Did you file for your PFD yet? Add a Pick.Click.Give. donation to the Sitka Local Foods Network

PCGTestemonialJenniferCarter2016

It’s mid-March, which means the deadline is rapidly approaching to file for Alaskans to apply for their 2016 Alaska Permanent Fund Dividends. As usual, Alaskans can share their wealth with a variety of Alaska nonprofits, including the Sitka Local Foods Network, through the PFD’s Pick.Click.Give. charitable giving program.

PCGTestemonialLisaAndMurielSadleirHart2016This is the third year the Sitka Local Foods Network is participating in the Pick.Click.Give. program, which allows people to donate in $25 increments to their favorite statewide and local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations when they file their PFD applications from Jan. 1 through March 31. We thank the 64 donors who pledged $3,350 to the Sitka Local Foods Network in 2015, and we appreciate your support again in 2016.

When you choose to donate part of your PFD to the Sitka Local Foods Network, you support the Sitka Farmers Market, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, education programs about growing and preserving food, the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen, Blatchley Community Gardens, the sustainable use of traditional foods, the Sitka Community Food Assessment, the Sitka Food Summit, and a variety of other projects designed to increase access to healthy local foods in Sitka.

PCGTestemonialEllenFrankenstein2016In 2015 a record 33,421 Alaskans made 53,851 pledges of $3,329,575 to their favorite nonprofit organizations, up from $545,000 donated by 5,175 people in the program’s first year of 2009. Some Alaskans choose to donate to just one group, while others may spread several donations around to many groups. There now are more than 500 total 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations participating in Pick.Click.Give. for 2016 (including multi-location nonprofits), including 24 from Sitka.

PCGTestemonialLindaWilson2016To encourage more Alaskans to donate through the Pick.Click.Give. program, this will be the second year of the Double Your Dividend contest. Anybody who makes a non-anonymous Pick.Click.Give. donation to at least one of the registered nonprofits will be entered into a contest where 10 lucky Alaskans will win a second PFD check. The winners will be announced in October, about the time the PFDs start hitting bank accounts.

PCGTestemonialCharlesBingham2016So how do you make a donation to the Sitka Local Foods Network through the Pick.Click.Give. program? First, go fill out your Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend application at http://pfd.alaska.gov/. When you get to the section of the application asking if you want to participate in Pick.Click.Give. Charitable Contributions program, click on the PCG link and search for the Sitka Local Foods Network. You also can look for us by using the town search for Sitka.

The Pick.Click.Give. program is available only to people who file their PFD applications online, and not to those who file by mail. Even though you can’t file a new PFD application after March 31, you can go back into your application and update your Pick.Click.Give. donations through Aug. 31 each year.

PCGTestemonialCathyLieser2016You still can donate to the Sitka Local Foods Network if you aren’t from Alaska or aren’t eligible for a 2016 PFD. To donate, send your check to the Sitka Local Foods Network, 408D Marine St., Sitka, Alaska, 99835. You also can donate online by going to our online fundraising page on Razoo.com, and clicking the Donate button to make an online contribution. Please let us know if you need a receipt for tax purposes. For more information about donating, you can send an email to sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com.

Thank you for supporting our mission of promoting and encouraging the growing, harvesting and eating of local foods in Sitka and Southeast Alaska.

2016PickClickGiveFlier

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• Did you file for your PFD yet? Add a Pick.Click.Give. donation to the Sitka Local Foods Network

PCGTestemonialLindaWilson2016

Now that it’s February, many Alaskans already are applying for their 2016 Alaska Permanent Fund Dividends. As usual, Alaskans can share their wealth with a variety of Alaska nonprofits, including the Sitka Local Foods Network, through the PFD’s Pick.Click.Give. charitable giving program.

PCGTestemonialLisaAndMurielSadleirHart2016This is the third year the Sitka Local Foods Network is participating in the Pick.Click.Give. program, which allows people to donate in $25 increments to their favorite statewide and local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations when they file their PFD applications from Jan. 1 through March 31. We thank the 64 donors who pledged $3,350 to the Sitka Local Foods Network in 2015, and we appreciate your support again in 2016.

