• Tour de Coop, a chicken tour of Sitka takes place on Oct. 27 in honor of National Food Day

Have you always been curious about what it takes to raise chickens in Sitka? Several of Sitka’s chicken coop owners will host the Tour de Coop — a guided walking tour of chicken coops at four homes in the Biorka neighborhood in honor of Food Day. This event features two tours starting at 11 and 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27, from the Baranof Elementary School playground parking lot (from the Market Center side).

During the guided walking tour, participants will learn chicken how-to basics from Sitka residents who are raising chickens for eggs and meat. Participants will learn the basics of raising chickens from chicks, what types of chickens do best in Sitka’s climate, what types of feed to use, how to build a coop, and how to protect the coop from bears and dogs. This tour is family friendly and interactive, fun guaranteed.

The Tour de Coop is brought to you by the Sitka Local Foods Network, Sitka Conservation Society, Sitka Food Co-op, and Food Day. Food Day, which is Oct. 24 each year, is a national celebration and movement promoting healthy, affordable and sustainable food. For more information, contact Jud Kirkness at judkirkness@yahoo.com or call the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509. (Editor’s note: The KCAW-Raven Radio Morning Interview on Friday, Oct. 26, featured Jud Kirkness and Ellen Frankenstein being interviewed by Holly Keen about the Tour de Coop and other food issues in Sitka.)

• SEARHC, Cooperative Extension host free garden workshops

BobGormanSeedStarts

(Photo — Master gardener Bob Gorman shows off germinating seed starts during a free garden workshop in March. He will lead another workshop on July 8.)

SEARHC, Cooperative Extension host free garden workshops

Do you want to grow some of your own food this summer, so you can have more fresh food choices and eat healthier dinners? Then the third in a continuing series of garden workshops is for you.

The SEARHC Diabetes and Health Promotion programs have teamed up with master gardener Bob Gorman of the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service to offer a series of four free garden workshops during the summer of 2009. The remaining workshops take place from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8, and Wednesday, Sept. 9.

These classes will be hosted at the SEARHC Community Health Services Building third-floor conference room in Sitka, but other communities will join by video or audioconference from the SEARHC Juneau Administration Building Conference Room, the SEARHC Jessie Norma Jim Health Center in Angoon, the Haines Borough Library, the SEARHC Kake Health Center and the SEARHC Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock.

“Even though summer hasn’t fully arrived, people still have a lot they can do in this year’s growing season,” said Maybelle Filler, SEARHC Diabetes Grant Coordinator. “Southeast Alaska is unique in its growing conditions, and it’s great that the SEARHC Diabetes and Health Promotion programs can partner with the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service to provide information on growing things in our area.”

The first two workshops in the four-workshop series were March 11 and May 6. The topics for the two remaining workshops are:
* July 8 — Gathering and pest management.
* Sept. 9 — Late-winter plantings, trees and shrubs; house plants and indoor gardening; and winterizing your garden.

For more information about this series of free workshops, contact SEARHC Diabetes Grant Coordinator Maybelle Filler at 966-8739 or maybelle.filler@searhc.org. People who aren’t able to attend at one of the listed video or audeoconferencing sites, should contact Maybelle for other options. Maybelle also has extra copies of the handouts for those who miss any of the garden workshops.