Sitka Conservation Society to host annual Wild Foods Potluck on Sunday, Nov. 13

The Sitka Conservation Society is thrilled to once again be able to invite the community to its Wild Foods Potluck.

Join us beginning at 5pm on Sunday, Nov. 13, at Harrigan Centennial Hall for an evening celebrating the connections that bind us together: food, community, and this place we call home.

Please bring a dish featuring ingredients that were fished, foraged, hunted, or cultivated in Southeast Alaska. Doors will open at 5 p.m. and dinner will begin at 5:45 p.m.

This event is open to the entire community. Come celebrate Alaska’s wild food bounty. Prizes will be awarded for generosity, presentation, and tastiness. This event is open to the entire community.

The Sitka Conservation Society could never pull off an event this big without help from volunteers, members, and our community. Interested in volunteering at the potluck or want more information? Contact info@sitkawild.org or call 747-7509. Current members should be able to pick up their 2023 SCS calendar at the dinner.

Check out the November 2022 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the November 2022 edition of its monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This month’s newsletter includes short stories about St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm being named a People’s Garden by the USDA, an update about how you can support the Sitka Local Foods Network by buying a t-shirt or hoodie from our online store, information about our 2023 sponsorship programs, and an invitation to join our board of directors. Each story has links to our website for more information.

You can sign up for future editions of our newsletter by clicking on the newsletter 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. Don’t forget to like us on Facebooklike our Sitka Farmers Market page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@SitkaLocalFoods).

Like what we do? Now you or your business can sponsor the Sitka Local Foods Network in 2023

The Sitka Local Foods Network in recent years created a sponsorship program to help promote our mission, and Sitka businesses and individuals are welcome to join for 2023. The goal of the sponsorship program is to make the projects we undertake (Sitka Farmers Market, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, gardening education, food business development, etc.) more sustainable.

“Sitka has a precarious position when it comes to food security, and the Sitka Local Foods Network is trying to improve our community food security through our mission to increase the amount of locally harvested and produced foods in the diets of Southeast Alaskans,” Sitka Local Foods Network president Charles Bingham said. “Sponsors of the Sitka Local Foods Network are working with an organization and a farmers market that places a high value on local food and businesses, fun, premium quality goods and experiences.”

In recent years, the Sitka Local Foods Network has hosted 7-8 Sitka Farmers Markets during the summer (from July to September). Due to COVID-19, we had to greatly scale back our 2020 Sitka Farmers Markets, focusing just on produce sales and using an online sales portal, but we did double our number of market weeks. In 2021, we hosted an outdoor-only market that brought back some of our vendors. In 2022, we returned to our usual venue of the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall after a two-year absence, and we almost had a normal market (with masking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and no half-tables to spread out vendors). We haven’t set our 2023 market dates yet, but we anticipate we will have a more normal market experience this year.

In addition, we grow most of the local produce sold at the markets at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden and a couple of other locations in town. In March 2020 we built a new high tunnel at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, and we were able to add another new high tunnel before the 2021 growing season. These high tunnels allowed us to extend our growing season and helped reduce the impact of our last couple of cold, wet summers. We usually offer a variety of garden education classes in the spring. And one way we ensured fresh, local produce is available to lower-income Sitkans is through our matching program for WIC and SNAP beneficiaries (the first $20 spent on produce at the market), courtesy of recent grants from the Sitka White Elephant Shop and the Sitka Legacy Foundation.

In 2018 we launched the Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest to inspire food entrepreneurs in Sitka, and have continued the program with the expectation of hosting it again in 2023 (our 2022 winners were Gretchen Stelzenmuller of Enoki Eatery and the duo of Edith Johnson and Lexi Fish-Hackett of an unnamed fish broth project). We also have hosted the annual Running of the Boots costumed fun run fundraiser for more than a decade, with 2018 and 2019 in partnership with Youth Advocates of Sitka but canceled in 2020-22 due to COVID-19. In addition, we support other local food projects in Sitka, such as the Fish to Schools lunch program and the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen.

There are four levels of sponsorship available, and each has its own set of perks.

  • Grower ($2,500-plus) — We’ll hang your banner at ANB Hall during the Sitka Farmers Markets, include your logo and company name prominently in our merchandise and advertisements, and thank you on our social media and web pages. If appropriate for the Sitka Farmers Market, you may set up a free promotional booth.
  • Harvester ($1,000-$2,499) — We’ll hang your banner at ANB Hall during the Sitka Farmers Markets and include your logo and company name in our merchandise and advertisements.
  • Planter ($250-$999) — Your banner will hang at ANB Hall during the Sitka Farmers Markets.
  • Friend ($50-$249) — You are listed on our online sponsor page.