When you choose to donate part of your PFD to the Sitka Local Foods Network, you support the Sitka Farmers Market, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, education programs about growing and preserving food, the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen, Blatchley Community Gardens, the sustainable use of traditional foods, the Sitka Community Food Assessment, the Sitka Food Summit, and a variety of other projects designed to increase access to healthy local foods in Sitka.

PCGTestemonialEllenFrankenstein2016In 2015 a record 33,421 Alaskans made 53,851 pledges of $3,329,575 to their favorite nonprofit organizations, up from $545,000 donated by 5,175 people in the program’s first year of 2009. Some Alaskans choose to donate to just one group, while others may spread several donations around to many groups. There now are more than 500 total 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations participating in Pick.Click.Give. for 2016 (including multi-location nonprofits), including 24 from Sitka.

To encourage more Alaskans to donate through the Pick.Click.Give. program, this will be the second year of the Double Your Dividend contest. Anybody who makes a non-anonymous Pick.Click.Give. donation to at least one of the registered nonprofits will be entered into a contest where 10 lucky Alaskans will win a second PFD check. The winners will be announced in October, about the time the PFDs start hitting bank accounts.

PCGTestemonialCharlesBingham2016So how do you make a donation to the Sitka Local Foods Network through the Pick.Click.Give. program? First, go fill out your Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend application at http://pfd.alaska.gov/. When you get to the section of the application asking if you want to participate in Pick.Click.Give. Charitable Contributions program, click on the PCG link and search for the Sitka Local Foods Network. You also can look for us by using the town search for Sitka.

The Pick.Click.Give. program is available only to people who file their PFD applications online, and not to those who file by mail. Even though you can’t file a new PFD application after March 31, you can go back into your application and update your Pick.Click.Give. donations through Aug. 31 each year.

PCGTestemonialCathyLieser2016You still can donate to the Sitka Local Foods Network if you aren’t from Alaska or aren’t eligible for a 2016 PFD. To donate, send your check to the Sitka Local Foods Network, 408D Marine St., Sitka, Alaska, 99835. You also can donate online by going to our online fundraising page on Razoo.com, and clicking the Donate button to make an online contribution. Please let us know if you need a receipt for tax purposes. For more information about donating, you can send an email to sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com.

Thank you for supporting our mission of promoting and encouraging the growing, harvesting and eating of local foods in Sitka and Southeast Alaska.

2016PickClickGiveFlier

• Sitka shows off its gardens to International Master Garden Conference cruise

StartingGroupHike

InternationalMasterGardenersConferenceLogoSome 1,100 participants in the 2013 International Master Gardeners Conference were in Sitka on Wednesday, Sept. 11, when the Holland America Lines cruise ship Westerdam docked in town.

As part of the visit, the Sitka District office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service prepared a walking tour for the conference participants to show off local gardens and other highlights. The walking tour was a unique opportunity to showcase the challenges and methods used to garden in Sitka as well as interact with Master Gardeners from various locales. In addition to visiting Sitka, the Sept. 7-14 cruise took the conference from Seattle to Juneau, Glacier Bay, Sitka, Ketchikan, Victoria (British Columbia) and back to Seattle.

The Sitka walking tour started at Harrigan Centennial Hall and included a stop to look at apple trees by KCAW-Raven Radio, a stop at the Sitka Pioneer Home to look at the roses and other gardens, a stop at the Russian Bishop’s House (where kindergarten students from nearby Baranof Elementary School plant vegetables in the spring and harvest them in the fall when they return as first-graders). From there the walking tour went to St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm (where the Sitka Local Foods Network grows veggies to sell at the Sitka Farmers Markets), then it was on to the Sheldon Jackson Museum and on to Sitka National Historical Park. The final two stops were at a garden on the Sheldon Jackson Campus (between the Yaw Art Center and Hames Athletic and Wellness Center), and on to the US Geological Survey Geomagnetic Station and UAF Cooperative Extension Service demonstration plots (at the site of the original USDA Sitka Experimental Farm (Page 7), which was the first in Alaska and had more than 100 acres of crops from 1898-1931).

