophie@sitkawild.org or 747-7509.

• Scenes from the Quick and Easy Thai Cooking class at the Sitka Kitch


kitch_logo_mainStudents learned how to cook Thai food while also raising funds for a portrait to honor William Stortz during the special Quick and Easy Thai Cooking class taught by Nancy Knapp on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen.

The students learned how to cook kaeng paneng moo (a curry dish with pork in it, for this class) and tom kha gai (a chicken soup), and also learned how they could add vegetables from their home gardens or local stores to the dishes. Cooks can substitute tofu or similar products for the meat to make vegetarian versions of the dishes. The instructor, longtime Sitka resident and health program manager Nancy Knapp, has worked in Thailand and Laos and brought that experience to the classes.


William Stortz


The class served as a fundraiser to purchase a portrait of William Stortz, painted by Sitka artist Steve Lawrie. William Stortz was one of the three people who died in the August 2015 landslide, and the portrait will hang in the new art gallery bearing his name in the city offices. William was working as the city building inspector when the landslide happened, and before that he spent many years working for the facilities department at the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC). There also was a donation can where people could donate, and Nancy Knapp donated her instructor fee to the cause.

PanengCurryAndTomKhaGaiThe 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.

In addition to this special class, the Sitka Kitch has one class left in its winter Cooking From Scratch class series taught by local chefs in February (on homemade empanadas), but that class is full and already has a waiting list. The Sitka Kitch also is offering a Basic Culinary Skills class series taught by Westmark Hotel executive chef Kathy Jones in March, and there is still room for students to take those classes. The Basic Culinary Skills series is designed to help people who want to find work in the restaurant or catering fields improve their kitchen skills (these classes also will be open to people who want to improve their home cooking skills).

A slideshow of scenes from the Thai cooking class is posted below:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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


Now that it’s February, 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. charitable giving program.

PCGTestemonialLisaAndMurielSadleirHart2016This is the third 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 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.

PCGTestemonialCathyLieser2016You 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.