• Scenes from the May 13 Blessing of the Garden service at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm

RevJuliePlatsonBlessesRhubarb

Parishioners from St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church held a Blessing of the Garden service on Wednesday, May 13, at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden, where they prayed for a bountiful harvest from the garden used by the Sitka Local Foods Network to grow veggies for the Sitka Farmers Market, school lunch and food assistance programs, etc. The service was led by Kit Mellema, and as part of the rogation service tradition in the church the parishioners walked to all corners of the property as Rev. Julie Platson, the new priest in charge at St. Peter’s, sprinkled holy water on the various vegetable garden beds, trees and flowers. A photo slideshow from the service is linked below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

• UAF Cooperative Extension Service to give presentation on preparing food in an emergency

OWL Happy Health Hour Sept. 29

Thursday’s 6.2-magnitude earthquake just north of Anchorage was a good reminder about the need to be prepared, especially in Alaska when we’re so isolated from the rest of the country. In honor of September being National Preparedness Month, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service‘s Happy Health Hour talk this month will be about how to prepare food during a power failure.

The talk takes place from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 29 (Happy Health Hour talks are the fourth Monday of every month) and is available at libraries statewide on the OWL Network. In Sitka, these talks are accessed at Kettleson Memorial Library, which right now is temporarily located in the old Stratton Library building on the Sheldon Jackson Campus.

UAF Cooperative Extension Service agent Linda Tannehill of Kenai will explain what to consider when storing food for emergencies and what food preparation options are available during a power failure. During a power failure, cooking and eating habits must change to fit the situation. We’ll cover what to consider when storing food for emergencies and what food preparation options are available during a power failure.

During an emergency — such as an earthquake, tsunami, or winter weather — the power can go out for hours, if not days or weeks. We also might lose our transportation infrastructure, meaning it could take some time to get a barge or airplane to town with emergency supplies. Individuals, families, and businesses should have spare food, medicine, portable stove and fuel, extra blankets, etc., to weather the emergency. Click this link to learn how to pack a home emergency kit. More emergency preparedness resources are available on the UAF Cooperative Extension Service website.

To learn more about the Happy Health Hour and this presentation, contact the UAF Cooperative Extension Service at 1-877-520-5211 or go to http://www.uaf.edu/ces/. You also can call Jasmine Shaw at the UAF Cooperative Extension Service Sitka District Office at 747-9440 for more information.

• Natural History Seminar Series to feature presentation on Mushrooms of Alaska’s Southern Coasts

mohatth

The next topic of the Natural History Seminar Series will feature Kate Mohatt presenting “Mushrooms of Alaska’s Southern Coasts.” The presentation is at 7:30 p.m. on Friday Sept. 19, in Room 229 at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus.

Kate Mohatt is an ecologist for the Chugach National Forest who has been studying fungi in Montana and Alaska for several years. She has been a key organizer in the Girdwood Fungus Fair and a frequent speaker at the Tongass Rainforest Festival in Petersburg. Mohatt is the lead author of the 2013 publication, Mushrooms of the National Forests in Alaska (available at the USDA Forest Service, Sitka Ranger District office in Sitka, 204 Siginaka Way).

Mohatt will talk about the importance of fungi in forests, and about some common and interesting fungi found in Alaska. She also will lead a walk focused on forest fungi on Saturday, Sept. 20, in Sitka, with details shared at the Friday night seminar.

The seminar series is supported by a grant from the Sitka Permanent Charitable Trust to the Sitka Sound Science Center, and by the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus with support from the USDA Forest Service. If you have questions, please contact Kitty LaBounty at 747-9432.

• Sitka Health Summit planning day is Oct. 3 at Harrigan Centennial Hall

Planning Day Flyer 1 - 2014NewSitkaHealthSummitLogoJoin us for the eighth annual Sitka Health Summit planning day, which takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 3, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

The Sitka Health Summit got its start in 2007 when then-Sitka Community Hospital CEO Moe Chaudry and then-SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Vice President of Hospital Services Frank Sutton decided they needed to bridge the gaps between Sitka’s largest two health services. They launched the Sitka Health Summit, with the help of other supporters in Sitka, as a way to improve community wellness, honor local wellness champions, and more.

One of the highlights of the Sitka Health Summit has been the annual community wellness planning day. During planning day, Sitka residents get together to discuss the health needs of the community and create community wellness projects to address these needs.

Over the years there have been a variety of Sitka Health Summit projects — create a local market for local fish and produce, build a Sitka community greenhouse, become a Bicycle Friendly Community, become a Walk Friendly Community, encourage more kids and families to get outdoors for recreation, support a community health and wellness center (Hames), plant fruit trees around town, get more local fish into school lunches, build a Choose Respect mural, Revitalize Sitka, the Sick-a-Waste compost project, the Sitka Community Food Assessment, and Park Prescriptions. The 2013 Sitka Health Summit projects were Together for a Meth-Free Sitka and Sitka Kitch (a project to create a community rental kitchen and improve Sitka’s emergency food storage capacity). The 2014 Sitka Health Summit will choose two new projects, which will receive $2,000 in seed money to get started.

