24th annual Running of the Boots raises funds for Sitka Local Foods Network and Youth Advocates of Sitka

It’s time to dig your XtraTufs out of the closet and paint them up. The 24th annual Running of the Boots begins at 11:30 a.m. (registration opens at 10:30 a.m.) on Saturday, Sept. 22, at the big tent near Totem Square park on Lincoln Street. This year the costumed fun run fundraiser benefits two local nonprofit organizations — the Sitka Local Foods Network and Youth Advocates of Sitka.

This year, there will be more food, music and other tents staged near the start of the Running of the Boots, so it will have a more festive atmosphere. This change allows the race to be a bigger part of the Season’s-End Celebration festivities hosted downtown by the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Cruise Line Association. In addition to the Running of the Boots, the Season’s-End Celebration includes a lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for Sitka residents featuring hamburgers, hot dogs, and fish. People are asked to make a $2 donation when they get their lunch, and the money raised will go toward a local community group or nonprofit to be announced.

THIS JUST IN: Russell’s has donated 10 pairs of XtraTufs for door prizes at the Running of the Boots. Thanks, Russell’s.

“We’re happy to share this event with Youth Advocates of Sitka this year,” Sitka Local Foods Network board president Charles Bingham said. “The Sitka Local Foods Network has hosted this event for the past decade, but this year we weren’t sure if we had enough board members in town to keep the event going. It’s a great event, and I’m happy Youth Advocates of Sitka decided to partner with us to keep it around for a 24th year. We lost our co-sponsor from last year when the organization closed its Sitka office and we needed to find a partner to continue this event. We wanted to honor the kid-friendly aspect of the event, and Youth Advocates of Sitka serves that role, as well as operating a youth-run food business (the Smoothie Truck) during the summer.”

“Youth Advocates of Sitka is proud to be involved with the Sitka tradition, Running of the Boots,” Youth Advocates of Sitka executive director Charlie Woodcock said. “Our vision is to empower youth to grow into healthy, happy, and productive members of our community. What a wonderful opportunity for us to support our youth and community with a fun and original celebration!”

So what is the Running of the Boots? It’s Southeast Alaska’s answer to Spain’s “Running of the Bulls.” Sitkans wear zany costumes and XtraTufs — Southeast Alaska’s distinctive rubber boots (aka, Sitka Sneakers). For the past decade, the Running of the Boots raised funds for the Sitka Local Foods Network, a nonprofit organization that hosts the Sitka Farmers Market and advocates for community gardens, a community greenhouse, sustainable uses of traditional subsistence foods and education for Sitka gardeners. This year, it also will raise funds for Youth Advocates of Sitka, which provides a variety of mental and behavioral services for youth and their families in Sitka.

The Running of the Boots is a short race for fun and not for speed, even though one of the many prize categories is for the fastest boots. Other prize categories include best-dressed boots, zaniest costume, best couple, best kids group and more. The course starts at Totem Square park, and runners will run from one end of Lincoln Street to the other and back to Totem Square park (or, we may just run from Totem Square down Lincoln Street to St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral, where runners will loop around the church and head back to Totem Square). There will be lots of prizes, including some new pairs of XtraTufs. There also is live music, and fun for the entire family. Some of the better costumes in recent years have been worn by adults.

The entry fee for the Running of the Boots is $10 per person and $30 per family, and people can register for the race starting at 10:30 a.m. Costume judging starts about 11 a.m., and runners hit the streets at 11:30 a.m. (NOTE: these times are a half-hour later than in recent years). As usual, local merchants have donated bushels of prizes for the costume contest. The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a farm stand booth with fresh veggies for sale from St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm. The booth takes debit cards, WIC vouchers and Alaska Quest (SNAP) electronic benefit cards. The Smoothie Truck also will be at the event.

To learn more about the Running of the Boots, contact Charlie Woodcock of Youth Advocates of Sitka at 747-2910 or by email at charlie.woodcock@sitkayouth.org, or contact Charles Bingham of the Sitka Local Foods Network at 623-7660 or by email at charleswbingham3@gmail.com. We also need several volunteers to help set up and take down the race (at least two needed) and to judge the costumes (two needed). Contact Charlie Woodcock or Sydney Carter of YAS (747-2848 or sydney.carter@sitkayouth.org) to learn how to volunteer.

Historical information about the race (through 2005) can be found online at http://www.runningoftheboots.org/. Info about the Sitka Local Foods Network and more recent Running of the Boots events (2008-17) is online at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/ (type Running of the Boots into the search bar near the top of the page). Click this link to see a slideshow of scenes from the 2017 Running of the Boots.

Also, don’t forget to like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaLocalFoodsNetwork and follow our Twitter page at https://www.twitter.com/SitkaLocalFoods (@SitkaLocalFoods) to stay updated on Sitka Local Foods Network activities. The Youth Advocates of Sitka page on Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/sitkayouth.

