• Sitka Global Warming Group, Sitka Local Foods Network offer Sitka garden-matching program

Do you have a planting bed that you don’t have the time or energy to cultivate? Do you wish you could grow some vegetables, but have no place to put them?

Sitka Global Warming Group (SGWG), in conjunction with the Sitka Local Foods Network, is offering a garden-matching program to help people who have garden space get matched up with people who want to plant and tend a garden. This is an effort to increase the amount of food grown and eaten locally. SGWG asks Sitka residents who have garden space to share or residents who need a garden space to contact the group at info@sitkaglobalwarming.org. Provide your name, email address, phone number, size of the spot available or wanted, and the location of either the spot that is available or the address of the person who wants the spot.

SGWG will collect this data over the next month and then work to match garden spots with a nearby person who would like to plant and tend a garden. SGWG also will be collecting names and garden locations at the “Let’s Grow Sitka” garden show event taking place from noon until 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 14, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall on Katlian Street.

Michelle Putz of SGWG said the group is not setting any expectations of either the people who offer garden space or who want a garden space. Sharing of produce will be encouraged, but won’t be an expectation. SGWG also does not know how many participants to expect.

“This is the first year that we will do this,” Michelle said. “We’ve seen plenty of people who want to grow their own food but don’t have space to do it, and we have seen a lot of planting beds and garden spots that go unused during the summer because people are too busy or lack knowledge or experience in growing a garden. This is a great way to match those unused gardens with someone who will make them productive and increase the amount of vegetables being grown in Sitka.”

“Growing food locally has many benefits,” Michelle added. “For our group, the benefit is reducing the miles that food is shipped [thus reducing fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions]. But growing food locally also makes the food cheaper and improves the quality and healthfulness of the vegetables, since they are fresher. Growing food locally also improves our ‘food security,’ making a food shortage less likely in times of high fuel prices or bad weather. And local food tastes really good.”