We have limited space for banners at the Sitka Farmers Markets, so please contact us before June 1 to guarantee your spot. To learn more about the sponsorship program, click the link below for details and a registration form. For more information, contact Charles Bingham at (907) 623-7660 or by email at sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com.

• 2023 Sitka Local Foods Network sponsorship program details and registration form

Public comment period open until Oct. 31 for Alaska Food Security and Independence Task Force 2022 Report

The public comment period is open until Oct. 31 for the draft Alaska Food Security and Independence Task Force 2022 Report. Please submit any comments via email to ced.fstfcomments@alaska.gov

“The goals of this task force are to increase food security, strengthen local economies, and lessen Alaska’s dependence on external foods and supply chains.

“The Task Force will review and provide recommendations to the Governor of the State of Alaska regarding food security goals and policies, and guidelines for state initiatives that, to the maximum extent possible, increase local production, harvest, processing, storage, and use of food products. Once the report is received, there may be further clarification and deliverables identified that would require additional work by the Task Force.”

You can learn more about the task force and download the draft report at this link, https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/FoodSecurityTaskForce.aspx

Sitka Spruce Tips/Alaska Way Of Life 4-H Club to host three-part Spectacular Salmon! series for ages 7-older

The Sitka Spruce Tips/Alaska Way Of Life 4-H Club will host a three-part Spectacular Salmon! series for youth ages 7-older.

During this series, youth will learn the ecology of salmon, practice their filleting skills, create reflective art, and connect with local community members.

Sessions take place from 3-4:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, Oct. 12, 19, and 26, using Room 29 at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School as a home base (note, locations may change depending on the program for the day). Location changes will be announced at least two days in advance of the move. A 4-H volunteer will be available in Room 29 by 2:40 p.m. each session day.

The Sitka Spruce Tips/Alaska Way Of Life 4-H Club charges a $20 per month supply fee, and scholarships are available. Participants must have an annual membership in 4-H to participate.

The Sitka Spruce Tips/Alaska Way of Life 4-H program is co-sponsored by the Sitka Conservation Society and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service. For more information, contact Anna Schumacher at 907-747-7509 or anna@sitkawild.org.

Check out the October 2022 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the October 2022 edition of its monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This month’s newsletter includes short stories wrapping up the 2022 Sitka Farmers Market season, an update about how you can support the Sitka Local Foods Network by buying a t-shirt or hoodie from our online store, information about our 2022 sponsorship programs, and an invitation to join our board of directors. Each story has links to our website for more information.

You can sign up for future editions of our newsletter by clicking on the newsletter 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. Don’t forget to like us on Facebooklike our Sitka Farmers Market page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@SitkaLocalFoods).

Scenes from the sixth Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
Sitka Farmers Market volunteer Shannon Cellan, and St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm lead gardener Laura Schmidt, center, present the Table of the Day Award for Sept. 10 to Leah Piera Murphy of Spinning Moon Apothecary. Leah sold a variety of locally blended teas, tinctures, salves, and more. She received a Sitka Local Foods Network tote bag, two Sitka Farmers Market special label chocolate bars, a bag of salad greens, Foraged & Found kelp salsa, Moosetard Lead Dog BBQ sauce, and other prizes. The last Sitka Farmers Market of the summer is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street). We still have room for vendors, and vendors can register online (by Thursday morning on market week) at https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com
. More details about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

We are starting to wind down the season for the Sitka Farmers Markets this year, and we hosted our sixth market on Saturday, Sept. 10, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall. This was the second to last market of our 15th season of markets.

We appreciate everybody who made this market season a success, especially all of our vendors, volunteers, and customers who wore masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. When the city’s Covid-19 risk level is high, we require masks inside ANB Hall. If the city’s Covid-19 risk drops to medium or low, we recommend people wear masks inside.

We didn’t have as many booths as in previous years, but the smaller markets seemed to have worked. We still had fresh local produce, as well as a variety of Alaska Grown value-added products, local eggs, mushrooms, and arts and crafts. The Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand accepts and matches WIC coupons and SNAP EBT benefits.

