Sitka Kitch to host potluck dinner and silent auction fundraiser on Feb. 17

The Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen has a new space, and you’re invited to check it out during a potluck dinner and silent auction fundraiser from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17.

This event is being held in conjunction with the Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit, which runs Feb. 15-17 at various locations in Sitka. Several of the summit participants are staying in Sitka for a Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training on Feb. 18.

The Sitka Kitch is now located in the Sitka Lutheran Church kitchen (224 Lincoln Street, enter through alley off Harbor Drive next to Bev’s Flowers and Gifts, but use public street parking). We’ve held a couple of our Cooking Around The World cooking classes and several Sitka Spruce Tips 4H Club programs. We ask people to bring a dish to share.

This event is $10 at the door, or free if you bring a dish to share. There also will be a small silent auction and we’ll play some trivia featuring questions based on some of the recent classes and food choices at the Sitka Kitch.

Also, watch our online registration page,, as new classes for March will be posted soon (one is a National Nutrition Month class on the Mediterranean diet taught by SEARHC dietitian Katie Carroll, and the other an Indian cooking class taught by Dr. Supriya Mathur). Don’t forget to click on the class title to be taken to the class’s registration page. These classes are fundraisers for the Sitka Kitch.

For more information, contact Claire Sanchez at 747-7509 or


UAF Cooperative Extension Service offers Certified Food Protection Manager class by videoconference Feb. 12 in Sitka


The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will teach a certified food protection manager workshop on Tuesday, Feb. 12. This is an all-day statewide class that will be offered by videoconferencing to Fairbanks, Delta Junction, Valdez, Palmer, Juneau, and Sitka.

A certified food protection manager (CFPM) is responsible for monitoring and managing all food establishment operations to ensure that the facility is operating in compliance with food establishment regulations.

A CFPM is knowledgeable about food safety practices and uses this knowledge to provide consumers with safe food, protect public health and prevent food-borne illnesses. Alaska regulations require food establishments to have at least one CFPM on staff.

This course takes place from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (with a half-hour lunch), and participants will take a computer-based exam at the end of the class. The reason the deadline is two weeks before the class is to guarantee course materials reach all the students in time for the class. The cost is $200, and the course will be taught by Julie Cascio of Palmer. Students can register here, and the registration deadline is Jan. 28.

The Sitka videoconference for the class will take place in a room TBA at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus. To learn more, contact Jasmine Shaw at the Sitka District Office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service at 747-9440, or contact Julie Cascio at (907) 745-3677 (Palmer number) or Note, this class is taught in English but textbooks are available in Korean, Chinese and Spanish, just contact Julie at least three weeks before the class.

Also, the ServSafe book ($70) and certification exam ($75) now are available online, if people want to order the book and study independently without taking the class. Just go to this website and purchase the book and exam items.

UAF Cooperative Extension Service to offer pesticide applicator certification training via videoconference in Sitka

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will offer pesticide applicator certification training Jan. 29-31. The training will take place by videoconference in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Delta Junction, Palmer, Soldotna, Kodiak, Juneau, Sitka and other communities as requested. Classes will meet from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an exam scheduled after the training.

A $75 fee for the videoconference training includes study materials. The workshop will be repeated April 9-11 in the same communities. Registration for both trainings is available at

Participants are encouraged to become familiar with the materials and required math before the training. For more information and to request another training location, contact Phil Kaspari at 907-895-4215 or

Registration open for Alaska Food Festival and Conference on March 8-9 in Homer

Registration is open for the 2019 Alaska Food Festival and Conference, which takes place on Friday and Saturday, March 8-9, at Land’s End Resort in Homer.

Hosted by the Alaska Food Policy Council (AFPC), this semi-annual event previously took place in Anchorage in 2014 and 2016 and in Fairbanks in 2017. This year, the Alaska Farmers Market Association is co-hosting the conference.

“This event is an amazing opportunity to meet enthusiastic folks from all parts of the Alaska food system to share ideas and dreams from educators to farmers, distillers to oyster growers, and communities from Tyonek to Port Lions to Kotzebue,” said Lorinda Lhotka, a governing board member of the Alaska Food Policy Council and one of the conference organizers. “There is truly something for everyone and when you leave this conference you will be motivated to take action to improve your local food system.”

Conference topics will cover Alaska’s vast and diverse food system. This year’s keynote speakers are Ben Feldman, policy director and interim executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition, and Courtney Long, program coordinator for the Iowa State University Cooperative Extension Service and Outreach/Local Foods Program.

Sessions will include presentations on farmers market issues, food security, policy, production, harvesting, business, education, community, tradition, sovereignty, fermenting, subsistence, growing, and more. Chef demonstrations, hands-on activities, vendor booths, and a Friday night social round out the event.

In conjunction with the Alaska Food Festival and Conference, two other events will take place in Homer during this week. There will be a Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training on Thursday, March 7, to teach commercial food growers how to meet the requirements of the new Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule. On Sunday, March 10, the Alaska Farmers Market Association will host its annual meeting and planning session.

