Check out the April 2016 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

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The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the April 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 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 (don’t forget the PFD filing deadline is March 31), a March 29 meeting to discuss changes to the Sitka Farmers Market, and an abundance of education opportunities this spring. 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.

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

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It’s mid-March, which means the deadline is rapidly approaching to file for Alaskans to apply 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.

PCGTestemonialLindaWilson2016To 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.

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• Don’t forget, you still can add Pick.Click.Give. donations to your 2015 PFD application through Aug. 31

 

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PCGKidsHarvest2015If you’re like most Alaskans you probably filed your 2015 Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) application before the March deadline. But did you know you still can add Pick.Click.Give. donations to your 2015 application through Monday, 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 “Add A Pick.Click.Give. Donation” 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. Click here for an FAQ page about making Pick.Click.Give. donations.

Unfortunately, new donations made after the March 31 Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend filing deadline do not qualify for entry into the Double Your Deadline Sweepstakes, where 10 lucky Alaskans will win the equivalent of a second PFD. However, this year’s PFD is expected to be around $2,000, so please feel free to share the wealth with the more than 500 Alaska nonprofit organizations participating in the Pick.Click.Give. program.

Lovalaska FB Square PhotoGrid Tag (1)This is the second 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, 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, the Fish-To-Schools program, and a variety of other projects designed to increase access to healthy local foods in Sitka.

PCGFarmersMarket2015You still can donate to the Sitka Local Foods Network if you aren’t from Alaska or aren’t eligible for a 2015 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. You also can make an online donation through our Razoo.com crowdfunding page. 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.

• Sitka Local Foods Network, other groups make free dirt available for Sitka gardens

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Get FREE Dirt to start a gardenFor the second straight year, free dirt is now available to the people of Sitka for their gardening needs.

Your Sitka Local Foods Network (SLFN) worked with and formalized an agreement with the City and Borough of Sitka, Sitka School District, and the Blatchley Community Gardens to provide free dirt to individuals, families, and non-commercial entities for developing fruit, vegetable, and flower gardens and beds.

The free community dirt pile is located at Blatchley Community Gardens, behind Blatchley Middle School. The pile is to the right (north) of the community garden and only dirt between the signs should be removed. People can remove dirt at any time, although avoiding school hours when school is in session is preferred.

“This is raw dirt, mostly from land development in forest and muskeg lots around Sitka,” SLFN Board Member Michelle Putz said. “It is NOT top soil, but it is a good starting point for gardens when mixed with locally purchased lime and sand, and locally purchased or produced compost, manure, and other organic materials.” The Sitka Local Foods Network asks that gardeners not remove sand, rocks, live kelp or live creatures from local beaches to build their soil.

People taking dirt should bring their own shovels and containers for dirt, and some sifting of tree roots and other debris may be required. To make sure there is enough for everyone, SLFN asks Sitkans to take as much as you need but please do not use it for commercial use or developing a lot. People who are coming for dirt need to respect the gardens, gardeners, compost, equipment and other materials at the Blatchley Community Garden site by only taking dirt from the pile and not removing or using anything else at the site.

“One of the most asked questions SLFN gets is ‘where can I get dirt to start a garden?’ We recognize that dirt is scarce in Sitka, and we wanted to try to do something about it,” Putz said. “Making soil, the starting point of all gardens, more available to people really helps us to meet our mission of increasing the amount of locally produced and harvested food in the diets of Southeast Alaskans. We hope that people will take all the dirt they need to build new and larger vegetable, fruit, and flower beds, planters and gardens.”

Thanks to the local contractors, such as Tisher Construction in 2015 and Troy’s Excavating in 2014, who provided the dirt. The Sitka Local Foods Network hopes to continue to provide free dirt, as needed. However, compost will not be given away or created at this time.

Those with questions or wishing to help volunteer on this or other SLFN projects should call Michelle Putz at 747-2708.

