USDA Forest Service, Sitka Tribe of Alaska, Pacific High students plant Tlingít potatoes

SITKA, Alaska, April 26, 2023 — The Sitka Tribe of Alaska (STA), Pacific High School, and Tongass National Forest joined forces last week for the sixth consecutive year to plant Tlingít (also called Maria’s) potatoes. Several STA staff and elders led the 10 school volunteers and 11 Forest Service staff in the planting process, then shared the potato’s history and some stories.

“It was a beautiful, sunny day, and the perfect opportunity to learn the biology, history, and cultural aspects of these interesting root vegetables,” said Eric Garner, Sitka District Ranger.

Tlingít potatoes have been present in Tlingít gardens for more than 200 years. The potatoes originate from Peru, Mexico or Chile, and were a trade item in Southeast Alaska in the early 1800s.

“When you handle these potatoes, you are touching a part of history,” said Tammy Young, a cultural resources coordinator with the STA.

The group plans to harvest the potatoes in October. Since 2017, the Sitka Ranger District has provided a sunny plot of land to serve as the shared potato garden and provided the seed potatoes to plant the garden. Last year, over 700 pounds of Tlingít potatoes were harvested between this garden and the STA plot to feed tribal families. The Tlingít potato continues to be a sustainable food resource, generations later.

For more information on the Tlingít potatoes, contact Tammy Young at 907-738-7689 or tammy.young@sitkatribe-nsn.gov. Those interested in learning more about these interesting potatoes can view the Forest Service video, Tlingít Potato Garden: Culture, Horticulture, Stories, History at https://vimeo.com/416075040.

Alaskans Own community-supported seafood program opens 2023 membership sales

All profits from Alaskans Own’s 2023 seafood sales will go toward fishery conservation and community health and resilience programs

SITKA, AlaskaAlaskans Own is excited to announce that seafood lovers throughout Alaska and Seattle can now sign up for Alaskans Own’s 2023 monthly seafood shares.

This year marks the 14th year that Alaskans Own, a Sitka-based nonprofit, will deliver monthly shares of wild Alaska seafood directly to consumers through its community supported fishery. Based on the widespread community supported agriculture (aka, CSAs) model, CSFs are a way for people to buy a “share” of seafood before the fishing season, giving fishermen some certainty that they have a market before they head out to the fishing grounds. Founded in 2009 by the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA), Alaskans Own is Alaska’s first and oldest community supported fishery and offers monthly seafood shares subscriptions in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Sitka, Juneau, and Seattle.

In 2023, all profits from Alaskans Own seafood sales will go towards ALFA’s Fishery Conservation Network and community health and resilience programs such as ALFA’s Seafood Distribution Network. The Seafood Donation Program, now the Seafood Distribution Network, was created in 2020 in response to COVID-19 and the rise in demand for food assistance throughout Alaska and the greater Pacific Northwest region. Thanks to funding from Catch Together, Multiplier, The Alaska Community Foundation and affiliate Sitka Legacy Fund, First Bank of Alaska, Sealaska, Sitka Rotary Club, The Wave Foundation, Seafood Producers Cooperative, Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association and a host of individual and business donors, ALFA was able to help deliver more than 650,000 donated seafood meals to more than 100,000 families to date. Given the Seafood Distribution Network’s success and continued food insecurity amongst thousands of Alaska households, ALFA and network partners are working to sustain the Seafood Distribution Network and will dedicate a portion of Alaskans Own’s monthly seafood shares to support this important work.

“As a community supported fishery, community is at the heart of who we are and everything we do at Alaskans Own,” said Natalie Sattler, Alaskans Own Program Director. “Our top priority is to take care of our community, whether that’s by safeguarding ocean health, paying local fishermen a good price for their catch, providing our customers with premium quality fish, or ensuring that all Alaskans can have access to nutritious, wild seafood, When someone signs up for our monthly seafood share, they’re not only taking care of their family’s health, but they’re also directly supporting conservation of Alaska’s fisheries and seafood donations for families in need.”

This year Alaskans Own will continue to offer the option for customers to choose from a selection of monthly seafood shares, including a seafood variety share, salmon lovers share, and white fish share. All monthly seafood share options feature hook-and-line caught wild Alaska seafood harvested by Southeast Alaska’s troll and longline fishermen.

“The challenges that we all experienced as a result of the Covid pandemic really reinforced for us at Alaskans Own that we want to do more than just deliver high quality seafood,” said Linda Behnken, Alaskans Own founder, commercial fisherman, and ALFA executive director. “We want our fish to do good and build community. We’re so grateful for our customers who believe in our mission and invest in it every time they buy seafood from Alaskans Own.”

To learn more about Alaskans Own’s monthly seafood shares and other seafood products, visit www.alaskansown.com.

Check out the April 2023 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the April 2023 edition of its monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This month’s newsletter includes short stories about an effort to build two new community gardens in Sitka, our search for a 2023 Sitka Farmers Market manager, the upcoming deadline of the 2023 Pick.Click.Give. donation period, 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).

Check out the March 2023 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the March 2023 edition of its monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This month’s newsletter includes short stories about our search for a 2023 Sitka Farmers Market manager, the sixth annual Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest, the opening of the 2023 Pick.Click.Give. donation period, 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).

