• Sitka Local Foods Network one of five Alaska organizations in the Food Tank and James Beard Foundation’s 2014 Good Food Org Guide

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The Sitka Local Foods Network is one of five Alaska food organizations included in the Food Tank and James Beard Foundation‘s 2014 Good Food Org Guide, released on Oct. 26.

According to the Food Tank website, ‘This definitive guide highlights nonprofit organizations that are doing exemplary work in the United States in the areas of food and agriculture, nutrition and health, hunger and obesity, and food justice. Only nonprofit, scholarly, and municipal initiatives have been selected in order to spotlight efforts that are focused on community building and engagement, advocacy, and service.”

The guide is meant to be a definitive resource that highlights the exemplary work non-profit organizations in the United States are doing on food and agriculture, nutrition and health, hunger and obesity, and food justice.

In addition to the Sitka Local Foods Network, the other Alaska groups included in the guide are the Alaska Food Coalition, the Alaska Food Policy Council, the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, and Kids’ Kitchen, Inc. You can download a copy of the 2014 Food Org Guide by clicking the link below.

• Food Tank and James Beard Foundation’s 2014 Good Food Org Guide

• Inaugural Alaska Food Festival and Conference to feature Sitka speakers

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AlaskaFoodPolicyCouncilLogoThree Sitka residents will have prominent roles during the inaugural Alaska Food Festival and Conference on Friday through Sunday, Nov. 7-9, at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Lucy Cuddy Center. This event is hosted by the Alaska Food Policy Council.

Sitka Local Foods Network Board President Lisa Sadleir-Hart will deliver one of the two keynote speeches during lunch on Friday, when she will discuss food security and the results of the Sitka Community Food Assessment.

Keith Nyitray, president of the Sitka Food Co-op board, will participate in a panel discussion Friday afternoon about the future of food cooperatives in Alaska. Gordon Blue, the president/executive director of the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust (which operates the Alaskans Own Seafood community supported fishery program), will participate in a Friday afternoon panel discussion about innovations to enhancing local fishing livelihoods in coastal Alaska.

This event has a different theme for each of the three days. Friday is the Alaska Food Policy Conference, which features local and national speakers who will present and lead discussions on a variety of food security, production, business and community issues. Saturday is the Alaska Food Festival, which gives participants to sample a variety of Alaska food products, attend short classes on various food topics, shop at the farmers market, etc. The event wraps up Sunday with the Food System Open House, where participants can visit sites in Anchorage that are doing exciting work in our food system.

To register for the Alaska Food Festival and Conference use this link, http://akfoodpolicycouncil.wordpress.com/conference/register/. Registration is $125, or $75 for students. For questions or more information, please feel free to contact the Alaska Food Policy Council at 1-907-269-8072 or akfoodpolicycouncil@gmail.com.

• Alaska Food Resource Working Group to hold inaugural meeting Nov. 4 in Anchorage

(The following is a press release from the Alaska Food Policy Council. Sitka Local Foods Network Board President Lisa Sadleir-Hart is a member of the Alaska Food Policy Council’s governing board.)

Alaska Food Resource Working Group to hold inaugural meeting in Anchorage

Statewide call-to-action on food resource development

AlaskaFoodPolicyCouncilLogoANCHORAGE, Alaska (Oct. 31) – Alaskans spend approximately $2.5 billion dollars on food each year, but only an estimated 5 percent of the food Alaskans buy is produced locally. The Alaska Food Resource Working Group (AFRWG) is tasked with changing that statistic and building a strong, resilient statewide food economy. The AFRWG will hold its inaugural meeting from 10 a.m. until noon on Monday, Nov. 4, in Room 602 of the Robert B. Atwood Building, located at 550 West 7th Avenue in Anchorage.

On June 28, 2013, Gov. Sean Parnell signed legislation calling for the creation of the Alaska Food Resource Working Group (AFRWG) under Administrative Order 265, with the goal of building Alaska’s food economy. As a response to House Concurrent Resolution 1, sponsored by Rep. Bill Stoltze, the Governor signed the administrative order to establish a state agency work group focused on recommending policies and measures to increase the purchase and consumption of local wild seafood and farm products.

The AFRWG will be composed of eight (8) state agency commissioners or designees responsible for the development, oversight, and marketing of locally grown and harvested foods. Increasing collaboration between state and local agencies, the University of Alaska, federal agencies, regional corporations, nonprofit organizations, and the Alaska Food Policy Council (AFPC). Danny Consenstein, Alaska Food Policy Council Governing Board Member, will serve as a representative on behalf of the AFPC.

“[AO 265] recognizes the importance to all Alaskans of developing a secure food system that can provide jobs, support healthy communities, and increase food security to feed the hungry and insulate us from potential disruptions along the food supply chain,” said Lisa Sadleir-Hart (Sitka), Governing Board Member of the Alaska Food Policy Council.

