UAF Cooperative Extension Service to host online Master Gardener class for Sitka

The Sitka Master Gardener training— originally scheduled to start on Wednesday, March 25, and then postponed due to coronavirus precautions — will become distance-delivered and start on Monday, March 30.

Participants will meet from 6-8:30 p.m. on Mondays with the Juneau Master Gardeners class, through May 11. Because the Juneau training has already begun, additional classes will be scheduled online for Sitka participants at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays from April 1-22 to make up some of the hours missed. There also is one class session from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 25.

The session will provide basic and practical horticultural training on a wide range of topics, including how to design, plant and maintain successful gardens in Southeast Alaska. The classes will follow the Alaska Master Gardener program coordinated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.

The UAF Cooperative Extension Service will host the session and the additional classes via Zoom webinar. The Juneau class is taught by Extension agent Darren Snyder, experts, and other Extension agents and staff. The Sitka additions will be organized by Extension assistant Jasmine Shaw and University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus biology professor Kitty LaBounty. Those also will be available by Zoom, through home internet.

Participants will commit to providing at least 40 hours of volunteer service to their communities within a year of completing the class. Trainees will be provided opportunities to share their skills with the community through various service projects and other venues.

Registration and additional details are available at The $300 fee includes an Alaska gardening manual (Alaska’s Sustainable Gardening Handbook) and a $150 deposit that will be refunded if service hours are completed within a year. For more information, contact Jasmine Shaw at

UAF Cooperative Extension Service offers free online gardening classes

The Kenai District Office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service is offering a series of free online gardening classes.

These classes start on Thursday, March 19, and continue through May 21. You can find out more and register at this link. All of the classes start at 5:30 p.m., with most of the classes being on Thursdays and the other classes on Tuesdays.

Due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, UAF Cooperative Extension Service offices are closed to the public, so hopefully this online class series will help gardeners get their fix as they build their gardens this spring and summer. The link above also include access to some national online gardening classes.

Check out the March 2020 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the March 2020 edition of its monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This month’s newsletter includes short articles about the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend and Pick.Click.Give. deadlines, the Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest deadline on March 6, a fundraiser to help us build a new high tunnel at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, an invitation to join our board of directors, an update on Sitka Kitch Winter Baking Series classes and a fundraiser event, and an invitation to sponsor us for 2020. 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).

Sitka Kitch to host Winter Baking Series class ‘Dumplings With Serena Tang’ on March 24

Learn how to make Asian-style dumplings in the sixth class of the new Winter Baking Series at the Sitka Kitch. The Dumplings With Serena Tang class takes place from 6-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, at the Sitka Kitch community commercial kitchen.

Come learn about the really broad history of dumplings.  Once you understand the basics of how to make your very own dumpling wrappers — the world is your oyster.

In this class you’ll learn how to 1) make dumpling dough, 2) make wrappers, 3) make dumpling fillings, 4) fold different styles of dumplings, 5) cook dumplings in different styles (boiled, steam, pot stickers, etc.). and finally 6) how to make different sauces to accompany your dumplings. We’ll also go over standard East Asian flavor profiles and the locavore reasoning behind why different spices/flavors are in different cultures.

If you have any dietary restrictions or other preferences, let us know.  Dumplings are super versatile, but for learning’s sake we’ll be focusing on Chinese-style cabbage-and-pork dumplings (which can easily become vegetarian/vegan/pescatarian, etc.).

Serena, who works as a law clerk for the Alaska Court System, has a pretty broad culinary background. Growing up in Texas with Chinese-Malaysian parents, Serena has always been curious about the history of food and the reason why certain things are the way they are.  Serena’s been making dumplings with her parents since she was a little kid. She taught a similar class to the Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H program.

The registration deadline is 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 22. Space is limited, so register early to secure your place in the class. We need at least eight students to register and pre-pay to make this class happen. The class costs $40, which is part of our new all-inclusive fee system (you no longer have to pay a class fee to register, then a separate food/supply fee). You can register and pre-pay using credit/debit cards or PayPal on our EventSmart page, (click on class title). For those wanting to pre-pay with cash or check, please call Chandler O’Connell or Clarice Johnson at Sitka Conservation Society (747-7509) to arrange a payment.

Current (paid) members of the Sitka Food Co-Op are now able to attend the classes for $30 each (the co-op will cover the other $10 of your class fee). Please use the Sitka Food Co-Op ticket when you register and send an email to letting them know you’re in the class. (NOTE, Only one person per Sitka Food Co-op household may use the co-op discount per class. Please name that person when you register so the name can be checked against the co-op membership list. If you register with the discount and can’t attend the class, the person who uses the ticket should be a co-op member or agree to pay the $10 discount difference.)

For more information about the class, contact Jasmine Shaw at 747-9440. We do offer one potential scholarship spot per class for people with limited incomes, so long as we have enough students registered to make the class happen. Contact Chandler at SCS for more details about the scholarship. This class is a fundraiser for the Sitka Kitch.

Also, the registration deadline for the fifth class in the Winter Baking Series, Brioche (and Pizza) With Andrew Jylkka, is 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 15, at the Sitka Kitch. This class takes place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, at the Sitka Kitch. Details on other classes in the series will be posted as they become available.

In addition, the Sitka Kitch is hosting a vegetarian Indian food buffet fundraiser and silent auction from 5:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18, at Beak Restaurant. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the silent auction closes at 7:30 p.m. Seating is limited for this event, so register early. The cost is $40, with all proceeds going to the Sitka Kitch to promote new classes.

