Sitka, other Alaska communities to host hearings about Ballot Measure 1, the Stand For Salmon initiative

Have you heard the state is holding hearings on Ballot Measure 1, also known as the Stand For Salmon Initiative? This is an opportunity for Alaskans to hear from each other (that’s you!) and the about why we are voting for the proposal in November. 

Nine public meetings will be held statewide for the ballot initiative ahead of Nov. 6 election. The hearings are open to public comments and will continue the dialogue about the ballot initiative that has received unprecedented support from tens of thousands of Alaskans statewide. These hearings will provide you with the opportunity to speak up about why this initiative is important to you.

Also, these hearings are a good way to learn the difference between the Stand For Salmon citizen group that got the initiative on the ballot and the Stand For Alaska industry group of mining, oil/gas, and other corporations fighting the initiative.

Alaskans are encouraged to weigh in at the following hearings:

  • Juneau on Friday, Sept. 7, 9 a.m. – Capitol Committee Rooms 203 and 205, Alaska Capitol Building
  • Kotzebue on Mon., Sept. 10, 1:30 p.m. –  Northwest Arctic Borough Assembly Chambers
  • Nome on Tues, Sept. 11, 1 p.m. – City Council Chambers
  • Anchorage on Tues., Sept. 18, 2 p.m. – Legislative Information Office Auditorium
  • Sitka on Fri., Sept. 21, 10 a.m. – Harrigan Centennial Hall
  • Fairbanks on Mon., Sept. 24, 2 p.m. – Legislative Information Office
  • Bethel on Tues., Sept. 25, 2 p.m. – Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center
  • Dillingham on Sat., Sept. 29, 2 p.m. – Bristol Bay Campus
  • Statewide teleconference hearing on Sat., Oct. 13 at 1 p.m. – more information to come

This initiative exists because Alaskans are fighting for what we believe in. Salmon are the lifeblood of our state and we all deserve to have a voice in how they are protected.


UAS-Sitka Campus to host annual class on how to identify Southeast Alaska mushrooms

The University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka Campus Office of Continuing Education will host the class “Southeast Mushrooms: With Kitty LaBounty” this weekend.

This three-day class takes place from 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8, and from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 9, at the UAS-Sitka Campus (with field trips). The course fee is $50 and students should dress for the outdoors, bring waxed paper and a bucket for gathering.

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This course is designed to introduce students to the mushroom flora of Southeast Alaska. The focus will be on the use of taxonomic keys for identification of fungi and recognition of both edible and poisonous mushrooms. Cooking and preservation of mushrooms will be discussed. Field trips are followed by in-class identification of collected mushrooms.

There is a maximum of 18 students allowed in this class. Please contact the Office of Continuing Education at (907) 747-7700 for further information.

In addition to the Southeast Mushrooms class, the next Natural History Seminar presents “Mushroom Poisoning and Mycotoxins: The bad side of eating mushrooms and moldy food.” This presentation with Sam David starts at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 13, in Room 229 on the UAS Sitka Campus.

Alaska Way of Life 4-H Club to host six-week Wild Edibles Series for youth

Want to learn more about the food growing around you? The Alaska Way of Life 4-H Club will host a six-week Wild Edibles Series for youth from Sept. 11 through Oct. 24 at a variety of locations around Sitka.

Participants will interact with wild edibles in a variety of ways, including identification, harvest, local importance, and preparation. Ages 5-8 will meet from 3-4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, while ages 9-older will meet from 3:30-5 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Spots are limited, and the cost of the series is $10 per person. The registration deadline is Thursday, Sept. 6. All participants must be registered with 4-H, which is $25 for the full year. Scholarships are available.

To learn more, contact Claire Sanchez with Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509 or

Scenes from the sixth Sitka Farmers Market of the 2018 summer

Sitka Farmers Market volunteer Mohan Arul, left (an exchange student from India), presents the Table of the Day Award to Emily Davis during the sixth market of the summer held Saturday, Sept. 1, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall. Emily sold a variety of homemade vegan treats. As Table Of The Day Award-winner, Emily received aSitka Farmers Market t-shirt, birch syrup products from Kahiltna Birchworks, a jar of Inga’s Spice Rub, a jar of Barnacle kelp salsa, and a package of Alaska Flour Company flour, and more. The last Sitka Farmers Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15, at ANB Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street), with the last market scheduled for Sept. 15. Also, don’t forget to mark your calendar for the 24th Running of the Boots costumed fun run on Saturday, Sept. 22, at Totem Square Park. Race registration opens at 10:30 a.m., with costume judging at 11 a.m. and the race at 11:30 a.m. This event benefits the Sitka Local Foods Network and Youth Advocates of Sitka. To learn more about the Sitka Farmers Market and how to be a vendor, go to the Sitka Local Foods Network website,, or check out our Facebook pages for the Sitka Local Foods Network and the Sitka Farmers Market.

We hosted our sixth Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Saturday, Sept. 1, with a full slate of booths and a decent crowd. The weather was a bit rainy, so most of the booths were inside.

We had lots of produce this time, as the growing season has progressed so more is ready to pick. Our vendors had a wide range of products for sale. We had vendors selling home-baked bread, jams and jellies, garlic, carrots and other produce, locally produced medicinal herbs and tinctures, arts and crafts, and more. We also had a food truck outside. And we introduced a couple of new Alaska Grown product lines this year at the Sitka Local Foods Network’s farm stand.