The Alaska Food Policy Council (AFPC) is an independent statewide organization with the vision of a healthy, secure food system that feeds all Alaskans. Over 150 representatives from federal and state agencies, tribal entities, university programs, farmers, fisheries, food systems businesses, and health and hunger agencies serve on the AFPC to determine food policy opportunities to ensure a healthy, self-reliant, and prosperous Alaskan food system. A member of the AFPC Governing Board will serve on the AFRWG to represent the broader group of stakeholders on the Alaska Food Policy Council.

“The Alaska Food Policy Council really believes that the group created by this resolution will ultimately help to both bring Alaska’s rich food resources to market and address issues of access to healthy, nutritious, adequate supplies of food for all Alaskans,” declared Mary Sullivan of the Food Bank of Alaska and Alaska Food Policy Council Legislative Workgroup Chair.

By instituting programs and adopting regulations supporting a vibrant food economy in Alaska, the Alaska State Legislature and the Governor are facilitating momentous steps toward a food secure state. HCR1 and Administrative Order 265 demonstrate the commitment of Alaska’s government to the health, safety, welfare, and overall economic and social well-being of Alaska residents.

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The Alaska Food Policy Council is an independent, statewide organization with a vision for a food secure, healthy Alaska. For more information about the Alaska Food Policy Council, please contact Danny Consenstein by phone at (907) 761-7738 or by email at daniel.consenstein@ak.usda.gov.

• Gov. Parnell signs executive order creating the Alaska Food Resource Working Group

AlaskaFoodPolicyCouncilLogoThe following is a note sent to members of the Alaska Food Policy Council listserv by Diane Peck, MPH, RD, a public health nutritionist with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Obesity Prevention and Control Program. Diane also is one of the lead contacts for the Alaska Food Policy Council.

Last Friday (June 28, 2013), at the Palmer Farmers Market, Gov. Sean Parnell signed Administrative Order No. 265 (http://gov.state.ak.us/admin-orders/265.html) to establish the Alaska Food Resource Working Group (AFRWG) to recommend policies and measures to increase the purchase and consumption of local wild seafood and farm products. This is a bit different than HCR 01. The AFRWG is composed of eight state agency commissioners or their designee. “The AFRWG shall collaborate with the Alaska Food Policy Council . . . and shall invite a member of the AFPC governing board to represent the AFPC at scheduled meetings.”

The goals of the group are:

  • Develop a mission statement that promotes increased use of locally grown and harvested foods within state and local agencies, institutions, and schools;
  • Identify factors that might discourage or prevent locally harvested and produced food from being purchased by federal, state and local agencies, institutions, and schools;
  • Review existing or proposed programs, policies, statutes, and regulations that impact the state’s food system and recommend to policymakers methods to improve coordination and implementation;
  • Identify research needed to support and encourage increased consumption and production of local foods within the state; and
  • Engage with the public to seek additional input on ways to promote the above-listed goals.

Lots of legislators and several commissioners were at the signing.  The governor said this elevates the group to “sub-cabinet” status.

To learn more about the Alaska Food Policy Council, go to its website or like its Facebook page. Sitka Local Foods Network board president Lisa Sadleir-Hart represents Sitka on the Alaska Food Policy Council.

• Alaska Food Policy Council press release about the executive order

• Sitka Farmers Market vendor forms ready for 2012

The vendor forms for the 2012 Sitka Farmers Markets are finally ready so prospective vendors can review them and familiarize themselves with the food safety, market and sales tax rules.

This year the Sitka Farmers Markets take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on alternate Saturdays starting on July 7 and running through Sept. 15 (July 7, 21, Aug. 4, 18, Sept. 1 and 15) at the historic Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall located at 235 Katlian St. This year we have a new market manager, Johanna Willingham-Guevin, and she will be assisted by Jasmine Shaw. Please remember that our focus is on locally grown or produced items at the market (no goods produced outside Alaska allowed, except for certain food items that are to be consumed at the market).

Prospective vendors can send their completed forms to Johanna Willingham, P.O. Box 6235, Sitka, Alaska 99835. Johanna’s e-mail address is johanna.willingham@gmail.com, and her cell number is 738-8336. All forms can be downloaded as Adobe Acrobat (PDF) files. These forms also are posted on our Forms page.

• 2012 Sitka Farmers Market Vendor Registration Packet

• 2012 Sitka Farmers Market Food Rules Vendor Packet

• 2012 Sitka Farmers Market Home Baker Guidelines Packet

• 2012 Sitka Farmers Market Home Baker Vendor Application Packet (Required By Alaska Department Of Environmental Conservation)

• 2012 Sitka Farmers Market Home Baker Ingredient Inventory Forms (Required By Alaska Department Of Environmental Conservation).

