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

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).

Thanks for a successful 15th season of the Sitka Farmers Market

The Sitka Local Foods Network just completed its 15th season of hosting the Sitka Farmers Market. We hope Sitka residents enjoyed the market, and we plan to be back next summer for a 16th season.

Over the last couple of years, we had to make some adjustments as we dealt with this Covid-19 pandemic thing, which meant relocating our market for two years and reformatting it in one of those years. This year we were able to return to our usual venue, the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, even though we still had to require masks when we had markets during high-Covid risk weeks. 

But we got through it and hope to have a better season next year.

The Sitka Local Foods Network couldn’t host the market without the support of a wide range of sponsors. We have a tiered sponsorship program with four levels — Grower ($2,500-plus), Harvester ($1,000-$2,499), Planter ($250-$999) and Friend ($50-$249). These are local businesses and individuals, and even a few not from Sitka, who are supporting our programs.

Our Grower Level sponsors in 2022 included the Alaska Cancer Partnership (a program of the Alaska Division of Public Health), The Alaska Community Foundation, and Alaska Food Policy Council.

Our Harvester Level sponsors were the Sitka Salmon Shares 1% For The Wild Fund, Sitka Legacy Foundation, SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), Sitka White Elephant Shop (White E), the GCI Gives Fund, ALPS Federal Credit Union, and the Alaska Farmers Markets Association.

Our Planter Level sponsors were Harry Race Pharmacy/White’s Inc., Sea Mart, Market Center, Fish and Family Seafoods, the Sitka Employees of First National Bank Alaska, Sitka True Value, Linda Schmidt, Amanda Anjum, David and Margaret Steward, and Charles Bingham.

Our Friend Level sponsors included Beth Short-Rhoads, Patricia Atkinson, Guillermo Espinoza, Ehsan Espinoza, Robb Garni, Jud Kirkness, Catherine Allgood-Mellema, Joe Leghorn, Pat Hanson, Beth Kindig, Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Jaime Zelhuber, Christina Kowalczewski, Traci Gale, Math Trafton, Zoe Trafton, Leah Mason, Moira McBride, Steve Paustian and Mary Beth Nelson, Aubrey Nelson, and Robin Sherman. 

We thank you for your support. We also appreciate everybody who came to one of our markets this summer to support the local businesses selling local food or arts and crafts. 

This brings us to our offseason, where we plan and raise funds for 2023. The Sitka Local Foods Network is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to increase the amount of locally produced and harvested food in the diets of Southeast Alaskans. In addition to the Sitka Farmers Market, we grow food at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, sponsor the Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest, and connect residents to education opportunities for growing, cooking, and preserving local food. 

We always need new board members and volunteers. For more information, go to our website at www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org or contact SLFN Board President Charles Bingham at sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com.

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).

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).

Scenes from the third Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
Sitka Farmers Market volunteer Darbi Neilson, right, presents the Table of the Day Award for July 30 to Lisa Teas Conaway of Flying Ravens Art. Lisa sold pen-and-ink drawings, gift cards, and other artwork. She received a Sitka Local Foods Network tote bag, a Sitka Farmers Market special label chocolate bar, a bag of salad greens, a bag of snap peas, a packet of Alaska Flour Company barley flour pancake mix, and other prizes. The next Sitka Farmers Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street). That will wrap up National Farmers Market Week, which is Aug. 7-13, so stop by to celebrate. 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.

It was gray and drizzly for the third Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 season, our 15th summer. This market, on Saturday, July 30, had a smaller number of vendors registered, so all of the vendors were moved inside the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, where the first 12 years of Sitka Farmers Markets were held.

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

We appreciate everybody who made this market season a success, especially all of our vendors, volunteers, and our customers who wore masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. If the city’s Covid-19 risk level is high, we require masks inside ANB Hall. If the city’s Covid-19 risk is medium, 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, Aug. 13, 27, 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. 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 third market of the summer is posted below.