To register for the Sitka Heath Summit planning day, go to http://www.sitkahealthsummitak.org/ or call 738-0468. A free lunch with locally sourced food will be provided.

 

• Alaska Way of Life 4-H club seeks local gardeners to serve as program mentors

The Alaska Way of Life 4-H club gardens at St. Peter's Fellowship Farm in 2013. (Photo by Matthew Dolkas, courtesy of the Sitka Conservation Society)

The Alaska Way of Life 4-H club gardens at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm in 2013. (Photo by Matthew Dolkas, courtesy of the Sitka Conservation Society)

The Alaska Way of Life 4-H club would like to get its hands dirty and grow some food this summer.

We would love some mentorship and modeling to help us out and build community between our youth and gardeners. If you are interested in sharing your skills and spending a few hours with youth this summer, contact Mary Wood at the Sitka Conservation Society, 747-7509 or mary@sitkawild.org.

Mary said the 4-H club has space at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, so they are looking to meet with local gardeners and see what they are doing; so more like site visits. She’s hoping the gardeners also might be interested in taking volunteer leadership roles with the club and developing mentoring partnerships, which will help make the club program sustainable.

Sitka’s 4-H club is a positive youth development organization that gets youth civically engaged and physically active. Sitka has three 4-H projects: Baking, Shooting Sports, and the Alaska Way of Life outdoor education program. Sitka 4-H Community Club meetings are held at 12:30 p.m. the second Saturday of each month (April 12 is the next meeting) at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St.).

  • Shooting Sports: Contact Paul Rioux for more information,
    paulg.rioux@gmail.com.
  • Baking: Contact Amy Sweeney for more information,
    a_sitka_sweeney@yahoo.com.
  • Alaska Way of Life: Get outside, explore the Tongass, and build community with 4-H. Visit the Sitka Conservation Society website for more information on current events. Summer club registration for hiking, and gardening, and other activities is coming soon. Contact Mary at the Sitka Conservation Society for more information, 747-7509 or mary@sitkawild.org.

• Scenes from the 19th annual Running of the Boots

RaceStartsPilotBoyLooksAtGirlThe 19th annual Running of the Boots costumed fun run fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network took place on Saturday, Sept. 28, as part of the End-Of-Season Celebration.

This year the race had a new course, starting in front of St. Michael the Archangel Russian Orthodox Cathedral and heading out Lincoln Street before looping onto Harbor Drive near City Hall and finishing on Maksoutov Street. There also were prizes for costumes, a table with late-season produce from the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden, a band, and more.

A slideshow of scenes from the race follows below:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

• Sammee’s Creations wins Table of the Day Award at third Sitka Farmers Market of the summer

Sitka Local Foods Network board president Kerry MacLane, left, and secretary/treasurer Linda Wilson, right, present Sammee Falk of Sammee's Creations with the Table of the Day award at the third Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Saturday, Aug. 14, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Sitka.

Sitka Local Foods Network board president Kerry MacLane, left, and secretary/treasurer Linda Wilson, right, present Sammee Falk of Sammee's Creations with the Table of the Day award at the third Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Saturday, Aug. 14, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Sitka.

Sammee Falk of Sammee’s Creations won the Table of the Day award at the third Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Saturday, Aug. 14, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall.

The local jewelry maker was presented with a certificate, $25 cash and a farmers market cookbook by Sitka Local Foods Network board president Kerry MacLane and board secretary/treasurer Linda Wilson. Sammee has been at every market for the last two years. She uses beads and a lot of found objects in her jewelry, such as broken glass found on the beach.

One vendor at each of the five scheduled Sitka Farmers Markets this season will receive a similar prize. The next markets are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on alternate Saturdays, Aug. 28 and Sept. 11, at historic ANB Hall. We look forward to seeing you at our next market.

A slideshow of photos from the third Sitka Farmers Market is posted below, and a similar slideshow can be found on our Shutterfly site.

By the way, if you haven’t already done so, please go to the America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest site, run by the American Farmland Trust, and vote for the Sitka Farmers Market.

Voting is broken down into four categories based on the number of vendors at each farmers market. The four categories are Boutique (15 or fewer vendors), Small (16-30 vendors), Medium (31-55 vendors) and Large (more than 56 vendors). The Sitka Farmers Market competes in the Boutique category, and we need about 50 votes to climb into the national top-20 ranking for our category.

Even though the Sitka Farmers Market is in the smallest size category, it was the leading vote-getter for Alaska as of Thursday, July 29. But a flurry of voting that night vaulted HomeGrown Market of Fairbanks (originally listed as a Medium market, but now listed as Boutique) well ahead of us in the battle for the top market in the state. Voting continues through Aug. 31 so we need your votes to close the gap.

And don’t forget, the Alaska Grown Eat Local Challenge takes place on Aug. 22-28 and our next market is on the last day of this special week that promotes eating locally grown and harvested foods. Stop by the Sitka Farmers Market on Aug. 28 to buy what you need to make a local meal.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.