Advertisements

Scenes from the fifth Sitka Farmers Market of the 2018 summer

Sitka Farmers Market volunteer Hannah Green, right, presents the Table of the Day Award to Gracelynn Friske, left, and Andrew Friske, center, of the FV Adria during the fifth market of the summer held Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall. The FV Adria had a few live Dungeness crab at their booth, and customers were directed to their boat in the harbor to purchase crab to take home. As Table Of The Day Award-winners, the Friske family received two Sitka Farmers Market t-shirts, some birch syrup products from Kahiltna Birchworks, a jar of Inga’s Spice Rub, a Chugach Chocolates bar, and a package of Alaska Flour Company cookie mix, and some locally grown beets and salad mix. The next Sitka Farmers Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1, at ANB Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street), with the last market scheduled for Sept. 15. Also, don’t forget to mark your calendar for the 24th Running of the Boots costumed fun run on Saturday, Sept. 22, at Totem Square Park. Race registration opens at 10:30 a.m., with costume judging at 11 a.m. and the race at 11:30 a.m. This event benefits the Sitka Local Foods Network and Youth Advocates of Sitka. To learn more about the Sitka Farmers Market and how to be a vendor, go to the Sitka Local Foods Network website, http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org, or check out our Facebook pages for the Sitka Local Foods Network and the Sitka Farmers Market.

We hosted our fifth Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Saturday, Aug. 25, with a full slate of booths and a decent crowd. The weather was a bit rainy, so most of the booths were inside.

We had lots of produce this time, as the growing season has progressed so more is ready to pick. We even had a vendor selling live crab (note, they had a few display crab at the market and customers went to the boat to pick their Dungeness crabs to take home). Our vendors had a wide range of products for sale. We had vendors selling fhome-baked bread, jams and jellies, sea veggies and teas, garlic, carrots and other produce, locally produced medicinal herbs and tinctures, arts and crafts, and more. We also had a couple of food truck outside. And we introduced a couple of new Alaska Grown product lines this year at the Sitka Local Foods Network’s farm stand.

The next Sitka Farmers Market takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1, at the ANB Founders Hall. There last market of the summer is scheduled for Sept. 15.

Also, the Sitka Local Foods Network will co-host the 24th annual Running of the Boots costumed fun run (with Youth Advocates of Sitka) on Saturday, Sept. 22, at Totem Square Park. Registration opens at 10:30 a.m., costume judging starts about 11 a.m., and the race starts at 11:30 a.m. We plan to have a farm stand at the event, and YAS will have the Smoothie Truck. The entry fee is $10 for individuals and $30 for families. There will be door prizes and live music, too. This event is part of the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce’s annual End-Of-Season Celebration, which includes a community lunch for a donation (which usually goes for school activities).

To learn how to be a vendor at the market or how to be a volunteer, contact market manager Nina Vizcarrondo at (907) 738-9301 or assistant manager Charles Bingham (907) 623-7660, or email us at sitkafarmersmarket@gmail.com. We also have a kids vendor program at the market for young entrepreneurs age 12 or younger. Don’t forget to like our Sitka Farmers Market page on Facebook.

A slideshow of scenes from the fifth Sitka Farmers Market of 2018 is posted below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Fish to Schools program launches coho salmon and rockfish donation drive for commercial fishermen

The Fish to Schools program needs help from Sitka’s commercial fishermen. The program needs a few hundred pounds of coho salmon and rockfish to help make Fish to Schools meals for Sitka students during the upcoming 2018-19 school year. The program also is seeking photos of commercial fishermen at work, which can be used to teach the students more about how the fish got to their plates.

The coho salmon donation period is Monday. Aug. 20, through Sunday, Sept. 2. To donate, commercial fishermen can sign up and indicate how many pounds they want to donate when they offload at Seafood Producers Cooperative or Sitka Sound Seafoods during the donation period. The program can only accept commercially caught fish (no sport or subsistence fish). The hope is to get enough coho salmon and rockfish donated that locally caught fish can be offered to students at least once a week. Sign-up sheets will be posted at the scale shacks and in the main offices. Only coho salmon and rockfish will be accepted.

Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School student Naomi Capp, age 9, talks with fisherman Steve Lawrie Wednesday (April 25, 2018) during lunch at the school. The elementary school was hosting fishermen who donated part of their catch to the Fish to Schools program. The program is managed by the Sitka Conservation Society and provides fish dishes as part of the lunch programs at Baranof Elementary School, Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School, Blatchley Middle School, Sitka High School, Pacific High School, the SEER School, and Mount Edgecumbe High School. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

The Sitka Fish To Schools project (click here to see short video) got its start as a community wellness project at the 2010 Sitka Health Summit, and now is managed by the Sitka Conservation Society. It started by providing a monthly fish dish as part of the school lunch as Blatchley Middle School, and since then has grown to feature regular fish dishes as part of the lunch programs at Baranof Elementary SchoolKeet Gooshi Heen Elementary SchoolBlatchley Middle SchoolSitka High SchoolPacific High School (where the alternative high school students cook the meals themselves), the SEER School, and Mount Edgecumbe High School.

