• Sitka Local Foods Network to host memorial potluck for former board member Lynnda Strong


It’s with sad news that we announce the passing Wednesday morning of former Sitka Local Foods Network board member Lynnda Strong after her fourth bout with cancer. She was 58.

Since Lynnda didn’t have any family in Sitka, the Sitka Local Foods Network will host a memorial/celebration of life potluck dinner from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street). Please bring a dish to share and an anecdote or two about Lynnda (if you have one). Feel free to share this invitation to anybody who knew her.

“Lynnda cared deeply about humanitarian issues, education, and the environment, and she volunteered for the Sitka Local Foods Network, Sitka Global Warming Group, and other groups in Sitka,” Sitka Local Foods Network board member Michelle Putz said. “Thus, in lieu of flowers, we invite memorial donations to be made to the Sitka Local Foods Network or Kettleson Memorial (Sitka) Library.”

Lynnda earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in recreation and leisure studies and a certificate in outdoor studies from California State University Long Beach in 1979. She came to Sitka from Ohio in 2004 to earn a teaching degree from Sheldon Jackson College so she could become an elementary school teacher, but the college’s closure in 2007 prevented her from finishing the degree. Since then she has been volunteering for a variety of organizations in Sitka.

For more information about the potluck, please call Michelle Putz at 747-2708.

• UAF Cooperative Extension Service to give presentation on preparing food in an emergency

OWL Happy Health Hour Sept. 29

Thursday’s 6.2-magnitude earthquake just north of Anchorage was a good reminder about the need to be prepared, especially in Alaska when we’re so isolated from the rest of the country. In honor of September being National Preparedness Month, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service‘s Happy Health Hour talk this month will be about how to prepare food during a power failure.

The talk takes place from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 29 (Happy Health Hour talks are the fourth Monday of every month) and is available at libraries statewide on the OWL Network. In Sitka, these talks are accessed at Kettleson Memorial Library, which right now is temporarily located in the old Stratton Library building on the Sheldon Jackson Campus.

UAF Cooperative Extension Service agent Linda Tannehill of Kenai will explain what to consider when storing food for emergencies and what food preparation options are available during a power failure. During a power failure, cooking and eating habits must change to fit the situation. We’ll cover what to consider when storing food for emergencies and what food preparation options are available during a power failure.

During an emergency — such as an earthquake, tsunami, or winter weather — the power can go out for hours, if not days or weeks. We also might lose our transportation infrastructure, meaning it could take some time to get a barge or airplane to town with emergency supplies. Individuals, families, and businesses should have spare food, medicine, portable stove and fuel, extra blankets, etc., to weather the emergency. Click this link to learn how to pack a home emergency kit. More emergency preparedness resources are available on the UAF Cooperative Extension Service website.

To learn more about the Happy Health Hour and this presentation, contact the UAF Cooperative Extension Service at 1-877-520-5211 or go to http://www.uaf.edu/ces/. You also can call Jasmine Shaw at the UAF Cooperative Extension Service Sitka District Office at 747-9440 for more information.

• UAF Cooperative Extension Service to give presentation on antioxidants in Alaska’s wild berries

OWL Happy Health Hour specific July 28

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service‘s Happy Health Hour talk this month will be about antioxidants in Alaska’s wild berries.

The talk takes place from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Monday, July 28 (Happy Health Hour talks are the fourth Monday of every month) and is available at libraries statewide on the OWL Network. In Sitka, these talks usually are accessed at Kettleson Memorial Library. But this month’s talk will be available for Sitka residents in Room 106 at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus, because Kettleson Memorial Library is closed while it moves into temporary quarters for the upcoming library expansion project.

Roxie Rodgers Dinstel of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service will talk about the health benefits of antioxidants, the levels of antioxidants in a variety of Alaska’s wild berries, and how different preservation methods affect antioxidant levels. Many wild berries in Alaska, such as blueberries, are considered super foods because of the high levels of healthy antioxidants in them, and Alaska wild blueberries are even richer in antioxidants than wild blueberries from the Lower 48.

To learn more about the Happy Health Hour and this presentation, call the UAF Cooperative Extension Service at 1-877-520-5211 or go to http://www.uaf.edu/ces/.

