• 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:

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• 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.

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• Malinda and Karen’s Bakery wins Table of the Day award from second Sitka Farmers Market

Sitka Local Foods Network boardmember Johanna Willingham, left, presents Karen Christner, center, and Malinda Bonsen, right, of Malinda and Karen's Bakery with the Table of the Day award at the second Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on July 31 at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Sitka.

Sitka Local Foods Network boardmember Johanna Willingham, left, presents Karen Christner, center, and Malinda Bonsen, right, of Malinda and Karen's Bakery with the Table of the Day award at the second Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on July 31 at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Sitka.

Karen Christner and Malinda Bonsen of Malinda and Karen’s Bakery won the Table of the Day award at the second Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on July 31 at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall.

The two local home bakers were presented with a certificate, $25 cash and a farmers market cookbook by Sitka Local Foods Network boardmember Johanna Willingham. Karen and Malinda baked bread, cinnamon rolls and other desserts to sell at the July 31 market. They also sold some flowers and vegetables from their home gardens.

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. 14, 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 second 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 two dozen 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 (a Medium market) well ahead of us in the battle for the top market in the state. Voting continues through the end of August so we need your votes to close the gap.

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• Lori Adams of Down To Earth U-Pick Garden wins Table of the Day at first Sitka Farmers Market

Sitka Local Foods Network Board Member Doug Osborne presents Lori Adams of Down To Earth U-Pick Garden the Table Of The Day award for the first Sitka Farmers Market of the 2010 summer season

Sitka Local Foods Network Board Member Doug Osborne presents Lori Adams of Down To Earth U-Pick Garden the Table Of The Day award for the first Sitka Farmers Market of the 2010 summer season

Lori Adams of Down To Earth U-Pick Garden received the Table of the Day Award from the first Sitka Farmers Market of the 2010 summer season July 17 at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall.

Adams, who has had booths in the Sitka Farmers Market for three years, grows vegetables, flowers, berries and herbs at her garden, located at 2103 Sawmill Creek Road. Sitka Local Foods Network Board Member Doug Osborne presented Adams with a certificate, $25 cash and a copy of the South Anchorage Farmers Market Cookbook.

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, July 31, Aug. 14, Aug. 28 and Sept. 11, at historic ANB Hall.

The first market of the season received lots of publicity, including a KCAW-Raven Radio morning show interview (link has audio) with Sitka Local Foods Network President Kerry MacLane on Friday, July 16, to preview the first market, and an audio postcard on KCAW’s Monday, July 19, newscasts. The Daily Sitka Sentinel also ran a Weekend feature on Friday, July 16, and had a front-page photo from the market on Tuesday, July 20 (password required to view content).

A slideshow of photos from the first 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. The Sitka Farmers Market was the leading vote-getter for Alaska as of Thursday, July 22, but voting continues through the end of August so we need your votes.

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• Fast Food Nation author encourages Alaskans to grow their own local food

Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser, second from left, visits with University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences associate professor Joshua Greenberg, left, student Charles Caster, third from left, and professor Milan Shipka, right, during a May 27 visit to speak at UAF. (Photo courtesy of the UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences blog)

Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser, second from left, visits with University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences associate professor Joshua Greenberg, left, student Charles Caster, third from left, and professor Milan Shipka, right, during a May 27 visit to speak at UAF. (Photo courtesy of the UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences blog)

Eric Schlosser, the author of “Fast Food Nation” and “Chew On This,” encouraged Alaskans to grow their own local foods during a May 27 lunch of Alaska-grown food with University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences (SNRAS) students, faculty and staff involved with food security and food production.

Schlosser, who also co-produced the films “Food, Inc.” and “There Will Be Blood,” was in Fairbanks to give a lecture that night as part of UAF’s Summer Sessions. Stories about his lecture can be found on the SNRAS blog and in the UAF Sun Star student newspaper, and a preview story was in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

During his free lecture, Schlosser discussed the recent changes to how our food is grown and prepared, and about how we are losing contact with how our food gets to our plates. He focused on many of the industrial agriculture themes highlighted in his more popular book, “Fast Food Nation,” and some of the resulting problems, such as the low wages and vulnerable workforce in fast food production and the use of hormones in feedlot cattle and issues with antibiotics given feedlot animals.

He also delved into some of the resulting health issues from eating too much fast food, a topic he discussed in his book “Chew On This,” which was written for older children. (Editor’s note: “Chew On This” has a section about the Stop The Pop movement by schools in rural Alaska to eliminate soda pop from their school vending machines.) According to the SNRAS blog, Schlosser discussed the connections between our highly processed, industrial food and diseases such as diabetes.

The people most at risk are children and the elderly. Fast food, which is high in fat, sugar, starch, and salt, compromises the health of these vulnerable citizens. “These are ideal foods to make you unhealthy,” Schlosser said. “And they sell tons of soda because it is the most profitable thing they sell.”

While people in the US used to be some of the most fit people now they are terribly unfit. The obesity rate has nearly doubled for toddlers and tripled for children ages 6 to 11. “Alaska has one of the highest obesity rates in the US,” Schlosser said. “Alaska has more in common with Alabama and Mississippi than western states when it comes to obesity.”

Diabetes is another concern, with one in three children born in 2000 destined to develop diabetes. Among poor people the number is one in two.

“What is to be done?” Schlosser asked. “That all sounds really grim but an entirely different system is possible and necessary.” He stressed organic foods, buying local food, and reconnecting people with where food comes from. He said he is encouraged by the interest in sustainability found on college campuses.

“The fast food system exploits the weak and the poor and threatens our entire democratic system,” he said. “We need an agricultural system based on social policies and access to healthy, nutritional food for every member of society.”

Schlosser also noted how dependent Alaska has become on imported food, and how that impacts food security.

“Hey, you guys in Alaska gotta grow your own. You need to remember where food comes from. Alaska is the most food insecure state; that is not good.” He said Alaska has 15 million acres suitable for agriculture, yet only 30,000 acres are cultivated. (See addendum below.) “Rhode Island has twice as many farms as you and their value of agricultural products is twice as big. Now come on, you guys need to grow food in your back yards, have school gardens, and buy food grown in this state.”

(Addendum — From SNRAS Dean and AFES Director Carol Lewis, June 1, 2010: The 15 million acres is a wonderful quote, but if you look at Roeger (1958), you’ll see the rest of the story. Only 500,000 are accessible by road or rail. There are opportunities to use non-agricultural lands if we use controlled environments and composting, however. There are more than 30,000 acres actually cleared and in Delta alone there are about 100,000 acres.)