In addition to serving locally caught fish meals as part of the school lunch program, the Fish To Schools program also brings local fishermen, fisheries biologists and chefs to the classroom to teach the kids about the importance of locally caught fish in Sitka. The program received an innovation award from the Alaska Farm To Schools program during a community celebration dinner in May 2012, and now serves as a model for other school districts from coastal fishing communities. In May 2014, the Fish to Schools program released a guidebook so other school districts in Alaska could create similar programs.

For more information, contact Chandler O’Connell of the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509 or email chandler@sitkawild.org. If you would like to donate FAS (frozen at sea) fish, please call or text Lexi Fish Hackett at 738-5684.

Scenes from the Sitka Kitch cooking with seaweed class held in conjunction with the Sitka Mermaid Festival

Students made a no-bake mini-cheesecake with agar agar (a red seaweed derivitive) and tried some wheat and seaweed pasta during the Sitka Kitch’s cooking with seaweed class held Tuesday, Aug. 14, as part of the inaugural Sitka Mermaid Festival.

One of the focus areas of the Sitka Mermaid Festival is how to cultivate, harvest and use seaweed, kelp and other sea veggies as a food source and as a commercial enterprise.

This class was team-taught by Sitka Mermaid Festival organizer Amelia Mosher and Hope Merritt of Gimbal Botanicals, with assistance from Roby Littlefield.

Amelia grew up in Sitka and recently returned to town after living in the Lower 48. She has worked as a health educator and also in commercial kitchens in Hawai’i. She taught the cooking portion of the class.

Hope is the owner of Gimbal Botanicals, which sells a variety of seaweed, beach asparagus, sea veggies, teas and other products around town. Hope and Roby taught students about harvesting seaweed, including traditional harvest methods, while also providing samples of various types of seaweed for the students to try.

A slideshow of scenes from the class is posted below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

UAF Cooperative Extension Service offers local food leader and community food systems training Sept. 5-6

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service is offering local food leader and community food systems training on Sept. 5-6, in conjunction with the Iowa State University Cooperative Extension Service. These two classes will be offered by videoconference in Room 107 at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus.

These classes can be taken separately (see details below), or students can take both classes for $85 total.

Local Food Leader Training
Wednesday, Sept. 5, Matanuska Experiment Farm, 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
This half-day workshop is for anyone interested in developing our community food systems in Alaska. Participants will leave this program with awareness, understanding and the confidence to work with various organizations, individuals and institutions to develop their local community food systems. The only requirements are that participants are excited about creating strong community food systems in Alaska and have decent internet access. The training is in two parts, one day in person plus four online modules. The cost is $25.

Community Food Systems Training
Wednesday, Sept. 5, Matanuska Experiment Farm, 1:30-5:30 p.m. and Thursday, Sept. 6, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
This workshop is geared for those already working in community food systems and seeking additional facilitation or technical skills to support their work. Participation in the local food leader training is preferred but not required. Participants will leave this program with new skills and the confidence to work with various communities to develop place-based food systems and with resources to complete projects related to systemic food system change, including facilitation, strategic planning, community food systems assessment, design thinking and evaluation. Training is in two parts, the two-day workshop in person plus four online modules. The cost is $75.

Register at http://bit.ly/2KmvXxE. For more information or with questions, call Melissa Clampitt at 907-745-3551 or email her at mrclampitt@alaska.edu. You also can get more information about the national program here. Melissa provided more details about the classes, posted below.

Local Food Leader goals and objectives:

Goal: Train local food practitioners in foundational practices for food systems programming including basics of food systems, facilitation, reflection on their personal values as it relates to food systems, skills in coalition development, and evaluation tools. Individuals will leave this program with awareness, understanding, and confidence to work with various different individuals, organizations, and institutions to develop their community food system.

Participants will be able to: • Understand global, local, and community food systems • Organize coalitions that work towards collective community goals and assist in the development of mission, vision, and core values • Manage and facilitate conversations effectively between dynamic groups of people • Utilize an equity lens to food systems development • Understand community processes that include facilitation, project management, partnership, and building successful teams • Provide partners with tools and resources in developing various food systems sectors: production, transformation, distribution, consumption, and resource management (grants, best practices, research, etc.) • Engage and empower community partners to work collectively towards a vibrant, healthy community food system that meets the needs of the participants and community members • Know about tools that exist to create food systems reports • Develop successful teams for success project implementation • Construct plans of work, project scope, and budgets • Understand the use and types of logical models • Create evaluation tools that showcase project outcomes

Community Food Systems goals and objectives:

Goal: Train local food practitioners in the community food systems process including: Community Food Systems Program, coalition development, creating community food systems assessments through mapping and public input sessions, priority project management, design thinking, best practices for community food system projects, and evaluation methods for project and program success. Individuals will leave with new skills and confidence to work with various communities in the development of their place-based community food system, with resources to both engage and complete projects relating to systemic community food system change.  