“The first ever Alaska Farmers Market Association conference in 2017 brought together market organizers from around the state,” said Robbi Mixon, a governing board member of the Alaska Food Policy Council and coordinator of the Alaska Farmers Market Association. “We shared information and ideas, gained knowledge on running successful markets, and most importantly built a statewide community of market managers who support each other. We’ve joined forces with the Alaska Food Policy Council for our next edition, further broadening the experience and connections for Alaska’s farmers, markets, eaters, businesses, non‐profits, academics … really anyone with an interest in building a stronger food system.”

To learn more about this event, go to the conference website at The website has links to draft agendas and information about registration, event sponsorship, being a vendor, being a volunteer, and how to nominate someone for the Alaska Food Heroes Award. There are a limited number of travel scholarships.

We have arranged a 7 percent travel discount with RAVN Alaska, and people should use the code “AKFOODPOLICY” when booking their airfare. We also have a conference rate of 10-15 percent off regular winter rates at Land’s End Resort for people booking their rooms before March 1 and using the code “FARMERS2019.”

For more information about the conference, contact Robbi Mixon at (907) 235-4068, Ext. 23, or

  • The Alaska Food Policy Council ( 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.
  • The Alaska Farmers Market Association ( is a nonprofit whose mission is to support and promote vibrant and sustainable farmers markets throughout Alaska. AFMA is excited about this opportunity to gather state farmers market organizers and food system leaders together. Market organizers — look for sessions with a focus on farmers markets.

Sitka Local Foods Network seeks volunteer instructors for 2019 spring garden education classes

Are you an experienced Sitka gardener who wants to share your knowledge with the community? The Sitka Local Foods Network is looking for a few volunteer instructors to teach garden education classes this spring.

Classes typically last about 1 1/2 to two hours, and they can cover a variety of Sitka garden topics. In past years we’ve had people teach classes such as Sitka Gardening 101, How to Extend Your Garden Season, How to Grow Potatoes, How to Grow Rhubarb, How to Grow Fruit Trees, How to Grow Garlic (this class was in the fall), How to Raise Chickens, How to Container Garden, How to Compost, and more. The past two years we even had a class on Cottage Food Business Basics (with the help of the Juneau office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service) to help vendors prepare for the Sitka Farmers Market.

Most of the classes tend to be low-key, and the class sizes have ranged from 2-35 depending on the topic. Some classes have been hands-on (with students planting starts in trays), while others have been lectures or group conversations. It depends on the instructor and class. A few classes have been taught at people’s home gardens, but we also have hosted others at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (Thursday nights work best for this venue). Most of our classes are offered for free, except for a couple that had a small supply fee. If you need help preparing a lesson plan, the UAF Cooperative Extension Service provides a variety of free and low-cost publications on Alaska gardening topics that can be downloaded from the Publications part of its website.

If you are available to teach a course or two, please contact Charles Bingham at 623-7660 or so we can build a schedule.

Sitka Kitch to host ‘Indian Cooking With Mohan Raj Arul’ class rescheduled for Feb. 19 as part of Cooking Around The World Series

Learn how to make chicken biryani during the Sitka Kitch class Indian Cooking with Mohan Raj Arul from 6-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15, at the new location of the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen at the Sitka Lutheran Church (224 Lincoln Street, please use the back entrance through the alley by Bev’s Flowers & Gifts, off Harbor Drive). This class is part of our Cooking Around the World series.

(UPDATE: Mohan is back in town and this class has been rescheduled for 6-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at the Sitka Kitch. Since there were a couple of the original students who weren’t able to make the rescheduled class, we have opened three new spots for late additions. The new registration deadline is the night of Saturday, Feb. 16.)

(NOTE: Due to a death in the family this weekend, Mohan had to return to India for the funeral and we’re having to postpone the class until a time TBA. We’re hoping Mohan will be back in Sitka by the end of the month, but right now we don’t know if or when he will be up for teaching the class. The registered students are being notified, and they should contact Claire at Sitka Conservation Society about refunds. If the class is rescheduled, the registered students will get first crack at signing up for the new class date.)

Mohan Raj Arul, left, presents the Table of the Day Award during a Sitka Farmers Market this summer.

Chicken biryani is a classic dish from India and Pakistan, featuring chicken, rice and a variety of spices. Mohan said his version of chicken biryani will be spicier than most. A Pakistani exchange student taught a similar class at the Sitka Kitch in March that was well-received.

Mohan is an AFS exchange student from Chennai, India, who is a junior at Sitka High School. He said his interests are to make scientific new things using old materials. He ran cross country for Sitka High School this fall, and he is playing basketball now and plans to play soccer in the spring. Mohan also helped out at the Sitka Farmers Market this summer.

The registration deadline for the Indian cooking class is 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12, so register now since space is limited. 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 Claire Sanchez or Clarice Johnson at Sitka Conservation Society (747-7509) to arrange a payment. 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 Claire at SCS for more details about the scholarship.

Students should enter the Sitka Lutheran Church through the back entrance (through the alley off Harbor Drive by Bev’s Flowers and Gifts). 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 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.

Check out the January 2019 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the January 2019 edition of its monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This month’s newsletter includes short stories about the Sitka Local Foods Network’s annual meeting and potluck dinner, the start of Pick.Click.Give. for 2019, an update on the Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit to be held in Sitka, information about the Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest, and an invitation to join our board.  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).