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.

Scenes from the sixth Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
Sitka Farmers Market volunteer Shannon Cellan, and St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm lead gardener Laura Schmidt, center, present the Table of the Day Award for Sept. 10 to Leah Piera Murphy of Spinning Moon Apothecary. Leah sold a variety of locally blended teas, tinctures, salves, and more. She received a Sitka Local Foods Network tote bag, two Sitka Farmers Market special label chocolate bars, a bag of salad greens, Foraged & Found kelp salsa, Moosetard Lead Dog BBQ sauce, and other prizes. The last Sitka Farmers Market of the summer is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street). We still have room for vendors, and vendors can register online (by Thursday morning on market week) at https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com
. More details about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

We are starting to wind down the season for the Sitka Farmers Markets this year, and we hosted our sixth market on Saturday, Sept. 10, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall. This was the second to last market of our 15th season of markets.

We appreciate everybody who made this market season a success, especially all of our vendors, volunteers, and customers who wore masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. When the city’s Covid-19 risk level is high, we require masks inside ANB Hall. If the city’s Covid-19 risk drops to medium or low, we recommend people wear masks inside.

We didn’t have as many booths as in previous years, but the smaller markets seemed to have worked. We still had fresh local produce, as well as a variety of Alaska Grown value-added products, local eggs, mushrooms, and arts and crafts. The Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand accepts and matches WIC coupons and SNAP EBT benefits.

Our last market of the season is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, Sept. 24, at the ANB Founders Hall, 235 Katlian Street. Potential vendors can register and pay their vendor fees by going to https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com (please register by the Thursday morning of market week). More information about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

A slideshow of scenes from the sixth market of the summer is posted below.

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).

Scenes from the fifth Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
Sitka Farmers Market volunteers Sadija Masic (exchange student from Bosnia-Herzegovina), left; and Shannon Cellan, center, present the Table of the Day Award for Aug. 27 to Andrew Jylkka of Enoki Eatery. Andrew and Enoki Eatery owner Gretchen Stelzenmuller sold four types of musubi, black coconut sticky rice, breakfast sandwiches, and huckleberry-ginger lemonade. He received a Sitka Local Foods Network tote bag, two Sitka Farmers Market special label chocolate bars, leeks, Foraged & Found kelp salsa, and other prizes. The next Sitka Farmers Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street). The last market of the season is on Sept. 24. We still have room for vendors, and vendors can register online (by Thursday morning on market week) at https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More details about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

We are starting to wind down the season for the Sitka Farmers Markets this year, and we hosted our fifth market on Saturday, Aug. 27, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall. This is our 15th season of markets.

We appreciate everybody who made this market season a success, especially all of our vendors, volunteers, and customers who wore masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. When the city’s Covid-19 risk level is high, we require masks inside ANB Hall. If the city’s Covid-19 risk drops to medium or low, we recommend people wear masks inside.

We didn’t have as many booths as in previous years, but the smaller markets seemed to have worked. We still had fresh local produce, as well as a variety of Alaska Grown value-added products, local eggs, mushrooms, and arts and crafts. The Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand accepts and matches WIC coupons and SNAP EBT benefits.

Our markets the rest of the season are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, Sept. 10, and 24, at the ANB Founders Hall, 235 Katlian Street. Potential vendors can register and pay their vendor fees by going to https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com (please register by the Thursday morning of market week). More information about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

A slideshow of scenes from the fifth market of the summer is posted below.

Scenes from the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
Sitka Farmers Market volunteers Daniel Asanji (exchange student from Cameroon), left; Sadija Masic (Bosnia-Herzegovina), third from left; Imane Baghouri (Morocco), second from right; and Trish White, right, present the Table of the Day Award for Aug. 13 to Andrea Fraga of Middle Island Gardens. That was the last day of National Farmers Market Week. Andrea sold a variety of fresh produce, including lettuce, kale, zucchini, carrots, turnips, beets, garlic, and more. She received a Sitka Local Foods Network tote bag, two Sitka Farmers Market special label chocolate bars, Moosetard Lead Dog BBQ sauce, Foraged & Found kelp salsa, Alaska Flour Company barley couscous, and other prizes. The next Sitka Farmers Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street). The last markets of the season are on Sept. 10 and Sept. 24. We still have room for vendors, and vendors can register online (by Thursday morning on market week) at https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More details about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

Aug. 7-13 was National Farmers Market Week, and we celebrated with our fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the season on Saturday, Aug. 13, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall. This is our 15th season of markets.

We appreciate everybody who made this market season a success, especially all of our vendors, volunteers, and customers who wore masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. When the city’s Covid-19 risk level is high, we require masks inside ANB Hall. If the city’s Covid-19 risk drops to medium, we recommend people wear masks inside.

We didn’t have as many booths as in previous years, but the smaller markets seemed to have worked. We still had fresh local produce, as well as a variety of Alaska Grown value-added products, local eggs, mushrooms, and arts and crafts. The Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand accepts and matches WIC coupons and SNAP EBT benefits.

Our markets the rest of the season are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, Aug. 27, Sept. 10, and 24, at the ANB Founders Hall, 235 Katlian Street. Potential vendors can register and pay their vendor fees by going to https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com (please register by the Thursday morning of market week). More information about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

A slideshow of scenes from the fourth market of the summer is posted below.

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).

Scenes from the third Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
Sitka Farmers Market volunteer Darbi Neilson, right, presents the Table of the Day Award for July 30 to Lisa Teas Conaway of Flying Ravens Art. Lisa sold pen-and-ink drawings, gift cards, and other artwork. She received a Sitka Local Foods Network tote bag, a Sitka Farmers Market special label chocolate bar, a bag of salad greens, a bag of snap peas, a packet of Alaska Flour Company barley flour pancake mix, and other prizes. The next Sitka Farmers Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street). That will wrap up National Farmers Market Week, which is Aug. 7-13, so stop by to celebrate. Vendors can register online (by Thursday morning on market week) at https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More details about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

It was gray and drizzly for the third Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 season, our 15th summer. This market, on Saturday, July 30, had a smaller number of vendors registered, so all of the vendors were moved inside the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, where the first 12 years of Sitka Farmers Markets were held.

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

We appreciate everybody who made this market season a success, especially all of our vendors, volunteers, and our customers who wore masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. If the city’s Covid-19 risk level is high, we require masks inside ANB Hall. If the city’s Covid-19 risk is medium, we recommend people wear masks inside.

We didn’t have as many booths as in previous years, but the smaller markets seemed to have worked. We still had fresh local produce, as well as a variety of Alaska Grown value-added products, local eggs, mushrooms, and arts and crafts. The Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand accepts and matches WIC coupons and SNAP EBT benefits.

Our markets the rest of the season are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, Aug. 13, 27, Sept. 10, and 24, at the ANB Founders Hall, 235 Katlian Street. Potential vendors can register and pay their vendor fees by going to https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More information about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

A slideshow of scenes from the third market of the summer is posted below.

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.