Eat Local Challenge encourages Southeast Alaskans to do more with local foods

The Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition (SAWC), in partnership with the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, announces this year’s Eat Local Challenge.

The seven-day challenge starts Monday and runs from Sept. 20-26, encouraging Southeast Alaskans to increase their involvement with the local food system in their community by including as many locally grown, harvested, or foraged ingredients in their daily meals as possible.

This means purchasing local seafood, vegetables, and cottage food products directly from local food producers, farmer’s markets, and retailers that carry local items. Participants also can celebrate the bounty of the region’s wild foods by including foods that they hunted, foraged, fished, or grew themselves. Be sure to shop the local farmers markets and local retailers this weekend. (NOTE: The last Sitka Farmers Market of the season is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18, on the plaza outside Harrigan Centennial Hall.)

The goal during this seven-day challenge is for participants to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the local food system in their community. Participants are encouraged to share their skills and knowledge with others cultivating a practice of gratitude around local food.  For more details, check out the Local Foods Challenge page on the Salt & Soil Marketplace website, https://www.saltandsoilmarketplace.com/eatlocalchallenge.

Anyone can participate by following the Salt and Soil Marketplace’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/SaltandSoilMarketplace/) or the Southeast Alaska Local Foods Challenge Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/LocalFoodSEAK/) for the Challenge Question of the Day. Participants submit their answer and photo of their local food meal either directly on Facebook or via email (localfoodschallenge.seak@gmail.com). The challenge includes daily giveaways and a grand prize for those who complete the challenge by participating all seven days.    

The Eat Local Challenge is the culminating event of the season long Southeast Local Foods Challenge in which participants have been encouraged to increase their participation in their local food systems through five main categories: Harvest & Stewardship, Eat, Reduce Food Waste, Celebrate & Gratitude, and Buy Local. Organizers aim for the challenge to foster a network of local eaters to support each other and their local food producers during a time when food security is increasingly important.

 “The Challenge is for everyone to do a little more to strengthen the local foods system,” said Jennifer Nu, SAWC Local Foods Program director. “The process of learning is never-ending. When we practice and master these skills, we can share what we know with others. Collectively all of these actions contribute to strengthening our food system and our region.”

The 2021 Local Food Challenge partners include the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, and other partners around Southeast Alaska. More details can be found on the Salt and Soil Marketplace website, https://www.saltandsoilmarketplace.com/localfoodchallenge-welcome

Here’s how to participate:

  1. Follow @saltandsoilmarketplace on Instagram and Facebook
  2. Check the SEAK Local Food Facebook page each day and post or email a photo of your local meal AND answer the daily challenge question. Submissions can be posted directly on the Facebook page or emailed to localfoodschallenge.seak@gmail.com.
  3. One winner will be randomly selected each day to receive a gift from Salt and Soil Marketplace in the mail.
  4. Participate all seven days to be eligible for a $50 gift card from Salt and Soil Marketplace to be randomly selected at the end of the challenge.
  5. Use the hashtag #locafoodschallengeseak and spread the word.

• Alaska Grown, Alaska Center For The Environment team up to host the Eat Local Challenge 2010 on Aug. 22-28

The state’s Alaska Grown program will host its “Eat Local Challenge 2010” on Sunday through Saturday, Aug. 22-28 (click here to read more). This year, the Alaska Center for the Environment, has joined Alaska Grown as a sponsor as part of the center’s local foods and sustainable communities program.

Alaskans have many ways to eat local, from veggies they grow in their own gardens or buy from Alaska farmers, berries they pick, fish they catch, game meat they hunt, seaweed and other beach greens they gather, etc. The benefit of eating local food is it’s fresher so it tastes better and has more nutrients, and you cut out the thousands of miles of transportation costs needed to ship food from the Lower 48 and other countries to Alaska. Growing local food makes a community more sustainable.

During the week of Aug. 22-28, Alaska residents are encouraged to:

  • Try eating at least one home-cooked meal this week, made of mostly local ingredients.
  • Try to incorporate at least one never-before-used local ingredient into a meal.
  • Try “brown-bagging” at least one meal this week made primarily of local ingredients.
  • Try talking to at least one local food retailer and one food producer about local food options.
  • Try to choose local food products whenever possible.

By the way, a good time to buy local food for the Eat Local Challenge is during the third Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Saturday, Aug. 14, and during the fourth market on Saturday, Aug. 28. The Sitka Farmers Markets take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on alternate Saturdays (through Sept. 11) at historic Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall, 235 Katlian St. We’ll see you there.

• Capital City Weekly features Sitka Farmers Market’s Table of the Day Award and other news about local foods

Screenshot of Capital City Weekly feature on Sitka Farmers Market Table of the Day Award winners

Screenshot of Capital City Weekly feature on Sitka Farmers Market Table of the Day Award winners

Click here to see a photo in this week’s Capital City Weekly highlighting Evening Star Grutter and Fabian Grutter of Eve’s Farm, who won the Table of the Day Award during the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Aug. 29. Don’t forget the fifth and final Sitka Farmers Market of the summer takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 12, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall (235 Katlian St.). We look forward to seeing you there.

There also have been several other local foods stories in the news in Alaska in recent days.

Click here to read a Capital City Weekly article about the Autumn Festival on Saturday, Sept. 19, in Juneau. The Autumn Festival features some local food booths, in addition to the usual arts and crafts and the beer garden (part of the Autumn Pour homebrew competition) that make up the bulk of the show at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center.

Click here to listen to a newscast from KHNS-FM public radio in Haines that features a story about local efforts in Haines and Skagway to promote local foods during the Alaska Grown Eat Local Challenge on Aug. 23-29 (link opens an online MP3 audio file, story starts about halfway through the newscast). The story mentions that the last Haines Farmers Market of the season takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12 (click here for info).

Click here for an Anchorage Daily News article on what crops to expect at this weekend’s farmers markets in the Anchorage and Mat-Su valleys.

Click here to read an article from The Redoubt Reporter (an online news site from the Kenai Peninsula) about the annual honey extraction event hosted by the Eat Me Raw Honey Company in Kasilof (a community near Kenai and Soldotna). During this event, they clean honey out of the hives and processing it.

Click here to read an article from The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman about Wasilla dentist Steve Hubacek and his two record-breaking cabbages at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer.

• Alaska Grown’s Eat Local Challenge is this week

Flier for the Alaska Grown "Eat Local Challenge"

The Alaska Public Radio Network had a story on the Alaska News Nightly show Thursday night about the “Eat Local Challenge,” which takes place Aug. 23-29. Click here to listen to the story, which discusses what’s available around the state and how residents can encourage their local stores and restaurants to carry more Alaska Grown produce. For more information on the Eat Local Challenge, click here to see our post introducing the event last week.

By the way, a good time to buy local food this week is the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the summer, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall (235 Katlian St.). We’ll see you there.

• Alaska Grown hosts the “Eat Local Challenge 2009” on Aug. 23-29

Flier for the Alaska Grown "Eat Local Challenge"

The Alaska Grown program will launch its “Eat Local Challenge 2009” this week, Sunday through Saturday, Aug. 23-29 (click here to read more).

During the next week, Alaska residents are encouraged to:

• Try eating at least one home-cooked meal this week, made of mostly local ingredients.
• Try to incorporate at least one never-before-used local ingredient into a meal.
• Try “brown-bagging” at least one meal this week made primarily of local ingredients.
• Try talking to at least one local food retailer and one food producer about local food options.
• Try to choose local food products whenever possible.

By the way, a good time to buy local food this week is the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the summer, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall (235 Katlian St.). We’ll see you there.