• Wilcox family prepares to run across country to raise awareness about Monsanto

Fund Run

DavidWilcoxSpeaksAtMayMarchAgainstMonsantoRallyA Sitka family is gearing up for a cross-country run in January to raise awareness about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food and the dubious practices of agriculture giant Monsanto.

David Wilcox, 15, and his father, Brett, will begin their 3,000-mile from Huntington Beach, Calif., to Cape May, N.J.,  with stops in St. Louis (home of Monsanto) and Washington, D.C. David and Brett will receive support from mom, Kris, and sister, Olivia. The current Southeast Conference-Class 3A high school cross-country running champion from Sitka High School, David is hoping to become the second-youngest runner to complete a run across the United States (he recently found out there was a younger runner who did a similar run back in 1928). The family hosted March Against Monsanto events in Sitka in May and October as part of an international movement against the company’s practices.

“Running across the USA! Wow! David and I are growing more and more excited to pound pavement, run trails, meet people, and advocate with millions of like-minded Americans for a GMO free USA!” Brett Wilcox said.

Even though the run won’t start until January, the Wilcox family has several activities planned for December to help publicize and raise funds for the project. Brett recently self-published a book, We’re Monsanto: Feeding the World, Lie After Lie, Book One. Brett and the rest of the Wilcox family will be at Old Harbor Books for a book-signing from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, and he will give a reading and book-signing at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15, at Kettleson Memorial Library.

BrettWilcoxWithBookIn addition, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, David will run 100 laps of the Moller Park track as a fundraiser for the trip. People can pledge per lap, or pledge lump sums at this event. Other runners are encouraged to join in the fun by running in Sitka or wherever they are and recording their laps. Also at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, the Wilcox family will have a table at the Elvis Monthly Grind at the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi.

“The topic of genetic modification can be heavy and confusing–confusing primarily because Monsanto and other chemical giants don’t want us to know about the problems associated with modern chemical-based agriculture,” Brett Wilcox said. “We’re Monsanto: Feeding the World, Lie After Lie is a fun, fast and creative approach designed to cast light on Monsanto’s products, poisons and lies. I wrote We’re Monsanto to give mainstream Americans the power to say no to Monsanto’s GMOs, say no to agricultural imperialism, and to say no to Monsanto’s lies. Once we understand that Earth’s natural biodiversity and agroecology are the true solutions to feeding a hungry world, we free ourselves from Monsanto’s poison-saturated false promises.”

To learn more about the run, you can read this Dec. 2, 2013, article from the Daily Sitka Sentinel or go to the Wilcox family website, Running The Country. The family also has created a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo.com, Running for a GMO-Free USA, where it hopes to raise money to help pay for the trip. In addition, Brett moderates a Facebook group, March Against Monsanto SE Alaska, and a group page about the run called, Running The Country.

• Seventh annual Sitka Health Summit helps celebrate a culture of wellness in Sitka

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The seventh annual Sitka Health Summit is coming up, and this year’s event features health fair, lunch-and-learn, community planning day and community wellness awards.

This annual event got its start in 2007, when leaders from Sitka Community Hospital and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) got together to try and build bridges between their health organizations. Working with other partners, they created the Sitka Health Summit as a way to help improve the health culture in Sitka.

Summit_LogoThis year’s summit opens with the Sitka Community Health Fair, which takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, at Sweetland Hall on the Sheldon Jackson Campus. This event features workers from the Alaska Health Fair Inc., who will provide a variety of medical tests such as cholesterol checks, glucose tests, vision screenings, flu shots, and more. It also includes informational booths from a variety of health-related programs in Sitka.

At noon on Monday, Sept. 23, at Kettleson Memorial Library will be a lunch-and-learn with Dr. Don Lehmann, a local physician and sports medicine specialist. He will give a brief talk called “Whistle While You Walk,” which will feature highlights about Sitka’s trail system. Participants can enter for a chance to win a set of walking sticks.

