UAF Cooperative Extension Service to offer online Welcoming Winter food preservation class series

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will offer the Welcoming Winter: Virtual Home Care and Food Preservation Workshops class series this fall.

Workshops will be taught by UAF Cooperative Extension Agent Sarah Lewis, from her home kitchen in Juneau, and Program Assistant Gina Dionne from her home kitchen in Anchorage. You can join them from your home kitchen anywhere in Alaska (or the world).

Sarah and Gina will offer resources, publications, and information for each class, but the real fun will happen on Zoom. You can watch or cook along in real time, or watch and cook along with the class recording at your own pace. Classes will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. on Tuesdays via Zoom.

Prepare for Winter in September
Sept. 20: Create a Food Secure Pantry
Sept. 27: Winterizing Your Home and Garden
Make Sausage and Pickles in October
Oct. 11: Making Sauerkraut and Relish
Oct. 18: Making Wild Game Sausage
Focus on Holiday Food in November
Nov. 15: Canning Fruits and Berries: A Taste of Summer for the Holidays
Nov 29: Canning Holiday Leftovers

Each class requires separate registration and participants may register for one or all of the classes. Classes cost $12 each. The deadline for registering is at 5 p.m. on the day before each class. Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made five business days in advance to Sarah Lewis at 907-523-3280 x1 or sarah.lewis@alaska.edu.

Language access services, such as interpretation or translation of vital information, will be provided free of charge to limited English proficient individuals upon request. UAF is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, educational institution and provider and prohibits illegal discrimination against
any individual: www.alaska.edu/nondiscrimination.

UAF Cooperative Extension Service offers Certified Food Protection Manager class by videoconference Oct. 17-18 in Sitka

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will teach a certified food protection manager workshop on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 17-18. This is a two-day statewide class that will be offered by videoconferencing to Fairbanks, Palmer, Juneau, and Sitka, plus other locations that may arrange for the class.

A certified food protection manager (CFPM) is responsible for monitoring and managing all food establishment operations to ensure that the facility is operating in compliance with food establishment regulations.

A CFPM is knowledgeable about food safety practices and uses this knowledge to provide consumers with safe food, protect public health and prevent food-borne illnesses. Alaska regulations require food establishments to have at least one CFPM on staff.

This course takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and participants will take a proctored computer-based exam at the end of the second day of class. The reason the registration deadline is two weeks before the class is to guarantee course materials reach all the students in time. The cost is $200, and the course will be taught by Julie Cascio of Palmer. Students can register here, and the registration deadline is Monday, Oct. 3 (note, if anybody in Sitka wants to take the class and it’s past the deadline, contact Jasmine Shaw at the number below).

The Sitka videoconference for the class will take place in a room TBA at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus. To learn more, contact Jasmine Shaw at the Sitka District Office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service at 747-9440, or contact Julie Cascio at (907) 745-3677 (Palmer number) or jmcascio@alaska.edu. Note, this class is taught in English but textbooks are available in Korean, Chinese and Spanish, just contact Julie at least three weeks before the class.

Also, the ServSafe book ($70) and certification exam ($85) now are available online, if people want to order the book and study independently without taking the class. Just go to this website and purchase the book and exam items.

Alaska Food Policy Council releases food system action plan

HOMER, Alaska (Sept. 12, 2022) — The Alaska Food Policy Council has released the results and food security action plan from a USDA Regional Food System Partnership program grant for Alaska received in 2020.

This two-year process involved local food system leaders in 13 regional nodes around the state, including one in Sitka hosted by the Sitka Local Foods Network. The node leaders looked at their local and regional food systems, and how they connect with food systems in other parts of the state. The project also taught the node leaders how to develop and connect the people and companies within their local food systems to strengthen them.

Alaska has major food security issues, with an estimated 90-95 percent of all food coming to the state from somewhere else. One of the long-term goals of this project is to use the information gathered to create a 10-year statewide food security plan.

