• Northwest Farm Credit Services awards grants to Alaskans Own and Sitka Kitch projects

From left, Linda Behnken of the Alaska Longline Fisherman's Association and Anya Grenier of the Alaskans Own Seafood community supported fishery project receive a check for $4,500 from Michael Wittman of Northwest Farm Credit Services to help promote local seafood for Alaskans.

From left, Linda Behnken of the Alaska Longline Fisherman’s Association and Anya Grenier of the Alaskans Own Seafood community supported fishery project receive a check for $4,500 from Michael Wittman of Northwest Farm Credit Services to help promote local seafood for Alaskans.

image003Northwest Farm Credit Services recently awarded two rural community grants to help fund a pair of local foods projects in Sitka. The Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association received $4,500 for its Alaskans Own Seafood community supported fisheries program, and the Sitka Local Foods Network received $1,975 for a series of basic culinary skills classes to take place in March at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen (which is coordinated by the Sitka Conservation Society with assistance from the Sitka Local Foods Network).

“The support of Northwest Farm Credit Services will allow ALFA to improve and expand Alaskans Own so we can provide premium seafood to more rural residents,” said Linda Behnken, ALFA’s executive director.  “We believe healthy fisheries and healthy fishing communities go together and with this grant support we will reinvest in both.”

Alaskans Own connects residents of Alaska’s rural communities with great Alaskan seafood through monthly subscriptions. Subscription sales support ALFA’s research and conservation work to promote sustainable fisheries and sustainable fishing communities. Click here for KCAW-Raven Radio’s coverage of the grant.

From left, Dorrie Farrell and Kristy Miller of the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen advisory team and Sitka Local Foods Network president Lisa Sadleir-Hart receive a check for $1,975 from Michael Wittman of Northwest Farm Credit Services to support a Sitka Kitch project to teach basic culinary skills to people wanting to get jobs in the food/restaurant industry. The classes will take place in March.

From left, Dorrie Farrell and Kristy Miller of the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen advisory team and former Sitka Local Foods Network president/interim Sitka Kitch project coordinator Lisa Sadleir-Hart receive a check for $1,975 from Michael Wittman of Northwest Farm Credit Services to support a Sitka Kitch project to teach basic culinary skills to people wanting to get jobs in the food/restaurant industry. The classes will take place in March.

“Sitka Kitch will use the resources to launch a basic culinary training series taught by Chef Kathy Jones (executive chef for the Westmark Sitka Hotel),” said Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Sitka Kitch interim coordinator and former Sitka Local Foods Network board president. “Chef Kathy will model the four-session training on a curriculum from Indianapolis. She sees it as a way to get local Sitkans trained on entry-level culinary skills that could land them jobs in one of Sitka’s many restaurants or food-related businesses.”

The Sitka Kitch basic culinary skills training series is modeled after a similar program designed to help give people work skills for the restaurant/catering industry offered by a hunger relief nonprofit called Second Helpings in Indianapolis. More details about the Sitka Kitch basic culinary skills program will be announced in the next week or so. The classes also will be open to Sitka residents wanting to improve their home culinary skills.

Sitka Kitch is a community wellness project from the 2013 Sitka Health Summit designed to improve food security in Sitka. The different parts of the project include creating a community kitchen Sitka residents can rent to prepare food for their small businesses or to preserve their family harvest of fish, game, or garden veggies; expanding Sitka’s emergency food storage capacity; and providing education about cooking and preserving food and building family emergency food pantries.

Northwest Farm Credit Services is committed to helping rural communities succeed. In 2015, Northwest FCS awarded 62 rural grants totaling more than $134,000 to projects in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Since the program’s inception in 2007, the company has presented 464 rural grants totaling more than $948,000.

The next rural grant deadline is Feb. 1, with two other deadline cycles later in the year. If you think your rural project may be eligible for a grant, visit http://northwestfcs.com/Stewardship/Rural-Communities for more information and an application.

Northwest FCS is a financial cooperative providing financing and related services to farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses, commercial fishermen, timber producers, rural homeowners and crop insurance customers in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Northwest FCS provides approximately $13 billion in loans and is a member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of borrower-owned lending institutions that provide approximately $221 billion in loans to rural America. For more information, go to http://northwestfcs.com.

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• Scenes from a series of Sitka Seafood Festival food preservation classes at the Sitka Kitch

JasmineShawMichellePutzLeslieShallcrossConsult

ssflogo2On Aug. 6-8, the Sitka Seafood Festival hosted Leslie Shallcross from the Anchorage District Office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service to teach a series of food preservation classes at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen (Aug. 6-7) and Sweetland Hall on Sheldon Jackson Campus (Aug. 8).

Leslie taught a class on Thursday at the Sitka Kitch about how to make low-sugar jams and jellies (a class on preserving local garden greens was canceled), and on Friday she taught a class on making kelp pickles and sauerkraut and a class on canning salmon. On Saturday, she moved over to the Sweetland Hall to be closer to the Sitka Seafood Festival events and she taught another canning salmon class and a class on the process of smoking salmon.

For those who missed the classes but still want to learn more about home canning, the UAF Cooperative Extension Service has a series of online tutorials on its website called “Preserving Alaska’s Bounty.”