Our last market of the season is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, Sept. 24, at the ANB Founders Hall, 235 Katlian Street. Potential vendors can register and pay their vendor fees by going to https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com (please register by the Thursday morning of market week). More information about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

A slideshow of scenes from the sixth market of the summer is posted below.

Alaska Food Policy Council releases food system action plan

HOMER, Alaska (Sept. 12, 2022) — The Alaska Food Policy Council has released the results and food security action plan from a USDA Regional Food System Partnership program grant for Alaska received in 2020.

This two-year process involved local food system leaders in 13 regional nodes around the state, including one in Sitka hosted by the Sitka Local Foods Network. The node leaders looked at their local and regional food systems, and how they connect with food systems in other parts of the state. The project also taught the node leaders how to develop and connect the people and companies within their local food systems to strengthen them.

Alaska has major food security issues, with an estimated 90-95 percent of all food coming to the state from somewhere else. One of the long-term goals of this project is to use the information gathered to create a 10-year statewide food security plan.

“This two-year project has engaged communities from around the state, bringing together Alaskans who care deeply about building a better food system,” Alaska Food Policy Council Executive Director Robbi Mixon said. “The resulting food security plan contains actionable ideas that can be implemented by communities in a way that makes sense for their own place-based needs and capacities.”

The three main objectives of this project are to improve the connection and collaboration of local and regional food systems around the state to improve Alaska’s food system; to identify food system assets, barriers, and capacities to help with the connection and collaboration; and to create a statewide food security plan that is informed by the regional nodes representing a variety of locations and stakeholder groups.

The next step is to apply for a USDA Rural Food System Partnership Implementation grant. This will allow state food system leaders to build on this groundwork and improve Alaska’s food security.

More information on the project and a link to the report can be found at https://www.akfoodpolicycouncil.org/blog/2022/9/8/2022-regional-food-system-partnership-project-report-amp-food-security-action-plan-released

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The Alaska Food Policy Council (https://www.akfoodpolicycouncil.org/) is a nonprofit organization whose diverse membership works to engage Alaskans to make positive changes for the state’s food system, and to create a healthier, more prosperous and more secure future for all.

Check out the September 2022 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the September 2022 edition of its monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This month’s newsletter includes short stories about the 2022 Sitka Farmers Market, an update about how you can support the Sitka Local Foods Network by buying a t-shirt or hoodie from our online store, information about our 2022 sponsorship programs, and an invitation to join our board of directors. Each story has links to our website for more information.

You can sign up for future editions of our newsletter by clicking on the newsletter 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. Don’t forget to like us on Facebooklike our Sitka Farmers Market page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@SitkaLocalFoods).

Scenes from the fifth Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
Sitka Farmers Market volunteers Sadija Masic (exchange student from Bosnia-Herzegovina), left; and Shannon Cellan, center, present the Table of the Day Award for Aug. 27 to Andrew Jylkka of Enoki Eatery. Andrew and Enoki Eatery owner Gretchen Stelzenmuller sold four types of musubi, black coconut sticky rice, breakfast sandwiches, and huckleberry-ginger lemonade. He received a Sitka Local Foods Network tote bag, two Sitka Farmers Market special label chocolate bars, leeks, Foraged & Found kelp salsa, and other prizes. The next Sitka Farmers Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street). The last market of the season is on Sept. 24. We still have room for vendors, and vendors can register online (by Thursday morning on market week) at https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More details about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

We are starting to wind down the season for the Sitka Farmers Markets this year, and we hosted our fifth market on Saturday, Aug. 27, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall. This is our 15th season of markets.

We appreciate everybody who made this market season a success, especially all of our vendors, volunteers, and customers who wore masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. When the city’s Covid-19 risk level is high, we require masks inside ANB Hall. If the city’s Covid-19 risk drops to medium or low, we recommend people wear masks inside.

We didn’t have as many booths as in previous years, but the smaller markets seemed to have worked. We still had fresh local produce, as well as a variety of Alaska Grown value-added products, local eggs, mushrooms, and arts and crafts. The Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand accepts and matches WIC coupons and SNAP EBT benefits.

Our markets the rest of the season are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, Sept. 10, and 24, at the ANB Founders Hall, 235 Katlian Street. Potential vendors can register and pay their vendor fees by going to https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com (please register by the Thursday morning of market week). More information about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

A slideshow of scenes from the fifth market of the summer is posted below.