Also at Harrigan Centennial Hall, Sitka filmmaker Ellen Frankenstein hosted a couple of showings of her movie “Eating Alaska,” which examines the food choices one makes, especially when they live in Alaska where produce can be marginal but fish and game are widely available.

UAFMasterGardenerProgramLogoThe Master Gardener (MG) program started in Seattle in the 1970s as a way to extend the horticulture resources of Washington State’s land grant university  to the urban horticulture public in Seattle. The Master Gardeners receive 40 hours of training, similar to a basic three-credit-semester-hour, college-level horticulture class.

In return for this low-cost education the MG participants provide 40 hours of service to their community using Cooperative Extension information resources from their home states. The MG service may be in food gardening, pest management, youth gardening, tree and landscape care, public gardens, etc. Since the initial Seattle project, Master Gardener programs now exist in every state in the U.S., as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. A Master Gardener course was taught in Sitka in April at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus.

• Sitka garden walking tour map for 2013 International Master Gardeners Conference

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• Rising grocery prices raise food insecurity concerns in Sitka

(NOTE: The following letter to the editor appeared in the Friday, Dec. 9, 2011, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel.)

Dear Editor,

Many in Sitka are feeling squeezed not only by rising fuel costs, but also by escalating food costs. The September 2011 Alaska Food Cost Survey, conducted by University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, calculated Sitka’s weekly food cost for a family of four as $198.41. This is a 44-percent increase since 2006, when the same market basket cost was $138.14. Sitka’s food costs are 57 percent higher than in Portland, Ore., 37 percent more than in Anchorage and 30 percent more than in Juneau.

Feeding America 2011 statistics report that 11.7 percent of Sitka’s borough is “food insecure.”  This translates to 1,030 Sitkans and other Baranof Islanders who sometimes are completely without a source of food on a regular basis.

Kids Count Alaska 2009-2010 reports that 46 percent of Sitka’s school age children and youth live in families receiving some form of public assistance i.e., Denali KidCare, food stamps, or Alaska Temporary Assistance. This is a 10-percent increase since 2007.

Alaska behavioral risk factor data from 2009 show that only 23 percent of Alaskans consume the recommended five fruits and vegetables each day and only 17 percent of adolescents eat five daily servings of fruits and vegetables. One of the primary reasons for this low intake is inadequate access to affordable, quality produce.

These combined statistics paint a picture of increasing vulnerability when it comes to securing nutritious food on a regular basis. In the nutrition and public health world, this tenuous access to healthy food is known as food insecurity. So, how can Sitka, collectively and creatively, respond to food insecurity? Sitka can respond by INCREASING ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE LOCAL FOOD.

The Sitka Local Foods Network is working towards improving access to nutritious, local foods through five interconnected strategies. Together, these five strategies can move Sitka toward a more food-secure future. They are:

  1. Promoting traditional and customary food gathering and preservation.
  2. Developing the Let’s Grow Sitka gardening campaign to assist Sitkans in learning to grow some of their own food.
  3. Growing the number of community gardens to augment the garden behind Blatchley Middle School. The 4-year-old St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm is a recent example.
  4. Coordinating regular Sitka Farmers Markets during the summer growing and gathering seasons.
  5. Creating a community greenhouse and promoting commercial greenhouses to increase year-round access to local fruits and vegetables.

If you are interested in supporting this effort, please commit to one of the following actions:

  • Attend the Let’s Grow Sitka extravaganza as part of Artigras from noon-3pm on March 11, 2012, at the ANB Hall to learn how to grow your own food
  • Volunteer to work at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm this spring or the Sitka Farmers Market this summer
  • Support the Sitka Farmers Market which begins July 7, 2012, and runs every other Saturday morning through Sept. 15, 2012.
  • Mail a tax-deductible, year-end contribution to the Sitka Local Food Network at 408-D Marine Street, Sitka, AK 99835.

Together, we can make food security a reality in Sitka.