Scenes from the second Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
Sitka Farmers Market volunteer Corey Accardo, left, and Sitka Local Foods Network board member Edie Leghorn, right, present the Table of the Day Award for July 16 to Charlie Bower III of Natural Artist Enterprize. Charlie sold mushrooms and mushroom products, salmonberry popsicles, local books, and other items. He received a Sitka Local Foods Network tote bag, a Sitka Farmers Market special label chocolate bar, a bag of salad greens, a jar of Moosetard mustard, a jar of Foraged & Found kelp salsa, and a bottle of Moosetard Lead Dog BBQ sauce. The next Sitka Farmers Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street). 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.

It was gray and drizzly for the second Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 season, our 15th summer. This market, on Saturday, July 16, had a small number of vendors registered, so all of the vendors were moved inside the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, where the first 12 years of Sitka Farmers Markets were held.

We appreciate everybody who made this market season a success, especially all of our vendors, volunteers, and our customers who wore masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. If the city’s Covid-19 risk level is high, we require masks inside ANB Hall. If the city’s Covid-19 risk is medium, 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, July 30, Aug. 13, 27, 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. 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 second market of the summer is posted below.

Scenes from the first Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK Sitka Farmers Market volunteer Shannon Cellan, center, presents the Table of the Day Award for July 2 to Harriet, left, and Ron McClain of Fish Bone Studios. Harriet and Ron sold local books, pottery, and other items. They received a Sitka Local Foods Network tote bag, two Sitka Farmers Market special label Theobroma chocolate bars, a jar of Barnacle BBQ sauce, a jar of Foraged & Found kelp salsa, and a bottle of Moosetard Lead Dog BBQ sauce. The next Sitka Farmers Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 16, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street). Vendors can register online (by Thursday 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.

Sunny skies and hot weather greeted the first Sitka Farmers Market of its 15th summer. This market, on Saturday, July 2, saw the market return to its roots at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, where the first 12 years of markets were held.

We appreciate everybody who made this market season a success, especially all of our vendors, volunteers, and our customers who wore masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

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, July 16, 30, Aug. 13, 27, 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. 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 first market of the summer is posted below.

Voting open in 14th annual America’s Farmers Market Celebration

The voting period for the 14th annual America’s Farmers Market Celebration is open and people can go online and support their favorite farmers markets through Sept. 19. After being sponsored under various names by the American Farmland Trust during its early years, this year the Trust is teaming up with the Farmers Market Coalition to host the contest.

They also have increased the prize money, with the top farmers market winning $5,000, second place receiving $2,500, third place $1,500, fourth place $750, and fifth place $250. Only the top three finishers won cash last year, and there was just $5,000 total instead of this year’s $10,000.

Last year, the Sitka Farmers Market was the top market in Alaska again. The Sitka Farmers Market has been the top vote-getter in Alaska for the past five years, and seven of the past eight years. The contest uses online voting, but each email address is only allowed to vote once so people can’t stuff the ballot box. Voting opened on June 20 this year.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we made several major changes to the Sitka Farmers Markets in 2020 and some of those are carried forward into 2021. We are trying to return to a semblance of normal in 2022, but we still are watching for more COVID-19 outbreaks.

In 2020, we had a greatly scaled back market, a switch to an online ordering system, a new pick-up event location, and new health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. We had a fuller market in 2021, with the market entirely outdoors at a different location to prevent COVID-19 spread. This year we are back at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, where we hosted our first 12 years of markets. While we do have an indoors component this year, people still are encouraged to wear face masks if we are in High or Moderate risk levels to help prevent COVID-19 spread. Even though most Sitka residents have been vaccinated, COVID-19 remains present and there are many variants.

This year we plan seven full markets in our 15th season, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, July 2, 16, 30, Aug. 13, 27, Sept. 10, and 24, at the ANB Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street) and Baranof Island Housing Authority parking lot next to ANB Hall. Nalani James will manage the markets again this year, with Charles Bingham assisting. At the markets, depending on which vendors register, we plan to have fresh local produce, fish, cottage foods, homemade baked goods, hot food, food trucks, arts and crafts, live music, and more. We added a new online vendor registration website last year, https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. We also still have our youth vendor program.

Barring the end of the pandemic, all of our volunteers will be wearing masks and gloves to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. We ask our customers to wear masks and give people space during the market. We want to encourage community connection and small businesses at the markets, but this is a healthy activity and we don’t want to spread the coronavirus.