• Sitka Food Hub sub-committees to host meetings on food storage, community kitchen

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Summit_LogoThe two sub-committees from the Sitka Food Hub project of the 2013 Sitka Health Summit will host meetings in the next week. The project has two main focus groups — to increase Sitka’s capacity for emergency food storage, and to create a community commercial kitchen that can be rented to local start-up businesses and residents who need a place to preserve food they’ve harvested.

The emergency food storage group will meet at noon on Friday, Feb. 14, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. This group is looking for ways to help improve and expand community food storage for disaster preparedness. It also will be looking for ways to help educate Sitka residents about how to improve their own family food storage to be better prepared for emergencies.

The community commercial kitchen group will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 17, at Blatchley Middle School, Room 208. This group is trying to gauge the interest of local residents in having a rental commercial kitchen available for use. It also is looking at examples from other communities at how community commercial kitchens helped educate residents on food preservation, incubated local small businesses, and cultivated new opportunities for the community.

The next meeting for both groups combined is at 6:30 p.m on Thursday, March 6, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. Fo more information about the project, contact Marjorie Hennessy at marjorie@sitkawild.org.

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• Sitka Food Hub project to focus on a community commercial kitchen and emergency food storage

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The Sitka Food Hub project working group from the 2013 Sitka Health Summit now has refined its focus based on a survey of group interests.

The project will continue to focus on community food security through food education and a commercial kitchen facility. A  second sub-group is devoted to increasing local capacity to develop a food storage system for emergency preparedness. These groups will meet individually to begin planning. The groups will also re-convene in December to report back to one another and push the project forward. Ultimately the two projects will be combined as the project grows.

The two sub-groups will meet next week — the community kitchen group at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday,  Nov. 19, and the food storage group at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 20, both at Harrigan Centennial Hall. The two sub-groups were created to help tighten the focus of the main project and make it easier to improve Sitka’s food security

The shared-use community kitchen will be a place where families and individuals may take classes, rent space to preserve and can their own food, and small-scale local food producers can rent it to create their own value-added food products. The other group will focus on increasing food storage options, since our local hunger groups need more storage in order to expand and Sitka residents expressed community and individual food storage concerns when it came to disaster planning.

The two groups will reconvene for a meeting of the big group at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. To learn more about the Sitka Food Hub and to get onto the group’s email list, contact Marjorie Hennessy at 747-7509 (days) or marjorie@sitkawild.org.

• Sitka Food Hub project working group to meet on Tuesday, Nov. 12

Summit_LogoThe working group for the Sitka Food Hub project from the 2013 Sitka Health Summit will meet from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

This is the third meeting of the group, which formed during the Sitka Health Summit in late September as one of the summit’s two community wellness projects for the upcoming year. While the group’s ultimate mission, vision and goals still are being refined, community members at the Sitka Health Summit said they wanted the Sitka Food Hub to serve multiple functions — to be a place to help feed Sitka’s hungry while also serving as an emergency food supply for the community and also to provide education about how people can build their own personal pantries.

For this meeting we will continue on the work we started in our last meeting, which includes refining our mission, vision and goals so we can move forward with this project.

To learn more about the Sitka Food Hub and to get onto the group’s email list, contact Marjorie Hennessy at 747-7509 (days) or marjorie@sitkawild.org.

• Sitka Food Hub project working group to meet on Monday, Oct. 28

Summit_LogoThe working group for the Sitka Food Hub project from the 2013 Sitka Health Summit will meet from 6-7:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 28, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

This is the second meeting of the group, which formed during the Sitka Health Summit in late September as one of the summit’s two community wellness projects for the upcoming year. While the group’s ultimate mission, vision and goals still are being refined, community members at the Sitka Health Summit said they wanted the Sitka Food Hub to serve multiple functions — to be a place to help feed Sitka’s hungry while also serving as an emergency food supply for the community and also to provide education about how people can build their own personal pantries.

For this meeting we will be joined Lauren Havens, who has graciously offered to help facilitate the meeting. Topping our agenda will be hearing reports from volunteers who have been researching other food-based or food-related groups in the area , state and around the nation. The group will be discussing a few things, including some pertinent definitions and finally a heavy focus on refining our mission, vision and goals so we can move forward with this exciting project. We also may discuss a project name change to better match definitions used by major food policy groups. We hope we will see you there.

To learn more about the Sitka Food Hub and to get onto the group’s email list, contact Marjorie Hennessy at 747-7509 (days) or marjorie@sitkawild.org.

• Sitka Food Hub chosen as one of Sitka Health Summit’s two new community wellness projects for 2013-14

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Summit_LogoWhen the Sitka Health Summit met on Friday at Sweetland Hall to choose its new community wellness projects for the next year, Sitka residents chose creating a Sitka Food Hub as one of the priority projects.

The Sitka Food Hub has multiple purposes. It will serve as a local community food bank, and provide emergency food storage for Sitka. In addition, it will be a program that can help teach food storage and canning skills so residents can fill their own pantries.

Some of the reasons members gave for creating a Sitka Food Hub included eliminating hunger in Sitka, providing canning and food education, providing a community food storage on high ground, helping Sitka prepare for emergencies and have community resiliency, increasing Sitka’s food security, and more.

The goal of the Sitka Food Hub is to work together as a community to make sure everyone in Sitka has access to healthy food daily and for any emergencies. The project will receive $1,500 as seed money and facilitation help from the Sitka Health Summit. The Sitka Health Summit’s other community wellness project this year is to create a task force to prevent the use of meth in Sitka.

The first meeting of the Sitka Food Hub group will be from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. All community members are invited, especially if they are connected to local schools, emergency planning organizations, food organizations, clergy, government agencies, health programs, and others who deal in hunger and food security issues. If you can’t attend, but might be able to provide us with resources and partnership opportunities, please contact us.

To learn more about the Sitka Food Hub and to get onto the group’s email list, contact Marjorie Hennessy at 747-7509 (days) or marjorie@sitkawild.org.

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• Sitka Local Foods Network to host planning meeting on Friday, Sept. 28, for Food Day events in October

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a planning meeting from 5-6:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28, at the See House behind St. Peter’s By the Sea Episcopal Church (enter by the statue of St. Francis) to discuss plans for this year’s Food Day in October.

Food Day is a national celebration on Oct. 24 each year about healthy, affordable and sustainable food. Food Day highlights issues such as health and nutrition, hunger, agricultural policy, animal welfare and farm worker justice. The main goal of Food Day is to transform the American diet so it includes more healthy and real food. All Americans — regardless of their age, race, income or geographic locations — should be able to select healthy diets and avoid obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other diet-related conditions.

Food Day events are held in thousands of communities in the United States, including several in Alaska. Click here to learn more about Food Day. There also are several resources available for people outside Sitka who want to plan Food Day activities in their communities. Click the link below for a one-page informational flier about Food Day (opens as a PDF file). For more information, contact Lisa Sadleir-Hart at sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com.

• One-page informational flier about Food Day