Sincerely,

Sitka Local Foods Network Board and Friends
(Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Charles Bingham, Kerry MacLane, Doug Osborne, Ellen Frankenstein, Maybelle Filler, Robin Grewe)

• Sitka-based film, ‘Eating Alaska,’ goes international for screenings, national for PBS premieres

“Eating Alaska,” a film by Sitka filmmaker Ellen Frankenstein about local food and how Alaskans make their food choices, is going international with screenings in Poland, Croatia, Scotland and Canada in the next two months. The film also will be making its PBS premiere with broadcasts on various public television stations around the country during September, including two in Alaska (one with a live Skype interview).

The international screenings will be highlighted when Frankenstein and associate producer Valerie Lipinski attend the Kuchnia TV Food Film Festival and National Broadcast Sept. 30-Oct. 9 in Warsaw, Poland.

The film also will be shown (without the filmmaker in attendance) Sept. 16-19 at KinoOkus (Cinetaste), which is Croatia’s first gastronomic film festival that will focus on food education, environmental protection and sustainable development. Eating Alaska will be shown on Sept. 30 as part of the Reel Food Film Festival sponsored by the Ottawa Main Public Library in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. During September and October, “Eating Alaska” will be shown as part of the Cineco Environmental Film Festival sponsored by the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

In addition to the international showings, “Eating Alaska” will be shown for two live audiences in New York — on Oct. 5 as part of the Meet the Filmmaker Series at the Hewlett/Woodmere Public Library (Nassau) and on Oct. 6 at the Port Washington Public Library. “Eating Alaska” also will be shown a little bit closer to home, on Nov. 5-7 in Fairbanks, at the Far North Conservation Film Festival for those people looking for a live screening in Alaska.

While it won’t be broadcast nationally, “Eating Alaska” will make several premieres on local public broadcasting TV stations around the country during the month of September (click here for full schedule). The film will be aired in Houston, Texas; Evansville, Ind.; Austin, Minn.; Broomfield, Colo.; Charleston, Columbia, Spartanburg, Allendale, Beaufort, Florence, Sumter, Greenwood, Conway, Greenville and Rock Hill, S.C.; Greenville, N.C.; Anchorage, Alaska (at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 14, on KAKM Channel 7, featuring a live Skype online video interview with Ellen Frankenstein); Durham, N.H.; Keene, N.H.; Littleton, N.H.; Eureka, Calif.; Elmira, Syracuse and Utica, N.Y.; East Lansing, Mich.; Milwaukee, Wis.; and Fairbanks (KUAC), Bethel (KYUK), Juneau (KTOO) and other Southeast Alaska communities including Sitka (at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30, and again at 3 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, on AlaskaOne).

• Sitka Local Foods Network featured in magazine article

The Sitka Local Foods Network is mentioned in the article, “The Search for Food Sustainability in Alaska,” in the March/April 2010 issue of Countryside & Small Stock Journal, a magazine of modern homesteading.

The article is written by Cathy Lieser, who recently moved to Baranof Island after several years living on a homestead in the Alaska Range. She mentions the work being done by the Sitka Local Foods Network to promote local food security and local gardens. She also mentions the movie, “Eating Alaska,” by Sitka filmmaker Ellen Frankenstein.

This article is not one of the articles posted on the Countryside site, but the editors did give us permission to post the article as a PDF document. It is posted below.

The Search for Food Sustainability in Alaska

• Two associated with Sitka Local Foods Network win awards at Alaska Health Summit

Sitka filmmaker Ellen Frankenstein, center, of Frankenstein Productions, greets fans after the Sitka premiere of her film "Eating Alaska" in October 2008

Sitka filmmaker Ellen Frankenstein, center, of Frankenstein Productions, greets fans after the Sitka premiere of her film "Eating Alaska" in October 2008

The Alaska Public Health Association (ALPHA) honored two programs with ties to the Sitka Local Foods Network during the Alaska Health Summit banquet on Dec. 9. Sitka filmmaker Ellen Frankenstein (and her Frankenstein Productions company) and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska program both won the Alaska Community Service Award. According to ALPHA, the Alaska Community Service Award “recognizes an organization, business or group making a significant contribution to improving the health of Alaskans. It is ALPHA’s intent that nominees outside the public health tradition be considered for this award. A nominee does not need to be an ALPHA member.”

