• Former Sitka resident publishes book about food sovereignty


Andrianna Natsoulas, who lived in Sitka from 2011-13 and also commercial fished in Southeast Alaska before that, recently published the book on food sovereignty, “Food Voices: Stories from the People Who Feed Us.”

In producing the book, Andrianna traveled to five countries where she interviewed more than 70 small-scale farmers and fishermen (including some from Sitka). During these interviews she learned about the struggles and solutions faced by small-scale food producers within the scope of food sovereignty. Food sovereignty asserts the rights of the people to define their own food systems, and says those who produce, distribute and consume food must be at the center of decisions on food systems and policies, rather than the corporations and market institutions that have come to dominate global food trade.

“It is essential that those who are in the trenches are heard,” Andrianna said. “They are the closest to the earth and hold the responsibility in their hands to provide healthy, wholesome, culturally relevant food to their communities now and into the future. They are the roots of the food sovereignty movement.”

To learn more about the project and to order books, go to the Food Voices website.

• Sitka Health Summit presents seed money check to Community Food Assessment for a Food Resilient Sitka project

FOOD ASSESSMENT DOUGH: From left, Sitka Health Summit Steering Committee members Ellen Daly, Elisabeth Crane and Penny Lehmann present a check for project seed money to representatives from the Community Food Assessment for a Food Resilient Sitka community wellness project, Renae Mathson (fourth from left), Sabrina Cimerol, Garrett Bauer and Courtney Bobsin.

FOOD ASSESSMENT DOUGH: From left, Sitka Health Summit Steering Committee members Ellen Daly, Elisabeth Crane and Penny Lehmann present a check for project seed money to representatives from the Community Food Assessment for a Food Resilient Sitka community wellness project, Renae Mathson (fourth from left), Sabrina Cimerol, Garrett Bauer and Courtney Bobsin.

Representatives from the Sitka Health Summit recently presented a check for seed money to the Community Food Assessment for a Food Resilient Sitka project. The project is one of three community wellness projects that came out of the 2012 Sitka Health Summit in October, and the food assessment will help Sitka improve its food security.

The food assessment will take various forms, from polling local grocery stores and shipping companies to try and gauge how much food comes into the community to developing a survey for community members and families about how much food they consume. The project will look at the food needs in our community, as well as what’s available. It also will include a survey about how much fish and game is used in Sitka, as well as how many people gather seaweed and berries or raise food in gardens.

The community food assessment recognizes that everybody in Sitka has access to affordable, quality food from stable food systems. The group meets on the second Wednesday each month, and the next meeting is from 5:30-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the Sitka Sound Science Center.

For more information, contact Renae Mathson at 966-8797 or renae.mathson@searhc.org, or contact Andrianna Natsoulas at 747-3477 or anatsoulas@thealaskatrust.org. Sitka residents can ask to join the Google Groups e-mail list for the project to keep up to date with what’s happening.

• Help wanted: Sitka Community Food Assessment seeks project coordinator

The Sitka Community Food Assessment project is looking to hire a quarter-time project coordinator to oversee the collection of and analysis of data about Sitka’s food supply and demand.

The Sitka Community Food Assessment project is one of this year’s three Sitka Health Summit community wellness projects, which were decided by local residents back in October. The project already has applied for and received a sub-award grant from the SEARHC Community Transformation Grant program to help facilitate the gathering of data about where Sitkans get their food and how much they need.

The project coordinator will work about 10 hours a week at $23 an hour for one year. Depending on other funding and job requirements, there is a possibility the job may expand from quarter-time to half-time.

This new and exciting position will create and support the Community Food Assessment for a Food Resilient Sitka. In order to understand Sitka’s food security, we need to first conduct an assessment. The assessment will be used to develop a Strategic Action Plan to ensure the resiliency of Sitka’s food future. The successful candidate will report to the Sitka Community Food Assessment committee co-chairs.

A copy of the job description is linked below. To apply, please submit a resumé and cover letter. Applications are due by Friday, Nov. 30, and the job starts on Jan. 7. To learn more or to submit your application, please contact Kerry MacLane at maclanekerry@yahoo.com or Andrianna Natsoulas at anatsoulas@thealaskatrust.org.

• Sitka Community Food Assessment project coodinator job description

• Food advocate Andrianna Natsoulas to discuss the food sovereignty movement on Sunday, March 18

Food advocate Andrianna Natsoulas will give a free presentation about the food sovereignty movement at 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 18, at the Kettleson Memorial Library in Sitka.

Andrianna is a longtime advocate for food and environmental issues. She operates the Food Voices website, which features people from around the world (including Sitka) discussing the importance of developing a sustainable and sovereign food system. She also is writing the book, “Food Voices: Stories of the Food Sovereignty Movement.”

The food sovereignty movement is based on community-based agriculture and fishing, rather than industrial food production. More people are becoming concerned about where their food comes from and how it was produced. They are starting to recognize how local food is fresher, tastes better, puts more money back into the local economy, uses less fuel for transportation, and has fewer chemicals and pesticides.