• It’s time to … learn how to build a simple raised garden bed

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While we’re waiting for spring to finally show up in Sitka, one thing gardeners can do to prepare for planting is build a simple raised garden bed. The pictures with this post feature members of the WISEGUYS men’s health group (Rick DeGroot, Kerry MacLane, Doug Osborne and his daughter, Darby, then 4) building a garden bed in May 2008 at Blatchley Community Garden in Sitka.

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First, you will need some untreated lumber (treated lumber has chemicals that can get into your food), with 2x12s being good for the frame. Your garden bed will probably be between 3-4 feet wide and 6-8 feet long, depending on your garden space and your lumber. Don’t go much wider than four feet, because you will want to be able to easily reach across the garden so you can plant and weed without falling into the bed. You can go longer than eight feet, but you might need to use more than one board to get that length. So cut your boards to your desired length and width.

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Next, lay out your lumber and nail or screw your boards together to form a box. Some people prefer screws over nails, because they don’t pull loose as easily as nails. But use what you have. Some people will add corner posts that can be punched into the ground.

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After you’ve built the frame, cover the ground with a bunch of old cardboard or newspapers. This will act as a barrier to help keep weeds from getting into your veggies.

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Now you can start filling your frame with soil. About halfway through filling the frame, you can add a layer of seaweed, compost or other soil amendments to add nutrients to your soil. Finish by adding top soil that you mix with some of your soil amendments.

 

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Once you have your raised garden bed built and full of soil, you can start planting (if you’re past your last-frost date, which tends to be mid-May in Sitka). Once you have your seeds planted or starts transplanted, you can water your garden bed.

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In Sitka it’s always a good idea to use row-cover over your garden, especially early in the season. This not only helps keep birds and other pests out of your garden, but the white fabric creates a mini-greenhouse effect that helps warm your soil so your seeds sprout sooner.

• UAF Cooperative Extension Service publication on raised bed gardening

• UAF Cooperative Extension Service publication Gardening In Southeast Alaska

• UAF Cooperative Extension Service publication Southeast Alaska Garden Varieties

• Scenes from the Sitka Local Foods Network’s annual meeting and potluck dinner

Thanks to those who attended the Sitka Local Foods Network’s annual meeting and potluck on Jan. 24 at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall. We ate some good food, elected board officers, and received an update on the past year’s activities and plans for this year. Here are a few scenes from the event.

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• Sitka Local Foods Network to host annual meeting and potluck on Saturday, Jan. 24

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The Sitka Local Foods Network will host its annual meeting and potluck dinner from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 24, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off of Spruce Street).

Participants are encouraged to bring a dish featuring local foods to share, and please bring your own utensils (note, this is a non-alcoholic event). This event is a good event to attend for people who want to learn more about the Sitka Local Foods Network and what we do around town.

“Attendees will hear about project updates, plus the current board will vote on by-law changes,” Sitka Local Foods Network Board President Lisa Sadleir-Hart said. “We will introduce our new board members for 2015, and we will elect officers.”

Individuals interested in learning more about the Sitka Local Foods Network can email sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com to learn about our projects and volunteer opportunities. For more information, call Lisa at 747-5985.

• Sitka Local Foods Network, other groups make free dirt available for Sitka gardens

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IMG_6075Free dirt is now available to the people of Sitka for their gardening needs. On a trial basis, your Sitka Local Foods Network (SLFN) worked with and formalized an agreement with the City and Borough of Sitka, Sitka School District, and the Blatchley Community Gardens to provide free dirt to individuals, families, and non-commercial entities for developing fruit, vegetable, and flower gardens and beds.

The free community dirt pile is located at Blatchley Community Gardens, behind Blatchley Middle School. The pile is to the right (north) of the community garden and only dirt between the signs should be removed. People can remove dirt at any time, though avoiding school hours when school is in session is preferred.

“This is raw dirt, mostly from land development in forest and muskeg lots around Sitka. It is NOT top soil, but it is a good starting point for gardens when mixed with locally purchased lime and sand, and locally purchased or produced compost, manure, and other organic materials,” said Michelle Putz, SLFN vice-president. The Sitka Local Foods Network asks that gardeners not remove sand, rocks, live kelp or live creatures from local beaches to build their soil.