Frankenstein has produced several documentary films over the years, including “Eating Alaska,” which focuses on how we choose the food we eat. Eating Alaska debuted in the fall of 2008, and Frankenstein has taken it to film festivals all over the state and country. “Eating Alaska” received funding support from the SEARHC Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska program and other funders, plus technical support was provided by SEARHC health educators, physicians and dietitians. Some of Frankenstein’s other films include “No Loitering,” “Carved from the Heart,” “A Matter of Respect,” and “Miles from the Border.” She currently is working on a documentary film project with Haida weaver Dolores Churchill.

“As someone who fills in the occupation blank on forms with ‘filmmaker/artist,’ this award represents the fact that labels and lines don’t matter when it comes to social change and to making our lives healthier,” Frankenstein wrote from Austin, Texas, where she was attending a screening of Eating Alaska. “It not only validates my work, but represents your open-mindedness to the potential of working collaboratively and creatively with kids and adults, using art, media and storytelling to influence well-being and healthy communities.”

Frankenstein also sent this note to her e-mail group:

EATING ALASKA: ART AND HEALTH!
We just got the news the project has been awarded The Alaska Public Health Association’s 2009 Community Service Award for Health. In the process of making this film and in its use we’ve worked with nutritionists, health educators, medical and public health practitioners to add to the conversation about what we can do to make our homes, workplaces, schools and communities healthier and more sustainable. We appreciate the help everyone has given to the project to help us “contribute to improving the health of Alaskans” and others far beyond.

The SEARHC Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska program, which closes this month, was honored for the work it did over the life of its five-year grant (the national Steps to a Healthier US grant has ended, so that means all of the local grants that were part of the national grant also are ending). The Steps program funded 77 projects worth just over $1.1 million in 12 Southeast Alaska communities. Steps was one of the major funders and organizers of the Sitka Health Summit, which is where the Sitka Local Foods Network originated.

The Steps program’s goals were to increase opportunities for physical activity, improve nutrition and reduce the impact of tobacco in Southeast Alaska. The program also worked to reduce diabetes, obesity and asthma in Southeast communities. To accomplish its goals, Steps developed partnerships with schools, worksites, tribes and other community groups so they could change social norms and policies, and make evidence-based and culturally relevant interventions. In addition to the projects, Steps also hosted conferences and workshops to help programs learn how to work in collaboration.

The Steps program used the socio-ecological model, which emphasizes that an individual’s health status is influenced not only by his or her attitudes and practices, but also by personal relationships and community and societal factors. Nearly half of the 77 Steps grants (37) went to community projects, with the others geared toward schools and worksites. More than three-quarters of the grants (60) focused on improving nutrition and/or increasing physical activity. Together, the projects reached 128,000 people (with many people reached by multiple projects) in the communities of Angoon, Craig, Haines, Hoonah, Hydaburg, Juneau, Kake, Kasaan, Klawock, Klukwan, Sitka and Wrangell.

“Overall, the Steps initiative helped build capacity within communities, worksites and schools to work collaboratively, to plan evidence-based programs, and to monitor and evaluate program success,” said Grace Brooks, Steps Grant Manager. “Steps also contributed to an overall increased understanding of the importance of policy in supporting community, school and workplace health.”

In other local foods news from around the state this past week, the Alaska Dispatch ran an article about an indoors farmers market this winter at Anchorage’s Northway Mall.

Capital City Weekly featured a story by Carla Petersen about how the search for elusive cranberries is worth the challenge.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced last week that it is encouraging the use of catch shares to preserve the remaining stocks of halibut (the article features a photo from Sitka).

The Anchorage Daily News featured a story about Gov. Sean Parnell proposing to spend $1.3 million to research declining Yukon River salmon runs.

The Juneau Empire had a story about how an arts advocacy group in Juneau, Arts for Kids, has teamed up with Sitka-based Theobroma Chocolate Co. to offer SmART bars as a fundraiser for art scholarships for graduating seniors in Juneau.

The publicity poster for the movie Eating Alaska