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.

Sitka Spruce Tips/Alaska Way Of Life 4-H Club to offer Fall Wild Edibles Series in September

Join Sitka Spruce Tips/Alaska Way of Life 4-H Club for four sessions celebrating wild edibles through identifying, harvesting, and processing from 3:30-5 p.m. on Wednesdays Sept. 7, 14, 21, and 28.

All ages are invited to learn more about local mushroom, bog, berry, and salmon species. There is a supply fee of $10. Scholarships are available.

The Sitka 4-H club is supported through a partnership between the Sitka Conservation Society and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.

The first step is to register for 4-H at http://4h.zsuite.org/ (all participants must be registered with 4-H to be on the organization’s insurance policy). 

Contact emily@sitkawild.org for more information.

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

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the August 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 upcoming 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).

Celebrate National Farmers Market Week by attending the Sitka Farmers Market on Aug. 13

National Farmers Market Week is Aug. 7-13 this year, so stop by the Sitka Farmers Market to join the celebration.

The Sitka Farmers Market takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.). This is the 15th season of Sitka Farmers Markets.

The annual National Farmers Market Week celebration is the first full week of August, when growing season is peaking around the country.

The number of farmers markets in the country has more than tripled since 1996, growing from 2,410 markets in 1996 to 8,675 in 2016. There has been similar growth in Alaska, going from 13 markets in 2006 to 56 in 2022, and now markets can be found in many Bush communities from Bethel to Thorne Bay. This growth has improved Alaska’s food security while also serving as an incubator for new businesses.

According to the Farmers Market Coalition, farmers markets (click headers for more info) …

  • Preserve America’s rural livelihoods and farmland. Farmers markets provide one of the only low-barrier entry points for beginning farmers, allowing them to start small, test the market, and grow their businesses.
  • Stimulate local economies. Growers selling locally create 13 full-time farm operator jobs per $1 million in revenue earned. Those growers that do not sell locally create three jobs.
  • Increase access to fresh, nutritious food. Several  studies have found lower prices for conventional and organic produce at farmers markets than at supermarkets. Due to this and other factors, 52 percent more SNAP households shop at farmers markets and from direct marketing farmers today than in 2011. The Sitka Farmers Market was the first market in Southeast Alaska to accept SNAP and WIC benefits, and we have a matching program for SNAP and WIC beneficiaries.
  • Support healthy communities. Farmers market vendors educate their shoppers. Four out of five farmers selling at markets discuss farming practices with their customers, and three in five discuss nutrition and how to prepare food.
  • Promote sustainability. Three out of every four farmers selling at farmers markets say they use practices consistent with organic standards.

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

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the July 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 upcoming 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).

Sitka Local Foods Network prepares to host 15th summer of Sitka Farmers Markets

The Sitka Farmers Market will kick off its 15th summer this Saturday, July 2, when it returns to its roots at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, its home for its first 12 summers of markets. The first market of the season is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 2, with six other markets scheduled for the same time on alternate Saturdays, July 16, July 30, Aug. 13, Aug. 27, Sept. 10, and Sept. 24, at ANB Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street).

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic limited our markets the last two years, forcing us to move and change our formate, we’re happy to be getting back to some normalcy this year,” Sitka Local Foods Network board president Charles Bingham said. “Our seven markets this year will still have some COVID safety measures, such as being held entirely outdoors and encouraging everybody to use face masks. But we will have our usual variety of fresh local produce, fish, homemade baked goods, cottage foods, cooked food, arts and crafts, and more. It will be nice to return to our roots at ANB Founders Hall this summer.”

The Sitka Farmers Market is a community event hosted by the Sitka Local Foods Network, whose mission is to increase the amount of locally produced and harvested food in the diets of Southeast Alaskans. Our focus is on local — fresh produce, fish, baked goods, prepared foods, cottage foods, arts and crafts — and all products must be made in Alaska (preferably in Sitka or Southeast Alaska, cooked foods may use non-local foods so long as the food is cooked on site). Since our mission is geared toward food security and our space is limited this year, if we have too many vendors try to register our food booths will have a higher priority over arts and crafts. We will try to accommodate as many vendors as possible, but some may need to be outdoors.

The Sitka Farmers Market gots its start from the second Sitka Health Summit, held in April 2008, when Sitka residents chose two food-related community wellness projects to work on for the next year — to create a local foods market and to start a community greenhouse. Later in April, St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church made its backyard available for growing produce, which became St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden, and by August the first of three Sitka Farmers Markets was held. Those projects led to the creation of the Sitka Local Foods Network.

After having to relocate for two years due to COVID-19, we are back where we started out. We will have indoor and outdoor spaces, inside ANB Founders Hall and outside in the Baranof Island Housing Authority parking lot next to ANB Founders Hall.

Since COVID-19 is still around, we will require masks inside the ANB Founders Hall when Sitka is at the Moderate/Medium or High risk levels. While most people now are vaccinated against the coronavirus, there still are people who aren’t vaccinated and there are periodic hot spots when the illness flares up. We don’t want the market to be a place that spreads the coronavirus. Even with our outside booths, we encourage vendors and customers to wear masks, to use hand sanitizer, and to avoid bunching up while giving others six feet of space.

Last year we launched our online vendor registration website, http://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com, and we will continue to use that this year. Vendors need to register by the Thursday morning before each market to be guaranteed a spot. Tables/booths are $40 each, with a special of $240 (instead of $280) for someone registering for all seven markets before the first one takes place. We also have a youth vendor program, where youth ages 14 or younger can reserve a table for $20 for the full season. Due to Covid and the need for personal space indoors, we are not selling half-tables this year.

Please read the market vendor rules and responsibilities and Covid-19 protocol documents linked below. All vendors using this site to register for the market will be held to these rules. Unless you specify you want to be outside, we will try to find room for you indoors. We are not selling half-tables this year because we need social-distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Vendors can pay using PayPal or credit/debit card. When you get to the Payment options, click PayPal (not Invoice) and it should give you the option of using a PayPal account or four different types of cards (Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, Discover). If you prefer to pay by cash or check, contact Charles Bingham at 907-623-7660. We will provide a $35 refund for cancellations, but to get the refund you are required to let us know before Wednesday of the week of your registered market that you can’t make it. This is $5 less than the $40 table fee since we are billed for transaction fees and other expenses. There is no refund if you don’t let us know until after Wednesday.

Nalani James is the Sitka Farmers Market manager this summer (she’s on the left in the photo above). Laura Schmidt (center in photo) is our lead gardener at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, where the Sitka Local Foods Network grows most of the produce it sells at the market. Charles Bingham is the assistant market manager and the president of the Sitka Local Foods Network.

In addition to vendors, we also are looking for volunteers to help us set up the markets, take down the markets, and sell produce at the Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand during the market. You can get more information about how to volunteer at this link, https://sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/2022/06/15/sitka-local-foods-network-seeks-volunteers-to-help-with-sitka-farmers-markets/.

For questions about the market, email us at sitkafarmersmarket@gmail.com or call (907) 623-7660. More details about the market will be posted on the Sitka Local Foods Network website, http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org, and shared on its Facebook pages — https://www.facebook.com/SitkaLocalFoodsNetwork and https://www.facebook.com/SitkaFarmersMarket — and on Twitter, https://www.twitter.com/SitkaLocalFoods.

• 2022 Sitka Farmers Market Vendor Rules and Responsibilities

• 2022 Sitka Farmers Market Covid-19 mitigation plan

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

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

This month’s newsletter includes short stories about a special class on how to start a cottage foods business from the Sitka Kitch, a notice that vendor registration for the 2022 Sitka Farmers Market is open, 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).