Also, don’t forget to make sure your pressure canner gauge is tested at least once a year. Jasmine Shaw from the Sitka District Office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service has a tester in her office and you can call her at 747-9440 to schedule a test.

kitch_logo_mainSitka Kitch is a community wellness project from the 2013 Sitka Health Summit designed to improve food security in Sitka. The different parts of the project include creating a community kitchen Sitka residents can rent to prepare food for their small businesses or to preserve their family harvest of fish, game, or garden veggies; expanding Sitka’s emergency food storage capacity; and providing education about preserving food and building family emergency food pantries.

For more information about the Sitka Kitch project, go to the Sitka Kitch website or Facebook page. For rental information, contact Kristy Miller at sitkakitch@sitkawild.org. Click this link to take a quick tour of the facility.

A slideshow with scenes from the various classes is posted below.

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• Scenes from a series of home canning and cottage foods classes July 16-18 at Sitka Kitch

SarahLewisPlacesLidOnAllAmericanCanner kitch_logo_mainOn July 16-18, the Sitka Kitch project hosted Sarah Lewis of the Juneau District Office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service to host four classes in Sitka on the cottage food industry and home canning. These classes were free and paid for by a grant from the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) WISEFAMILIES Traditional Foods program. In addition, Sarah had a table at the Sitka Farmers Market on July 18 where she tested pressure canner gauges.

For those who missed the classes and want to learn more about home canning, the UAF Cooperative Extension Service has a series of online tutorials on its website called “Preserving Alaska’s Bounty.” In addition, Leslie Shallcross from the Anchorage District Office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service will be in town during the Sitka Seafood Festival to teach canning classes on Thursday and Friday, Aug. 6-7, at Sitka Kitch, and on Saturday, Aug. 8, at Sweetland Hall on the Sheldon Jackson Campus. Watch for a class schedule to be posted soon (note, these classes will cost $15 each).

A reminder, pressure canner gauges should be tested at least once a year to make sure they are hitting the right pressures for safe food preservation. For those who couldn’t get to the July 18 Sitka Farmers Market for pressure canner gauge testing, the Sitka District Office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service has a tester in its office and you can call Jasmine Shaw at 747-9440 to set up an appointment for testing. The office also has a variety of resources — many of them free — on home canning, gardening and other topics.

Sitka Kitch is a community wellness project from the 2013 Sitka Health Summit designed to improve food security in Sitka. The different parts of the project include creating a community kitchen Sitka residents can rent to prepare food for their small businesses or to preserve their family harvest of fish, game, or garden veggies; expanding Sitka’s emergency food storage capacity; and providing education about preserving food and building family emergency food pantries.

For more information about the Sitka Kitch project, go to the Sitka Kitch website or Facebook page. For rental information, contact Kristy Miller at sitkakitch@sitkawild.org. Click this link to take a quick tour of the facility.

Slideshows featuring scenes from Friday’s class on canning salmon and berries and Saturday’s class on canning soups and sauces are below. Also, KCAW-Raven Radio attended the pickling and fermenting class and filed this story (which also includes a slideshow at the bottom). The Alaska Dispatch News recently posted this link on how to can salmon.

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Slideshow from the Friday, July 17, class about canning salmon and berries (above).

 

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Slideshow from the Saturday, July 18, class about canning soups and sauces (above).

• A quick tour of the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen

Sitka Kitch Advisory Team Members, from left, Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Kristy Miller, Sarah Lewis, and Dorrie Farrell go through the orientation packet before a recent series of canning and cottage foods classes taught by Lewis.

Sitka Kitch Advisory Team Members, from left, Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Kristy Miller, Sarah Lewis, and Dorrie Farrell go through the orientation packet before a recent series of canning and cottage foods classes taught by Lewis.

kitch_logo_mainDid you know Sitka has a community rental commercial kitchen?

The Sitka Kitch, located inside First Presbyterian Church at 505 Sawmill Creek Road, officially opened in March and is available for cottage food businesses needing a commercial kitchen, people wanting to put up their own harvest, cooking and canning classes, and even groups who want to cook a dinner for friends and family that’s too large to hold in someone’s home.

The Sitka Kitch is a rental community commercial kitchen project coordinated by the Sitka Conservation Society, in partnership with the Sitka Local Foods Network, located inside the First Presbyterian Church. The Sitka Kitch was a project from the 2013 Sitka Health Summit designed to improve food security in Sitka while also providing a space for people wanting to get into the cottage food business or wanting to preserve their harvest for storage in the home pantry. Sitka Kitch (Facebook page) officially opened after a series of renovations to make the church kitchen pass Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation commercial kitchen food safety standards.

The Sitka Food Co-op and Everything Organic Sitka regularly use the facility for deliveries and distribution.

Kristy Miller, the facilities manager for First Presbyterian Church, serves as the manager of Sitka Kitch and helps with scheduling and communal supplies. If you are interested in learning more about how to rent the Sitka Kitch, please go to this website, http://www.sitkawild.org/sitka_kitch, and the best way to schedule a rental is by email at sitkakitch@sitkawild.org.

The slideshow below provides a quick tour of the facility.

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