• New ‘Make It Local’ cookbook highlights Alaska recipes for kids

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There has been a renaissance of local food in Alaska in recent years, but sometimes it’s difficult to get the kids to eat meals sourced with food from Alaska.

A new cookbook, “Make It Local: Recipes For Alaska’s Children,” produced by the Alaska Child Nutrition Programs, is full of kid-friendly recipes from around the state. The 111-page cookbook can be downloaded free online, or you can order a printed copy (see info at the bottom of the story). The cookbook is a joint project of the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, and the Farm to School Program. It is funded by a grant from USDA Team Nutrition.

The cookbook features a variety of recipes, such as reindeer ratatouille, baked halibut, and teriyaki salmon Caesar salad. It also includes portion sizes and nutrition info that meets the strict USDA requirements for school lunch programs. All of the recipes have been sampled by kids from around the state.

Unfortunately, the cookbook didn’t become available until after the state’s Nutritional Alaskan Foods in Schools program was cut from the budget. That program helped school districts purchase local foods for their students, and also helped Alaska farmers and fishermen meet expenses.

Tanya Dube, the kitchen manager for the Bristol Bay Borough School District, told Dillingham radio station KDLG the cuts made it difficult for small school districts to keep buying local foods. She said she sent a letter to Gov. Bill Walker asking him to return the Nutritional Alaskan Foods in Schools program to the 2017 budget.

“Here in Naknek, or up on the North Slope, or in the Southwest Region School District, we can’t really dedicate money to pay $3.99 a pound for Alaska carrots when we can get carrots grown way far away for $1.00 a pound,” Dube said. “So, losing those funds was a big hit for a lot of districts, but I think rural districts took the biggest hit.”

With deeper budget cuts on their way, Dube is not optimistic about that request, but she says she has to try.

“Asking for money is kind of an exercise in futility, but I feel like if we don’t ask, they’re gonna forget,” Dube said. “They’re gonna forget that there’s not only school children that benefit from having these products, but it benefits growers and producers. It benefits Alaska businesses, because they can plant more barley, or raise more cattle or pigs. It really benefits the whole food supply chain.”

This cookbook is available for online downloads at https://education.alaska.gov/tls/cnp/cookbook/Make_It_Local.pdf.  If you are interested in a printed copy, please contact Jan Mays at jan.mays@alaska.gov or 907-465-8712.

• Sitka Local Foods Network board meeting time and location changed for Monday, May 3

The 2009-10 Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors. Back row, from left, Doug Osborne, Linda Wilson, Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Natalie Sattler, Peggy Reeves and Maybelle Filler. Front row, from left, Lynnda Strong, Kerry MacLane and Suzan Brawnlyn. Not pictured, Tom Crane.

The 2009-10 Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors. Back row, from left, Doug Osborne, Linda Wilson, Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Natalie Sattler, Peggy Reeves and Maybelle Filler. Front row, from left, Lynnda Strong, Kerry MacLane and Suzan Brawnlyn. Not pictured, Tom Crane.

The time and location have been changed for this month’s meeting Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors. The meeting now will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 3, at the Sitka Economic Development Association (SEDA)/Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce conference room on the second floor of the Troutte Center Building on Lincoln Street (above Seasons card store).

Some of the agenda items for this meeting include Sitka Farmers Market planning, an update from the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden, information about a new garden at U.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka, an update on the 2010 farmers market vendor requirements for the WIC (Women, Infants, Children) supplemental food program, an update on the two presentations by nationally known gardener/author Ed Hume on Monday, May 31, and information about the state response to a request to lease some empty Mt. Edgecumbe High School land for a community greenhouse.

The Sitka Local Foods Network board meetings are open to the public and we welcome new volunteers who want to help with our projects. For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or maclanekerry@yahoo.com, or Linda Wilson at 747-3096 (evenings or weekends only) or lawilson87@hotmail.com.

Suggested agenda for May 3, 2010, meeting of the Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors