• Sitka Local Foods Network building a pool of volunteers who can teach gardening

GreensInHoopHouseStPeters

Are you an experienced Sitka gardener willing to share some of your knowledge? The Sitka Local Foods Network needs you. The Sitka Local Foods Network is building a pool of volunteers who can teach gardening to local residents who might be new to growing local food.

We’re looking for people who can teach all aspects of gardening, such as how to build a raised garden bed, how to amend soil, how to choose seeds and plant starts for our climate, how to manage your garden once it’s planted, and more. To learn more about our education plans and our efforts to build a pool of teaching volunteers, please join us for a Sitka Local Foods Network education committee meeting from 5:30-7 p.m. on Monday, March 3, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

While we encourage people who have completed the Master Gardener program to apply, you don’t have to be a Master Gardener for our list of teaching volunteers. Just send us a a note expressing your interest in teaching or helping with a class, what types of classes you’re comfortable teaching, and the best dates and times for teaching that class. Please list your prior experience with these skills (such as I’ve been growing my own garden in Sitka for 12 years).

In addition to skilled gardeners willing to teach basic gardening, we’re also looking for people who can teach Sitka residents how to gather seaweed and other beach greens, how to go berry picking, how to preserve and can food, how to field dress a deer, how to cook with some of the lesser-known veggies that grow in Sitka, and other local food skills. Also, please let us know if you can teach specialized classes, such as permaculture, hydroponics, square-foot gardening, container gardening, how to raise chickens, etc.

This spring our local University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service agent is retiring, so we’re trying to build a pool of volunteers who can provide gardening education until the UAF Cooperative Extension Service can hire a replacement. We might be without a Sitka agent for a period of time, and when they hire a new agent they may rewrite the job description.

To join our pool of teaching volunteers, send your information to charleswbingham3@gmail.com. Please put SLFN Education in the subject line of your email. Please send us a note if you’re willing to teach at a later date and not just this spring or summer. We thank you for your support.

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• Make plans for the second Sitka Farmers Market of the summer this Saturday (July 30) at ANB Hall

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK  Sitka Local Foods Network Board Member Doug Osborne, left, and Sitka Farmers Market Co-Director Mandy Griffith, right, present the Table of the Day Award to Dave Nicholls, second from left, and Charlotte A. Vanchura Candelaria of Sitka Sea Salt during the first Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Saturday, July 16, 2011, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Sea Salt is a new business that will manufacture sea salt for chefs and restaurant use. Dave and Charlotte received a tote bag full of bread, veggies and other prizes from the market. The next Sitka Farmers Market is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, 2011, at ANB Hall. To learn more about the Sitka Farmers Market, go to http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK Sitka Local Foods Network Board Member Doug Osborne, left, and Sitka Farmers Market Co-Director Mandy Griffith, right, present the Table of the Day Award to Dave Nicholls, second from left, and Charlotte A. Vanchura Candelaria of Sitka Sea Salt during the first Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Saturday, July 16, 2011, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Sea Salt is a new business that will manufacture sea salt for chefs and restaurant use. Dave and Charlotte received a tote bag full of bread, veggies and other prizes from the market. The next Sitka Farmers Market is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, 2011, at ANB Hall. To learn more about the Sitka Farmers Market, go to http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/.

The second Sitka Farmers Market of the summer takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall (235 Katlian St.), and this market promises to be bigger than the first one.

This will be the second of five full Sitka Farmers Markets this summer, with the schedule running on alternate Saturdays (July 16, 30, Aug. 13, 27 and Sept. 10). The markets feature local seafood (fresh, frozen, and cooked, ready to eat), locally grown and harvested fruits and vegetables, baked bread, locally picked berries, jams and jellies, cooking demonstrations, live entertainment, locally brewed and roasted coffee, music, local arts and crafts, and a variety of other items gathered or made in Sitka. We emphasize local products and lots of fun. We are the first farmers market in Southeast Alaska to accept WIC coupons. You also can vote for the Sitka Farmers Market in the America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest by following the links at https://sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/2011/07/06/%E2%80%A2-don%E2%80%99t-forget-to-vote-for-the-sitka-farmers-market-in-this-year%E2%80%99s-america%E2%80%99s-favorite-farmers-markets-contest/.

According to Sitka Farmers Market Manager Linda Wilson, there will be a lot of new booths at this market who weren’t around for the first one. So far, the tentative vendor list looks like this:

INSIDE:

  • Raven’s Peek Roasters – roast coffee, specialty nuts
  • Food Demonstration
  • Amanda Hershberg – cupcake bar
  • Alaskans Own – frozen fish
  • Gimbal Botanicals – teas, beach asparagus
  • Down to Earth U-Pick Garden – produce, plants, flowers
  • Sarah Williams – Athabascan handcrafts
  • Syliva Falk – hand crafted jewelry
  • Charlotte Candelaria – Sitka Sea Salt
  • Dave Nichols – locally produced music on CD
  • Kiki Norman – glass jewelry
  • D.J. Robidou – graphic art
  • Backbay Botanicals – wildcrafted herbal remedies and lotions
  • Kelly Tidwell – jewelry made from wild gathered items
  • Bobbie Daniels – angora rabbits, small animal feed
  • Tamara Conaster – jewelry, produce, baked goods
  • Episcopal Church Women – frozen black cod
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters – non-profit
  • Sitka Food Cooperative – new food co-op sign-up information
  • Bonnie Bell Baker – home made aprons and sewn items
  • Evening Star Grutter – produce, jam
  • Teruvina – baked goods, bread
  • Sandra Greba – art and crafts
  • Joella Swanson – local beach stone and metal clay jewelry
  • Charles Bower – local author
  • Braveheart Volunteers – nonprofit
  • Lisa Teas – art
  • Jennifer Ihde – art, crafts
  • Dianna Raymond – jam, jellies
  • Bridget Kaufman – bread, baked goods

OUTSIDE:

  • Sitka Local Foods Network/Sitka Farmers Market – produce, rhubarb jam, logo t-shirts
  • Kerry MacLane – grilled black cod
  • Grace Larsen – fry bread
  • Kari Johnson – crepes
  • Marivic Carbonez – Filipino food
  • Marcelino Mabalot – prepared foods
  • Judy Johnstone – produce
  • Mandy Griffith – baked goods
  • Baranof Island Brewing – root beer, logo items, baked goods from spent grain
  • Mary Todd Anderson – coffee

 

For more information about the market or hosting a booth, contact Sitka Farmers Market Manager Linda Wilson at 747-3096 (evenings or weekends) or lawilson87@hotmail.com. By the way, we always need volunteers to help set up and take down the market before and after the event. Your help is greatly appreciated.

• Rhubarb, greens ready at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

Rhubarb and several types of greens will be available during the work party scheduled for 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, July 9, at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm (located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on Lincoln Street).

Besides rhubarb, the available veggies include spinach, kale, lettuce, basil, Swiss chard and bok choy. Many of these items were grown at Seaview Gardens.

These items are available for a $3 donation for greens or a bundle of rhubarb, or $2 for a small bundle of basil. Donations will help support St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, a communal garden that produces veggies for the Sitka Farmers Market, local food charities and other programs. WIC farmers market vouchers and fruit and vegetable vouchers are welcome.

In addition, help is needed to help harvest produce that’s ready for picking on Sitka Farmers Market days (on alternate Saturdays, July 16, 30, Aug. 13, 27 and Sept. 10). Early risers can show up at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm between 6:30-9 a.m. to help harvest for the markets that run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On weeks when there is no market, there will be regular work parties from 2-4 p.m. at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm.

To learn more about the garden work parties, please contact Laura Schmidt at 623-7003 or 738-7009. To learn more about the available produce, contact Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 747-5985.

• New group working to start a Sitka Food Co-Op

A new group will meet from 3-5 p.m. on Sunday, July 10, at Balanced Practice yoga/massage studio (208-B Lake St.) to discuss the creation of a Sitka Food Co-Op.

“We are just getting ready to have our first meeting to gather up those interested in being part of a start-up committee, so our goals and ideas will change as we are more clear on what is wanted by the community,” said Ann Betty, who is coordinating the project. “But as of right now, we want to provide a place where locals can sell their goods and a place where we can buy bulk goods for a great price. In the future, we would like to be a full-scale retail co-op, and that will come after much time and research. Right now, we are very new and just getting our ideas together.”

Ann said people are welcome to join the steering committee, and she started an e-mail list and blog site to update people on the project. She asked that people interested in the project can e-mail her at sitkafoodcoop@gmail.com or like the Sitka Food Co-Op page on Facebook.

“Please look over the information below to see how you can be most helpful in this great endeavor,” Ann said. “This initial meeting will go a long way in organizing our efforts to be a valuable community asset. Please respond by email if you will be attending this meeting, or if you can’t and would still like to be a committee member.”

FYI: The Co-op Start-up Steering Committee

The steering committee is responsible for moving the co-op through its early stages, until more formal structures can be established. Depending on time and resources, the committee may do the following tasks itself or assign these tasks to outside professionals:

  • Research and gather information
  • Conduct a preliminary feasibility study
  • Survey potential members
  • Establish a membership structure
  • Recruit members
  • Explore options for financing
  • Pursue initial inquiries with financing agencies
  • Report on progress to members
  • Hold membership meetings as needed
  • Prepare a business plan
  • Coordinate publicity and public relations concerning the co-op

Subcommittees might include:

  • A planning committee to conduct a feasibility study; research locations and eventually handle real estate negotiations; research equipment sources, local regulations, and suppliers; and coordinate preparation of a business plan
  • A finance committee to develop financial projections, research funding options, and coordinate a campaign for member loans
  • A membership committee to research membership structures, prepare information about the co-op and the paperwork needed for membership administration, coordinate recruitment of new members, organize membership communications (newsletters, websites, letters) and meetings, survey members, and plan outreach to the community

Keep in mind that certain committee tasks require a level of confidentiality, responsibility, and follow-up. Depending on what you need people to do, be clear about roles and ensuring accountability.

For more information about food co-ops, please visit the sites http://www.cgin.coop/ or http://www.foodcoopinitiative.coop/resources/toolbox. The Food Co-Op Initiative also produced a short video about starting a food co-operative in your community.

• July work parties set for St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host work parties from 2-4 p.m. each Saturday in July at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm (if there isn’t a Sitka Farmers Market scheduled that Saturday).

St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm provides vegetables, herbs and fruit for the Sitka Farmers Markets, which start in July (from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 16, 30, Aug. 13, 27 and Sept. 10 at ANB Hall). The communal garden is located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on Lincoln Street.

In addition to helping get the communal garden ready to grow veggies this summer, volunteers can meet Laura Schmidt, who is the lead gardener for St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm this year and will coordinate most of the summer’s work parties. Laura said the work parties will be kid-friendly and there will be several activities to keep the kids busy.

To learn more about the garden work parties, please contact Laura Schmidt at 623-7003 or 738-7009. To learn more about the Sitka Farmers Markets, contact Linda Wilson at 747-3096 (nights or weekends) or by e-mail at lawilson87@hotmail.com.

• June work parties set for St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host work parties from 2-4 p.m. each Saturday in June at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm.

St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm provides vegetables, herbs and fruit for the Sitka Farmers Markets, which start in July (from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 16, 30, Aug. 13, 27 and Sept. 10 at ANB Hall). It is located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on Lincoln Street.

In addition to helping get the communal garden ready to grow veggies this summer, volunteers can meet Laura Schmidt, who is the lead gardener for St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm this year and will coordinate most of the summer’s work parties. Laura said the work parties will be kid-friendly and there will be several activities to keep the kids busy.

To learn more about the work parties, please contact Laura Schmidt at 738-7009.

• Time changes for Saturday’s planting party at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

The time has changed to 1-3 p.m. for the planting party on Saturday, May 14, at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm. The times also have changed for the next two planting parties, from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, May 21 and 28.

St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm provides vegetables, herbs and fruit for the Sitka Farmers Markets, which start in July (from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 16, 30, Aug. 13, 27 and Sept. 10 at ANB Hall). It is located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on Lincoln Street.

In addition to helping get the communal garden ready to grow veggies this summer, volunteers can meet Laura Schmidt, who is the lead gardener for St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm this year and will coordinate most of the work parties and May planting parties. Laura said the work and planting parties will be kid-friendly and there will be several activities to keep the kids busy.

People who picked up seed starter kits at Let’s Grow Sitka in March should check the date they are scheduled to bring their started seeds in for planting. If you can’t bring them in on that date, please contact Laura Schmidt (623-7003) or Lisa Sadleir-Hart (747-5985) to make arrangements for someone else to bring them in on the scheduled date.