The “Community Planning Day: Selecting Sitka’s Wellness Goals” is from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27, at Sweetland Hall. This all-day event is when members of the community get together and select two community wellness projects to work on this year. The two projects will receive $1,500 in seed money, plus facilitation to help get the project going. Last year’s three winning projects included the Sitka Downtown Revitalization project, Walk Sitka‘s work in applying for a Walk Friendly Communities award, and the Sitka Community Food Assessment. Some of the top projects from previous years include the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community award applications in 2008 and 2012, the Choose Respect mural at Blatchley Middle School to raise awareness about sexual and domestic violence, the Sitka Outdoor Recreation Coalition’s Get Out, Sitka! project to get more families and kids outdoors, supporting the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center as a community resource, etc. There also have been several projects related to local foods, such as creating a Sitka Farmers Market, expanding community gardens and building a community greenhouse, planting dozens of fruit trees around town, promoting more local fish in school lunches, community composting,, and more. The first 65 people to RSVP will receive a free lunch (contact Clara Gray at clara.gray@searhc.org).

Finally, this year’s Sitka Community Wellness Champion Awards will be presented as part of the Monthly Grind at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5, at the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi on Katlian Street. The awards are made in a variety of categories, such as physical fitness, nutrition, tobacco control and policy, holistic health, injury prevention, and general wellness.

For more information, call Doug Osborne at 966-8734 or go to the Sitka Health Summit’s website at http://www.sitkahealthsummitak.org/.

• Deadline extended on Sitka Community Food Assessment to get more completed surveys


The deadline for surveys to be completed in the Sitka Community Food Assessment has been extended to the end of the month. Our goal is 600 completed surveys and as of Tuesday, May 21, we had 392 that had been recorded.

The Sitka Community Food Assessment is a 2012 Sitka Health Summit project designed to help shape food policy and improve Sitka’s food security. To learn more about the project, KCAW-Raven Radio hosted an interview with project coordinator Lisa Sadleir-Hart that aired on Monday, May 20.

Additional information can be found in this March 26 post on the Sitka Local Foods Network website, and in this April 9 article from the Daily Sitka Sentinel.

Surveys are available online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MQTF22Q, or click the Sitka Community Food Assessment logo in the right column of this webpage. Printed copies are available at Kettleson Memorial Library. A sign has been posted at the corner of Lincoln and Lake streets to update people on the progress of the project.

• Easter Group to auction off painted boots to raise money for the homeless during the Sept. 15 Sitka Farmers Market

The Easter Group will raise money for Sitka’s Project Homeless Connect event when it auctions off several pairs of painted rubber boots during the final Sitka Farmers Market of the season, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall (235 Katlian St.).

The white rubber boots were a donation from Sitka Sound Seafoods, which found them inadequate for its slippery floors. According to Dorrie Ferrell, the unpainted boots were available to Sitka’s homeless residents during the Project Homeless Connect event in January, but only a couple of of pairs were taken. So the boots were given to local artists to paint, and now they will be auctioned off to help raise money for future Project Homeless Connect projects.

The boots will be on display at Kettleson Memorial Library from Sept. 1-14, when they will be moved to a booth at the Sept. 15 Sitka Farmers Market for the auction. The auctioneer will be Brock Bauder. In addition to Project Homeless Connect and other projects to combat homelessness in Sitka, Easter Group also supports the local Blessings in a Backpack program, which sends food home on the weekend with school children whose families need food assistance. For more information, contact Easter Group at info@eastergroup.org.

And don’t forget the Running of the Boots fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network is on Saturday, Sept. 29, at Crescent Harbor shelter, which is a perfect time to wear your newly purchased painted rubber boots. Registration opens and the Sitka Blues Band starts playing at 10 a.m., costume judging is at 10:30 a.m., and the fun run is at 11 a.m.

• Sitka Conservation Society presents another year of Sitka Salmon Tours

Sitka Salmon Tours, presented by the Sitka Conservation Society, returns this summer for its second year, guiding visitors through the journey salmon take from forest to plate. The two-hour tour begins at 1 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays outside the Sitka Sound Science Center and progresses through Sitka National Historical Park, Sheldon Jackson Hatchery, and ends at Crescent Harbor. Tickets cost $20 per person.

The tours mainly draw from tourists visiting Sitka, but also found interest last summer from local residents with family in town, as something fun and unique to do for an afternoon. Personalized and private tours are available upon request.