• 2012 “Do I Need A Permit?” List For Food Vendors

• 2012 “Safe, Small, Local” Brochure About Preparing Food For Farmers Markets, Bazaars And Other Events From Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation

• 2012 Sitka Farmers Market Sales Tax Form For City And Borough Of Sitka

• 2012 Sitka Farmers Market Vendor Rules And Responsibilities Packet (Has Table/Tent Fee Information)

• Alaska Food Policy Council seeks people to join its five priority strategies action plan work groups

The Alaska Food Policy Council  is seeking Alaska residents to participate in five workgroups to help develop action plans for certain key food issues in the state.

A group of 30 council members met on April 4-5 to develop basic action plans geared toward five priority strategies to improve food security in the state. Now they need people to begin implementing the individual action plans. The five priority strategies are part of the Alaska Food Policy Council’s three-year strategic plan developed at its Jan. 12 meeting.

The five priority strategies include:

  • Improving school-based programs such as Farm to Schools and Fish to Schools;
  • Strengthening enforcement of the state’s 7-percent bidding preference for Alaska Grown food;
  • Improving emergency food preparedness plans throughout the state;
  • Serving as a research aggregator/resource to help people get a better handle on Alaska’s food situation and supply chain; and
  • Supporting local food efforts throughout the state.

The Alaska Food Policy Council got its start during a May 18-19, 2010, meeting in Anchorage. Sitka Local Foods Network treasurer Lisa Sadleir-Hart, a registered dietitian and SEARHC Health Educator, is one of the 30 members of the council.

These five work groups are open to anybody who has a special interest in the various topics. To learn more about the work groups, contact Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 966-8735 or lisa.sadleir-hart@searhc.org, or contact Alaska Food Policy Council Coordinator Diane Peck with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Obesity Prevention and Control Program at 269-8447 or diane.peck@alaska.gov.

• Alaska Food Policy Council School Programs Action Plan (Strategy 1)

• Alaska Food Policy Council Local Grown Action Plan (Strategy 2)

• Alaska Food Policy Council Disaster Preparedness Action Plan (Strategy 3)

• Alaska Food Policy Council Research and Information Action Plan (Strategy 4)

• Alaska Food Policy Council Public Engagement Action Plan (Strategy 5)

• Alaska Food Policy Council releases its 2012-15 strategic plan

The Alaska Food Policy Council recently released its 2012-15 Alaska Food Policy Strategic Plan, which was about a year in development.

This spring, the council will work on action-planning on its top five priority strategies:

  1. Develop, strengthen and expand the school-based programs and policies that educate about and provide healthy, local foods to schools (e.g., Farm to School Program, Agriculture in the Classroom, traditional foods in schools, school gardens).
  2. Strengthen enforcement language in the Local Agricultural and Fisheries Products Preference Statute (AS 36.15.050), also known as the “Seven Percent” statute and Procurement Preference for State Agricultural and Fisheries Products (Sec. 29.71.040).
  3. Advocate and participate in the development of community level and comprehensive statewide emergency food preparedness plan(s).
  4. Develop AFPC’s role as research aggregator and resource.
  5. Identify and support existing local food system leaders, projects, events, and activities that support Alaska’s food system.

“The Alaska Food Policy Council has been working toward this strategic plan since May 2010,” said Diane Peck, MPH, RD, a community and evaluation specialist with the Alaska Obesity Prevention and Control Program who leads the council. “Initial committees worked to identify Alaska’s food system issues and concerns and then the strategic planning group worked to turn those into our goals and strategies. It’s exciting to see such a broad spectrum of food system stakeholders come together to develop a clear and concise plan that will help guide local, regional and statewide food systems planning in Alaska.”

“The Alaska Food Policy Council works to strengthen Alaska’s food systems to spur local economic development, increase food security, and improve nutrition and health,” according to the council’s website. “The council serves as a resource for information on local and state food systems, and works to identify and propose policy and environmental changes that can improve the production, processing, distribution, health, security and safety of our food.”

According to the council’s website, “the long-term goals of the Alaska Food Policy Council are to identify barriers to building a viable Alaska food system, create a strategic plan to address these barriers, and make the necessary recommendations to decision makers to implement this plan. Diverse stakeholders from around the state have been invited to participate, including representatives for commercial farmers, farmers’ markets and CSAs; fisheries and fish processors; distributors; institutional purchasers; private-sector businesses; legislators; consumers; Alaska Native tribal organizations; food security organizations; environmental organizations; and local, state, and federal government agencies.

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The Sitka Local Foods Network is represented on the Alaska Food Policy Council by Lisa Sadleir-Hart, MPH, RD, CHES, ACE, community nutrition department manager for SEARHC Health Promotion and the treasurer of the Sitka Local Foods Network.