Check out the February 2023 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the February 2023 edition of its monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This month’s newsletter includes short stories about the sixth annual Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest, the opening of the 2023 Pick.Click.Give. donation period, our search for a 2023 Sitka Farmers Market manager, 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).

Check out the January 2023 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the January 2023 edition of its monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This month’s newsletter includes short stories about the opening of the 2023 Pick.Click.Give. donation period, our search for a 2023 Sitka Farmers Market manager, 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).

Sunday’s the day to start filing your 2023 PFD applications and make Pick.Click.Give. donations

As 2022 draws to a close, many Alaskans already are thinking about applying for their 2023 Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend check in January. As usual, Alaskans can share their wealth with a variety of Alaska nonprofits, including the Sitka Local Foods Network, through the PFD’s Pick.Click.Give. program.

For the past several years, the Sitka Local Foods Network has participated in the Pick.Click.Give. program, which allows people to donate in $25 increments to their favorite statewide and local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations when they file their PFD applications from Jan. 1 through March 31.

When you choose to donate part of your PFD to the Sitka Local Foods Network, you support the Sitka Farmers Market, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, the Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest, education programs about growing and preserving food, the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen, Sitka Community Gardens, matching dollars at the Sitka Farmers Market for SNAP/WIC beneficiaries, the sustainable use of traditional foods, the Sitka Community Food Assessment, the Sitka Food Summit, and a variety of other projects designed to increase access to healthy local foods in Sitka.

In 2022 Alaskans contributed $3.033 million to 635 Alaska nonprofit organizations, and more than $33.1 million has been donated since the program started in 2009. Some Alaskans choose to donate to just one group, while others may spread several donations around to many groups. There now are 642 total 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations participating in Pick.Click.Give. for 2023 (including multi-location nonprofits), including 25 from Sitka. In 2022, Alaskans donated $38,875 to Sitka-based nonprofits (note, total does not include donations to some nonprofits that are based in multiple cities).

So how do you make a donation to the Sitka Local Foods Network through the Pick.Click.Give. program? First, starting at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 1, go fill out your Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend application at http://pfd.alaska.gov/. When you get to the section of the application asking if you want to participate in Pick.Click.Give. Charitable Contributions program, click on the PCG link and search for the Sitka Local Foods Network. You also can look for us by using the town search for Sitka.

The Pick.Click.Give. program is available only to people who file their PFD applications online, and not to those who file by mail. Even though you can’t file a new PFD application after March 31, you can go back into your application and update your Pick.Click.Give. donations through Aug. 31 each year.

You still can donate to the Sitka Local Foods Network if you aren’t from Alaska or aren’t eligible for a 2023 PFD. To donate, send your check to the Sitka Local Foods Network, 408-D Marine St., Sitka, Alaska, 99835. You also can donate online by going to our online fundraising page on MightyCause.com, and clicking the Donate button to make an online contribution. In addition, there is an online giving page through the PayPal Giving Fund. If you are trying to make nonprofit donations before the end of the 2022 tax year, you can mail in a check or make an online donation. Please let us know if you need a receipt for tax purposes. For more information about donating, you can send an email to sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com.

Thank you for supporting our mission of increasing the amount of locally produced and harvested food in the diets of Southeast Alaskans.

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

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

This month’s newsletter includes short stories about our search for a 2023 Sitka Farmers Market manager, a Preserving Alaska’s Bounty home food preservation online class series taught by the UAF Cooperative Extension Service, 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).

UAF Cooperative Extension Service to teach online Preserving Alaska’s Bounty class series

UAF Cooperative Extension Service agent Sarah Lewis will teach the Preserving Alaska’s Bounty online class series from Jan. 7 to Feb. 4, 2023. The five-week series will give participants the skills necessary to safely preserve foods for their own household. Anyone who wishes to become a food preservation educator within their community may also complete a final exam.

Students will learn about and practice pickling and fermenting vegetables; boiling water-bath canning of fruits, berries, and pickles; pressure canning of meat, fish, and vegetables; as well as dehydration of fruits and vegetables; making jerky; and smoking fish. Other topics will include emergency preparedness, how to start a cottage foods business (aka, a home-based foods business), and information about wild harvested plants.

The course will be offered on the Canvas platform. Live instruction will be offered in a 3-hour Zoom session each Saturday at 1 p.m., with assignments to be completed in the student’s kitchen on their own schedule, as well as assigned readings and other activities. The final session will be on Feb. 4.

Participants must be 16 or older (unless joining a household adult). The registration deadline is Dec. 31. Registration and more class details are available at http://bit.ly/PreservingAlaska2022, or by contacting Sarah at sarah.lewis@alaska.edu. Even though Sarah is based in Juneau, this is an online class so you can take it from anywhere in the state.

A course fee of $150 per household or Zoom connection includes one class textbook, which will be mailed to students. A 50-percent reduction (scholarship) is available if requested. Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made 10 business days in advance of the Jan. 7 start, to sarah.lewis@alaska.edu.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, educational institution and provider and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual: http://www.alaska.edu/nondiscrimination.

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.