“People really respond to how we bring the salmon in nature together with the science of the hatchery and the economic and cultural roles salmon play here,” Helen Schnoes, Salmon Tours staff says. “It helps them understand the significance of salmon — and the need to protect, restore, and enhance their habitat — in a new way.”

Tour guests this year and last immensely enjoy this unique perspective on salmon and life in Sitka, as demonstrated by these Trip Advisor reviews — “Great tour: got to see the real life Alaska … really informative and fun,” “Beautiful, Informative, and Entertaining,” and “The most delightful, interesting walking tour … a breath of fresh air.”

In addition to the daily walking tour, Sitka Salmon Tours also organizes events throughout the summer tailored to Sitkans, such as occasional tours of the Seafood Producers Cooperative, specialty community tours, and a salmon bake fundraiser.

We will be sending more details as the summer progresses, but here’s a heads up, too, about some future events:

  • July 15, “The Rise and Fall of Canned Salmon,” Talk by Nic Mink, 5-6 p.m. at Kettleson Memorial Library. Free and open to the public.
  • July 19, Community Salmon Bake Fundraiser, $20 per person ($15 for children age 12-younger), 6=8 p.m. at Harrigan Centennial Hall.
  • Aug. 5, “Fishing for Change,” Talk by Elizabeth Cockrell, 5-6 p.m. at Kettleson Memorial Library. Free and open to the public.
  • Aug. 7, Seafood Trivia at the Bayview Pub. Sitka Salmon Tours takes over this weekly trivia night with questions about seafood, salmon, and everything fishy. Teams must be entered by 8:45 p.m., trivia begins 9 p.m.
  • Aug. 9-13, Sitka Seafood Festival walks, including regular Salmon Tour, local seafood tour (includes tastings at some of Sitka’s best restaurants), and SPC processor tour; Events include a processor tour (11 a.m. on Aug. 9, $35 with light meal included, meet at location TBA), at least two Sitka Salmon Tours (one at 1 p.m. on Aug. 10, a second at 9 a.m. on Aug. 11, $20, meet at Sitka Sound Science Center), and a Seafood Walk (11 a.m. on Aug. 12, $45, includes processor tour and tastings at local restaurants)

Contact Helen Schnoes for questions, reservations, or for further information about events planned in Sitka this summer. Helen can be reached at the Sitka Conservation Society office at 747-7509, or by cell at (612) 741-1591 or e-mail at helen@sitkawild.org.


• The new Sitka Local Foods Network e-newsletter (Jan. 10)

Click here to read the current Sitka Local Foods Network e-newsletter courtesy of Linda Wilson. Don’t forget, you can sign up for the e-newsletter by typing your e-mail address in the “Join Our Mailing List” box on bottom of the left side of the page.

• Thanks for “Growing in Sitka and Southeast Alaska” presentation

Elizabeth Kunibe shows off a Tlingít potato (also known as "Maria's potato")

On Friday afternoon, the Sitka Local Foods Network hosted anthropology student Elizabeth Kunibe of Juneau for a presentation, “Growing in Sitka and Southeast Alaska: Food of Today, Tomorrow and 200 Years Ago.” This presentation took place at the Kettleson Memorial Library and we had a standing-room-only crowd of 50-plus, despite being arranged less than a week before the event and competing with several Alaska Day happenings.

The Sitka Local Foods Network thanks Elizabeth for taking the time to make the presentation on what, for her, was a pleasure trip to Sitka for Alaska Day. We also thank the library and librarian Sarah Jones for allowing us to use Kettleson Memorial Library for the presentation.

Finally, we thank everybody who came to the presentation to hear Elizabeth discuss traditional Tlingít, Russian and American gardens in Sitka and Southeast Alaska, the Tlingít and Haida potatoes, an agricultural fair in Fort Yukon, the phytonutrients of potatoes and plant diseases.

For those people who weren’t able to attend, the presentation was recorded and it will be aired at various times this week on public access TV (Channel 11). Elizabeth said she might send over some notes from the presentation, and when those arrive they will be posted on the Sitka Local Foods Network site, http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/. A small gallery of photos from the presentation is posted at this link.

Thanks again,
Charles Bingham, event organizer
Sitka Local Foods Network