Students should enter the Sitka Lutheran Church through the back entrance (through the alley off Harbor Drive by the old Bev’s Flowers and Gifts location). The door on the right should be open for students to enter. Please do not park in the church’s back parking lot. Please use the public parking lots off Harbor Drive.

The Sitka Kitch also has a new class cancelation policy. If you register for a class, then find out you can’t attend, please email us at and we may be able to help fill your slot through our waiting list. If you cancel from the class at least five days in advance (eg, by Wednesday the week before for a Monday class), you are eligible for a partial refund of your class fee, minus $5 for processing (in this case, $35). If you need to cancel with less than five days advance notice, there is no refund.

Scenes from the Sitka Kitch’s second Winter Baking Series: Sourdough Bread With Carolyn Rice class

Students learned how to make make sourdough bread during the fourth class of the Sitka Kitch‘s Winter Baking Series, Sourdough Bread With Carolyn Rice (Take Two), on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at the Sitka Kitch rental commercial kitchen. This was the second time Carolyn taught the class, after several people weren’t able to get into her first class on Jan. 14.

Carolyn is an Alaska Fellow working with the Sitka Conservation Society and USDA Forest Service, and her class taught how to create and feed a sourdough starter, as well as how to bake sourdough bread using a variety of bread flours. She also explained why she named her sourdough starter Xavier and why others should give their starters a name. Students were able to take home a small bit of Xavier so they could build their own sourdough starters, and they each took home a ball of bread dough to proof overnight and bake the next day.

The next class in the Winter Baking Series will be Brioche (and Pizza) with Andrew Jylkka, who just moved to Sitka from Wrangell and bakes for Beak Restaurant. This class will take place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. (note earlier start time) on Tuesday, March 17, at the Sitka Kitch. The class costs $40 ($30 for Sitka Food Co-op members who are current on their dues, only one discount per family), and the registration deadline is late night on Sunday, March 15.

After that, the next class in the series will be Dumplings With Serena Tang, from 6-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, at the Sitka Kitch. Serena, who is of Chinese-Malaysian descent, will teach Asian-style dumplings (probably cabbage and pork) that can be modified for people with different dietary needs. The class costs $40 ($30 for Sitka Food Co-op members who are current on their dues, only one discount per family), and the registration deadline is late night on Sunday, March 22.

More classes in the series will be announced as their information is finalized.

Also, the Sitka Kitch is hosting a vegetarian Indian food buffet fundraiser and silent auction from 5:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18, at Beak Restaurant. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the silent auction closes at 7:30 p.m. Seating is limited for this event, so register early (this event is starting to fill up and will close soon). The cost is $40, with all proceeds going to the Sitka Kitch to promote new classes.

A slideshow of scenes from the sourdough bread class is posted below.

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Sitka Adventist School hosts aquaponics show and tell event


The Sitka Adventist School presents “Aquaponics in a Suitcase in Three Phases,” at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 1, at the Sitka Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 1613 Halibut Point Road.

Guests are invited to come with a smart device and light snack to share. Activities will be an interactive model teacher training session, curriculum peek, and, of course, playing with the hydroponic and aquaponic equipment.

The presentation will be with the total beginner in mind. Some light snacks will be served afterwards. For more information, please contact Kallie McCutcheon at 738-9391.

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Like what we do? Please join our board of directors or volunteer with us

The 2019 Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors, from left, Amanda Anjum, Charles Bingham, Nina Vizcarrondo, Laura Schmidt, Stanley Lopata. We are recruiting new board members for 2020.

Did you enjoy the fresh local veggies at the Sitka Farmers Market this summer? Did you take any of our garden education classes this spring? Are you concerned about increasing access to local food for all Sitka residents?

The Sitka Local Foods Network is holding an open house for potential board members and volunteers from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 26, at the Sitka Public Library, Gus Adams Meeting Room. This is a good time to learn about what we’re doing and how you can help.

Please consider joining the board of directors for the Sitka Local Foods Network to help us pursue our mission to increase the amount of locally produced and harvested food in the diets of Southeast Alaskans. We need more board members in order to keep running our programs.

Board members help direct the Sitka Local Foods Network, a non-profit that promotes the harvest and use of local food in Sitka. In addition to setting the focus of the group during our monthly meetings, board members also serve on at least one committee supporting at our three main projects of the Sitka Farmers Market, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, and garden education. In 2018, we launched the annual Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest to encourage food entrepreneurs in Sitka.

We also hope to help with the Sitka Community Gardens project as we look for a new location now that Blatchley Community Garden has been closed. In addition, some board members have supported other local foods projects in Sitka, such as the Sitka Kitch, Let’s Grow Sitka, the Sick-A-Waste compost project, the Sitka Community Food Assessment project, Sitka Fish-To-Schools, other school education projects and more.

To apply for a spot on the board, please fill out the application linked below and submit it to For more information, please email us. Please note this is a working board, and our group is evolving and maturing as we try to raise funds to hire staff. Board terms are for three years, with seats up for reapplication each winter.

We also are looking to increase our pool of volunteers who will help out during the various projects hosted by the network each year (no formal application needed, just send us your name/contact info and what types of projects you enjoy). We need volunteers to help with the upcoming Sitka Farmers Markets, helpers for our lead gardener at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, and people to teach gardening classes.

The next regular Sitka Local Foods Network board meeting is from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 26, at the Sitka Public Library, Gus Adams Meeting Room. The board usually meets once every 4-6 weeks. Please note, we will sometimes move our meetings to avoid conflicts with board member schedules, venue schedules and to ensure a quorum. All of our board meetings are open to the public.

Click here for a copy of the Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors job description. Click here for a copy of the board application.