“This two-year project has engaged communities from around the state, bringing together Alaskans who care deeply about building a better food system,” Alaska Food Policy Council Executive Director Robbi Mixon said. “The resulting food security plan contains actionable ideas that can be implemented by communities in a way that makes sense for their own place-based needs and capacities.”

The three main objectives of this project are to improve the connection and collaboration of local and regional food systems around the state to improve Alaska’s food system; to identify food system assets, barriers, and capacities to help with the connection and collaboration; and to create a statewide food security plan that is informed by the regional nodes representing a variety of locations and stakeholder groups.

The next step is to apply for a USDA Rural Food System Partnership Implementation grant. This will allow state food system leaders to build on this groundwork and improve Alaska’s food security.

More information on the project and a link to the report can be found at https://www.akfoodpolicycouncil.org/blog/2022/9/8/2022-regional-food-system-partnership-project-report-amp-food-security-action-plan-released

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The Alaska Food Policy Council (https://www.akfoodpolicycouncil.org/) is a nonprofit organization whose diverse membership works to engage Alaskans to make positive changes for the state’s food system, and to create a healthier, more prosperous and more secure future for all.

Check out the September 2022 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the September 2022 edition of its monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This month’s newsletter includes short stories about the 2022 Sitka Farmers Market, an update about how you can support the Sitka Local Foods Network by buying a t-shirt or hoodie from our online store, information about our 2022 sponsorship programs, and an invitation to join our board of directors. Each story has links to our website for more information.

You can sign up for future editions of our newsletter by clicking on the newsletter image in the right column of our website and filling in the information. If you received a copy but didn’t want one, there is a link at the bottom of the newsletter so you can unsubscribe. Our intention is to get the word out about upcoming events and not to spam people. We will protect your privacy by not sharing our email list with others. Don’t forget to like us on Facebooklike our Sitka Farmers Market page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@SitkaLocalFoods).

Sitka Conservation Society brings back Fish to Schools coho donation drive

The Sitka Conservation Society is excited to bring back its Fish to Schools coho donation drive after a couple-year hiatus due to the pandemic. This year’s drive is in full swing and will run through mid-late September. Thanks to the F/V Mindalina for its recent donation of 50 coho to the program.

To participate, simply tell your processor how many pounds or the number of coho you want to donate when you offload and they will record it. Yelloweye rockfish overage is also welcome. If you are a freezer-troller offloading at the Samson Tug and Barge Dock and would like to donate fish, look for the Fish to Schools tote or coordinate with Kurt Ainslie.

Thank you to all fishermen for their support of the Fish to Schools program year after year, helping increase access to healthy local seafood for youth in Sitka and ensuring the program remains a success.

Contact Kylee Jones at kylee@sitkawild.org or call 907-738-7232 with any questions or for more information.

Sitka Spruce Tips/Alaska Way Of Life 4-H Club to offer Fall Wild Edibles Series in September

Join Sitka Spruce Tips/Alaska Way of Life 4-H Club for four sessions celebrating wild edibles through identifying, harvesting, and processing from 3:30-5 p.m. on Wednesdays Sept. 7, 14, 21, and 28.

All ages are invited to learn more about local mushroom, bog, berry, and salmon species. There is a supply fee of $10. Scholarships are available.

The Sitka 4-H club is supported through a partnership between the Sitka Conservation Society and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.

The first step is to register for 4-H at http://4h.zsuite.org/ (all participants must be registered with 4-H to be on the organization’s insurance policy). 

Contact emily@sitkawild.org for more information.

Check out the August 2022 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the August 2022 edition of its monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This month’s newsletter includes short stories about the upcoming 2022 Sitka Farmers Market, an update about how you can support the Sitka Local Foods Network by buying a t-shirt or hoodie from our online store, information about our 2022 sponsorship programs, and an invitation to join our board of directors. Each story has links to our website for more information.