Our last Sitka Farmers Market of the summer takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15, at the ANB Founders Hall.

Also, the Sitka Local Foods Network will co-host the 24th annual Running of the Boots costumed fun run (with Youth Advocates of Sitka) on Saturday, Sept. 22, at Totem Square Park. Registration opens at 10:30 a.m., costume judging starts about 11 a.m., and the race starts at 11:30 a.m. We plan to have a farm stand at the event, and YAS will have the Smoothie Truck. The entry fee is $10 for individuals and $30 for families. There will be door prizes and live music, too. This event is part of the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce’s annual End-Of-Season Celebration, which includes a community lunch for a donation (which usually goes for school activities).

To learn how to be a vendor at the market or how to be a volunteer, contact market manager Nina Vizcarrondo at (907) 738-9301 or assistant manager Charles Bingham (907) 623-7660, or email us at We also have a kids vendor program at the market for young entrepreneurs age 12 or younger. Don’t forget to like our Sitka Farmers Market page on Facebook.

A slideshow of scenes from the sixth Sitka Farmers Market of 2018 is posted below.

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Check out the September 2018 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the September 2018 edition of its monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This month’s newsletter includes short stories about the Running of the Boots on Sept. 22, our last two Sitka Farmers Markets of the summer, Aug. 31 being the last day to make Pick.Click.Give. donations, 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).

Fish to Schools program launches coho salmon and rockfish donation drive for commercial fishermen

The Fish to Schools program needs help from Sitka’s commercial fishermen. The program needs a few hundred pounds of coho salmon and rockfish to help make Fish to Schools meals for Sitka students during the upcoming 2018-19 school year. The program also is seeking photos of commercial fishermen at work, which can be used to teach the students more about how the fish got to their plates.

The coho salmon donation period is Monday. Aug. 20, through Sunday, Sept. 2. To donate, commercial fishermen can sign up and indicate how many pounds they want to donate when they offload at Seafood Producers Cooperative or Sitka Sound Seafoods during the donation period. The program can only accept commercially caught fish (no sport or subsistence fish). The hope is to get enough coho salmon and rockfish donated that locally caught fish can be offered to students at least once a week. Sign-up sheets will be posted at the scale shacks and in the main offices. Only coho salmon and rockfish will be accepted.

Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School student Naomi Capp, age 9, talks with fisherman Steve Lawrie Wednesday (April 25, 2018) during lunch at the school. The elementary school was hosting fishermen who donated part of their catch to the Fish to Schools program. The program is managed by the Sitka Conservation Society and provides fish dishes as part of the lunch programs at Baranof Elementary School, Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School, Blatchley Middle School, Sitka High School, Pacific High School, the SEER School, and Mount Edgecumbe High School. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

The Sitka Fish To Schools project (click here to see short video) got its start as a community wellness project at the 2010 Sitka Health Summit, and now is managed by the Sitka Conservation Society. It started by providing a monthly fish dish as part of the school lunch as Blatchley Middle School, and since then has grown to feature regular fish dishes as part of the lunch programs at Baranof Elementary SchoolKeet Gooshi Heen Elementary SchoolBlatchley Middle SchoolSitka High SchoolPacific High School (where the alternative high school students cook the meals themselves), the SEER School, and Mount Edgecumbe High School.

In addition to serving locally caught fish meals as part of the school lunch program, the Fish To Schools program also brings local fishermen, fisheries biologists and chefs to the classroom to teach the kids about the importance of locally caught fish in Sitka. The program received an innovation award from the Alaska Farm To Schools program during a community celebration dinner in May 2012, and now serves as a model for other school districts from coastal fishing communities. In May 2014, the Fish to Schools program released a guidebook so other school districts in Alaska could create similar programs.

For more information, contact Chandler O’Connell of the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509 or email If you would like to donate FAS (frozen at sea) fish, please call or text Lexi Fish Hackett at 738-5684.

Scenes from the Sitka Kitch cooking with seaweed class held in conjunction with the Sitka Mermaid Festival

Students made a no-bake mini-cheesecake with agar agar (a red seaweed derivitive) and tried some wheat and seaweed pasta during the Sitka Kitch’s cooking with seaweed class held Tuesday, Aug. 14, as part of the inaugural Sitka Mermaid Festival.

One of the focus areas of the Sitka Mermaid Festival is how to cultivate, harvest and use seaweed, kelp and other sea veggies as a food source and as a commercial enterprise.

This class was team-taught by Sitka Mermaid Festival organizer Amelia Mosher and Hope Merritt of Gimbal Botanicals, with assistance from Roby Littlefield.

Amelia grew up in Sitka and recently returned to town after living in the Lower 48. She has worked as a health educator and also in commercial kitchens in Hawai’i. She taught the cooking portion of the class.

Hope is the owner of Gimbal Botanicals, which sells a variety of seaweed, beach asparagus, sea veggies, teas and other products around town. Hope and Roby taught students about harvesting seaweed, including traditional harvest methods, while also providing samples of various types of seaweed for the students to try.

A slideshow of scenes from the class is posted below.

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