People taking dirt should bring their own shovels and containers for dirt. To make sure there is enough for everyone, SLFN asks Sitkans to take as much as you need but please do not use it for commercial use or developing a lot. People who are coming for dirt need to respect the gardens, gardeners, compost, equipment and other materials at the site by only taking dirt from the pile and not removing or using anything else at the site.

“One of the most asked questions SLFN gets is ‘where can I get dirt to start a garden?’ We recognize that dirt is scarce in Sitka, and we wanted to try to do something about it,” Putz said. “Making soil, the starting point of all gardens, more available to people really helps us to meet our mission of increasing the amount of locally produced and harvested food in the diets of Southeast Alaskans. We hope that people will take all the dirt they need to build new and larger vegetable, fruit, and flower beds, planters and gardens.”

Local contractors, like Troy’s Excavating are providing the dirt. If this trial goes well, the Sitka Local Foods Network hopes to continue to provide free dirt. Compost will not be given away or created at this time.

Those with questions or wishing to help volunteer on this or other SLFN projects should call Michelle Putz at 747-2708. (Editor’s note, click this link to listen to an Aug. 5 story about the community dirt pile from KCAW-Raven Radio.)

• Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center project to hold monthly meeting on Friday, March 14

Former Sitka Local Foods Network President Kerry MacLane, left, and Sprucecot Gardens Owner Judy Johnstone pose in front of one of the high tunnels recently erected on Judy’s land on Peterson Street. (Photo Courtesy of KCAW-Raven Radio)

Former Sitka Local Foods Network President Kerry MacLane, left, and Sprucecot B&B and Gardens Owner Judy Johnstone pose in front of one of the high tunnels recently erected in 2013 on Judy’s land on Peterson Street. (Photo Courtesy of KCAW-Raven Radio)

The Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center project will hold its next meeting at 5:15 p.m. on Friday, March 14, at the Sprucecot B&B and Gardens at 308 Peterson St. This meeting is open to the public.

Judy Johnstone, who owns Sprucecot B&B and Gardens, is hosting the meeting. Reports will be heard from committee members on possible building sites, including the Blatchley Community Gardens site and the old float plane turnaround area on Halibut Point Road.

The Sitka Local Foods Network is supporting this community greenhouse project, but is not coordinating it.

For more information, call Kerry MacLane at 752-0654.

• Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center project to hold meeting on Friday, Feb. 7

Sitka Local Foods Network President Kerry MacLane, left, and Sprucecot Garden Owner Judy Johnstone pose in front of one of the high tunnels recently erected on Judy's land on Peterson Street. (Photo Courtesy of KCAW-Raven Radio)

Sitka Local Foods Network President Kerry MacLane, left, and Sprucecot Garden Owner Judy Johnstone pose in front of one of the high tunnels recently erected on Judy’s land on Peterson Street. (Photo Courtesy of KCAW-Raven Radio)

The Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center project will hold its next meeting at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7, at the Sprucecot B&B and Gardens at 308 Peterson St. This meeting is open to the public.

Judy Johnstone, who owns Sprucecot B&B and Gardens, is hosting the meeting, where participants will discuss the possibility of her donating her high-tunnel greenhouse to the project and the possible use of her garden site for community gardeners. She will provide refreshments.

In addition, committee members will report on the meeting we had with some of the gardeners from the Blatchley Community Gardens and research done on other sites. The new “mystery” sites are the former tank farm overlooking Indian Village and the two lots owned by Tess Hayburn (from the former Lane 7 eatery to the Back Street site, where her house was destroyed by a small plane that crashed into it a few years ago).

Please bring your creativity to the table, but try to keep your comments concise and on topic, as the meeting will end at 6:30 p.m. (i.e., no swapping of gardening stories … sorry!). Folks are welcome to stay and socialize after the meeting and swap all the stories they want. The Sitka Local Foods Network is supporting this project, but is not coordinating it.

For more information, call Kerry MacLane at 752-0654.