To learn more about the food sovereignty movement, go to Andrianna’s Food Voices website or e-mail her at andrianna@foodvoices.org.

• Let’s Grow Sitka garden education event is Sunday, March 11, at ANB Hall

Mark your calendars, because the 2012 “Let’s Grow Sitka” gardening education event opens at noon and runs until 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 11, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall on Katlian Street. Don’t forget to set your clocks to spring forward so you can get ready to grow.

This annual event brings together local garden supply stores, local gardeners, landscapers and anybody who is interested in learning how to grow food and/or flowers. Sitka Local Foods Network Vice President Linda Wilson, who is coordinating the event with SLFN Board Member Cathy Lieser, was interviewed during the Morning Edition show Thursday on KCAW-Raven Radio and she provided more details about this event (click the link to listen to the interview), which helps Sitka residents get excited about the upcoming garden season.

There will be a wide variety of individuals and businesses with booths for the event, with some booths providing gardening information geared toward and others selling gardening supplies. Lunch will be available for purchase. Here is a tentative list of some of those planning to host booths:

  • Linda Wilson, Sitka Farmers Market, Grow a Row for the Market
  • Cathy Lieser, Let’s Grow Sitka, Sitka Local Foods Network
  • Doug Osborne. Sitka Local Foods Network?
  • Johanna Willingham, Pacific H.S./Sitka Farmers Market backup.
  • Jud Kirkness, Sicka Waste compost project, Fruit tree map
  • Tom Hart, compost, NZ composter ?
  • Kerry MacLane. Pest management
  • Lisa Sadleir-Hart. St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm
  • Laura Schmidt, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm/Seed swap & share
  • Maybelle Filler, ???
  • Stanley Schoening, Chickens, fig trees, UAF Cooperative Extension Service
  • Judy Johnstone, High Tunnel program
  • David Lendrum, Guest speaker 3:15, info on new/unusual varieties for Southeast Alaska
  • Jeren Schmidt, Sitka Spruce Catering, lunch for purchase
  • Robert Gorman, UAF Cooperative Extension Service, history of Experimental Station
  • Andrianna Natsoulas, Food Sovereignty
  • Tracy Gagnon, Sitka 4H Club
  • Eve Grutter, Chickens, produce
  • Adam Chinalski, Model greenhouse
  • Penny Brown, Garden Ventures – products for sale
  • Amanda Grearson, True Value – products for sale
  • Lowell Frank, Spenard Building Supply Garden Center ??
  • Michelle Putz, Locally grown environmental benefits?
  • Rick Peterson, Gardening 101 – easiest to grow, need to amend soil, etc…
  • Lori Adams, Down-to-Earth U-Pick Garden – garden promotion and information
  • Mike Tackaberry/Robin Grewe, White’s Inc. – products for sale
  • Mandy Summers, Pacific High School
  • Kelly Smitherman, National Park Service – garden at Bishops House, etc…
  • Lisa Teas, Sitka Farmers Market art debut
  • Florence Welsh, Forget-Me-Not Gardens, local garden booklet, possible plant starts
  • Hope Merritt, Gimbal Botanicals herbal teas – info on wild herbs and herbs to grow

Right after the three-hour Let’s Grow Sitka event ends, guest speaker Dave Lendrum of Juneau will speak at 3:15 p.m. on “New Vegetable Varieties, Small Fruits, and Ornamentals for Southeast Alaska.” Lendrum is a landscape designer who just finished a two-year term as president of the Southeast Alaska Master Gardener Association and with his landscape architect wife, Margaret Tharp, owns Landscape Alaska.

Dave’s life has evolved in partnership with the natural world. He grew up in California on an organic u-pick vegetable farm, learning horticulture from his parents and the 4H club. He did nursery work and continued his post-college adventure in Ecuador by starting a fresh market produce business. After being a city horticulturist at the Eugene (Ore.) Parks Department, Dave started his first nursery, Western Oregon Perennials. A few years later, he found himself in a high-temperature photosynthesis lab at Stanford. In the Pacific Northwest, Dave restored old estate gardens. When he heard Alaska’s call, he moved north to Elfin Cove. Dave and his wife started Landscape Alaska in Juneau 28 years ago. They design and build landscapes on every scale and have won numerous awards both locally and nationally. In addition, Dave is the landscape superintendent for the University of Alaska Southeast and the Southeast representative on the statewide invasive species organization (SNIPM).

For more information about Let’s Grow Sitka, contact Linda Wilson at 747-3096 (evenings, weekends) or lawilson87@hotmail.com, or Cathy Lieser at 978-2572. The two event fliers for this event are posted below as Adobe Acrobat files (PDF files).

• Main flier for 2012 Let’s Grow Sitka event

• Flier for Dave Lendrum presentation after Let’s Grow Sitka event ends