“Being involved in the Alaska Food Policy Council has deepened my commitment to making local food a reality in Sitka,” Lisa said. “It’s also made me realize that we are already a community ‘on the map’ when it comes to food issues and creative responses. Sitka is considered to be one of the leading communities in the state, on par with Fairbanks/Ester/Delta Junction and Homer.”

The Alaska Food Policy Council will meet April 4-5 in Anchorage for a face-to-face meeting to action-plan the five priority strategies. People interested in providing feedback on the plan should contact Diane Peck at diane.peck@alaska.gov.

• 2012-15 Alaska Food Policy Council Strategic Plan

• Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors to meet on Monday, Feb. 6

The 2011-12 Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors at its winter board retreat on Dec. 3, 2011. From left are Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Doug Osborne, Maybelle Filler, Cathy Lieser, Robin Grewe, Linda Wilson and Kerry MacLane. Not pictured are Johanna Willingham-Guevin and Tom Crane.

The 2011-12 Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors at its winter board retreat on Dec. 3, 2011. From left are Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Doug Osborne, Maybelle Filler, Cathy Lieser, Robin Grewe, Linda Wilson and Kerry MacLane. Not pictured are Johanna Willingham-Guevin and Tom Crane.

The Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors will hold its monthly meeting from 6:30-8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 6, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Building, 408 Marine St. (parking lot is off Spruce Street).

Key topics for the meeting include planning for the Let’s Grow Sitka on March 11, a recap of the Jan. 21 Sitka Local Foods Network annual meeting and potluck, an update on the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center, an update on the Sitka Food Co-op, an update on recent work by the Alaska Food Policy Council, an update on the Sitka Composting Project (Sick-a-Waste), our new logo and t-shirts, planning for spring planting at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm and other community gardens, planning for upcoming events such as the Sitka Farmers Markets on alternating Saturdays from July 7-Sept. 15, and more.

Board meetings are free and open to the general public, usually once a month (except summer). We always welcome new volunteers interested in helping out with our various projects. For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or 747-7888.

• Sitka Local Foods Network hosts annual meeting and potluck dinner on Saturday, Jan. 21

Please join the Sitka Local Foods Network for its annual meeting and potluck dinner at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking lot is off Spruce Street).

Join us as we honor our four years of existence and prepare for our fifth year. During this time, the Sitka Local Foods Network has worked on several initiatives — creating the Sitka Farmers Market, building St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, hosting the Let’s Grow Sitka! garden education event, and more. We supported projects to plant more fruit trees around Sitka, get more local fish served in school lunches and increase Sitka’s ability to compost, and we are working toward starting the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center. We also received a 501(c)(3) non-profit status from the IRS, so people can make tax-deductible gifts to help fund our work.

Our annual meeting and potluck is open to the public, and all Sitka residents are welcome to attend. We will feature local and slow foods, but we really value your attendance. This is our opportunity to say thank you to those who have helped us grow, and it is your chance to learn more about what we’re doing and how you can help.

As we enter 2012, Sitka and the rest of Alaska face some serious food security issues. According to a recent survey by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, the weekly cost for food for a family of four in Sitka has gone up 44 percent over the past five years. With rising fuel prices, this trend does not figure to change in the near future. Sitka still imports about 90-95 percent of its food from the Lower 48 or other countries, which means transportation is a big part of our food cost. The Sitka Local Foods Network is looking for input from Sitka residents about how we can work to improve Sitka’s food security. We also are working with the Alaska Food Policy Council, which is a statewide organization working on food security issues.

So mark your calendar to attend our annual meeting and potluck dinner at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, 408 Marine St. For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654.

• Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors to meet on Monday, Jan. 9

The 2011-12 Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors at its winter board retreat on Dec. 3, 2011. From left are Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Doug Osborne, Maybelle Filler, Cathy Lieser, Robin Grewe, Linda Wilson and Kerry MacLane. Not pictured is Tom Crane.

The 2011-12 Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors at its winter board retreat on Dec. 3, 2011. From left are Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Doug Osborne, Maybelle Filler, Cathy Lieser, Robin Grewe, Linda Wilson and Kerry MacLane. Not pictured is Tom Crane.

The Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors will hold its monthly meeting from 6:30-8 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 9, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Building, 408 Marine St. (parking lot is off Spruce Street).

Key topics for the meeting include planning for the Jan. 21 Sitka Local Foods Network annual meeting, a recap of the recent SLFN board retreat, an update on the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center, an update on the Sitka Food Co-op, an update on recent work by the Alaska Food Policy Council, an update on the Sitka Composting Project, our new logo and t-shirts, planning for upcoming educational events such as Let’s Grow Sitka on March 11 and the Sitka Farmers Markets on alternating Saturdays from July 7-Sept. 15, and more.

Board meetings are free and open to the general public, usually once a month (except summer). We always welcome new volunteers interested in helping out with our various projects. For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or 747-3475.