Participants will be able to: • Understand community food systems and how they relate to larger community and economic development goals • Engage and empower community partners to work collectively toward a community food system • Discern the different sectors of the food system and their impact on community • Utilize Collective Impact and Strategic Doing methods • Develop coalitions working toward collective community goals • Strategically partner with organizations for creative collaborations • Execute community processes including facilitation, project management, partnership, and building successful teams • Develop community food systems assessments through mapping, interviews, and public input sessions • Identify primary and secondary data sources for community food systems assessment and priority projects • Utilize community food system assessments to determine priority projects • Understand evaluation methods for determining collective community projects • Acknowledge the importance of design in community food systems and where it fits within project development • Provide partners with tools and resources for various food systems sectors: production, transformation, distribution, consumption, and resource management (grants, best practices, research, etc.) • Apply concepts and skills learned to develop a place-based Community Food Systems Program in your own University or organization. • Create evaluation methods to understand if projects developed are successful

Join us Aug. 18 for a night of blues to support the Sitka Local Foods Network

You’ve heard them play at the Sitka Farmers Market, and now they’re holding a fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network.

The Sitka Blues Band — which features Fred Knowles on guitar, Ritch Phillips on bass, Auriella Hughes on conga drums, Gary Gouker on harmonica, and possibly other musical guests — will play a set or two during its Sitka Summer Blues Party starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 18, in the Mean Queen’s downstairs bar. The band is graciously donating its tips from this event to the Sitka Local Foods Network.

People can order pizza, wings and salads from the Mean Queen, and there will be a full bar with a variety of adult beverages available for purchase.

Feel free to stop by and learn more about the Sitka Local Foods Network and some of the work we do around the community. We thank the band for offering us this fundraiser.

Scenes from the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the 2018 summer

Sitka Farmers Market manager Nina Vizcarrondo, third from left, and Sitka Farmers Market volunteer Nisreen Jehka, right, an exchange student from Thailand, present the Table of the Day Award to Vivian Mork, left, and Aakatchaq Schaeffer, second from left, of Planet Alaska during the fourth market of the summer held Saturday, Aug. 11, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall. Planet Alaska sold jams and jellies, tinctures and salves made from local plants, and artwork. As Table Of The Day Award-winners, Vivian and Aakatchaq received a Sitka Farmers Market t-shirt, a Sitka Local Foods Network apron, some birch syrup products from Kahiltna Birchworks, a jar of Inga’s Spice Rub, a jar of Barnacle kelp salsa, and a package of Alaska Flour Company Great Alaska Pancake Mix, and some locally grown carrots. This was National Farmers Market Week, so they also received two farmers market pins. The next Sitka Farmers Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25, at ANB Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street), with other markets scheduled for Sept. 1, and Sept. 15. To learn more about the Sitka Farmers Market and how to be a vendor, go to the Sitka Local Foods Network website, http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org, or check out our Facebook pages for the Sitka Local Foods Network and the Sitka Farmers Market.

We celebrated National Farmers Market Week during our fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Saturday, Aug. 11, with a full slate of booths and a big crowd. The weather even cooperated, clearing up to blue skies after a morning of clouds and threats of rain and heavy wind.

We had lots of produce this time, as the growing season has progressed so more is ready to pick. We also had a visit by a couple of baby goats. Our vendors had a wide range of products for sale. We had vendors selling frozen and jarred fish, home-baked bread, jams and jellies, sea veggies and teas, garlic scapes, carrots and other produce, locally produced medicinal herbs and tinctures, arts and crafts, and more. We also had a couple of food trucks and a hot dog vendor outside. And we introduced a couple of new Alaska Grown product lines this year at the Sitka Local Foods Network’s farm stand.

The next Sitka Farmers Market takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25, at the ANB Founders Hall. There also are markets scheduled for Sept. 1, and Sept. 15.

To learn how to be a vendor at the market or how to be a volunteer, contact market manager Nina Vizcarrondo at (907) 738-9301 or assistant manager Charles Bingham (907) 623-7660, or email us at sitkafarmersmarket@gmail.com. We also have a kids vendor program at the market for young entrepreneurs age 12 or younger. Don’t forget to like our Sitka Farmers Market page on Facebook.

A slideshow of scenes from the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of 2018 is posted below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.