You can sign up for future editions of our newsletter by clicking on the newsletter image in the right column of our website and filling in the information. If you received a copy but didn’t want one, there is a link at the bottom of the newsletter so you can unsubscribe. Our intention is to get the word out about upcoming events and not to spam people. We will protect your privacy by not sharing our email list with others. Don’t forget to like us on Facebooklike our Sitka Farmers Market page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@SitkaLocalFoods).

Celebrate National Farmers Market Week by attending the Sitka Farmers Market on Aug. 13

National Farmers Market Week is Aug. 7-13 this year, so stop by the Sitka Farmers Market to join the celebration.

The Sitka Farmers Market takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.). This is the 15th season of Sitka Farmers Markets.

The annual National Farmers Market Week celebration is the first full week of August, when growing season is peaking around the country.

The number of farmers markets in the country has more than tripled since 1996, growing from 2,410 markets in 1996 to 8,675 in 2016. There has been similar growth in Alaska, going from 13 markets in 2006 to 56 in 2022, and now markets can be found in many Bush communities from Bethel to Thorne Bay. This growth has improved Alaska’s food security while also serving as an incubator for new businesses.

According to the Farmers Market Coalition, farmers markets (click headers for more info) …

  • Preserve America’s rural livelihoods and farmland. Farmers markets provide one of the only low-barrier entry points for beginning farmers, allowing them to start small, test the market, and grow their businesses.
  • Stimulate local economies. Growers selling locally create 13 full-time farm operator jobs per $1 million in revenue earned. Those growers that do not sell locally create three jobs.
  • Increase access to fresh, nutritious food. Several  studies have found lower prices for conventional and organic produce at farmers markets than at supermarkets. Due to this and other factors, 52 percent more SNAP households shop at farmers markets and from direct marketing farmers today than in 2011. The Sitka Farmers Market was the first market in Southeast Alaska to accept SNAP and WIC benefits, and we have a matching program for SNAP and WIC beneficiaries.
  • Support healthy communities. Farmers market vendors educate their shoppers. Four out of five farmers selling at markets discuss farming practices with their customers, and three in five discuss nutrition and how to prepare food.
  • Promote sustainability. Three out of every four farmers selling at farmers markets say they use practices consistent with organic standards.

UAF Cooperative Extension Service to offer pressure canner gauge testing at Sitka Farmers Market

Jasmine Shaw of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service watches a pressure canner gauge at a Sitka Kitch class on home food preservation. Jasmine will be at the Sitka Farmers Market on Saturday to test pressure canner gauges.

Jasmine Shaw from the UAF Cooperative Extension Service Sitka Outreach Center will do pressure gauge testing at the Sitka Farmers Market, from 10-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 30, at ANB Founders Hall. She will be at the Transition Sitka booth with Barbara Bingham for the first half of the market (usually back by the stage).

It is recommended to check dial gauges for accuracy before use each year. Gauges that read high cause underprocessing and may result in unsafe food. Low readings cause overprocessing and may indicate that the accuracy of the gauge is unpredictable. Bring in the lid for your canner for a free test. In just a few minutes, you can make sure your dial gauge is accurate and functioning properly.

Jasmine also can provide pressure canner gauge testing at her office at UAS Sitka Campus, and she can be reached at 907-747-9440 or jdshaw2@alaska.edu to set up an appointment.

Sitka Tribe of Alaska hosts subsistence herring egg distribution survey

The fisheries department at Sitka Tribe of Alaska is trying to better understand the distribution networks for the cultural and traditional resources used here in Southeast Alaska.

A request from STA fisheries biologist Kyle Rosendale: “Sitka Tribe of Alaska is asking anyone interested in herring eggs to fill out this brief survey to better understand the distribution of herring eggs and the needs of communities around the state. Respondents will be entered into a drawing for up to $300. Please share the survey with anyone who might be interested. Gunalchéesh!

All surveys are confidential. If you have any questions, please email Kyle directly at kyle.rosendale@sitkatribe-nsn.gov.