• Sitka Seedling Farms project to host informational lunch meeting on Dec. 18


Farm DesignSitka Seedling Farms is an initiative to meet Sitka’s food system needs in a thought-out, comprehensive way. Many food-related initiatives have been proposed over the last several years, but most have stalled for lack of space.

Sitka Seedling Farms, which is a finalist in the Paths to Prosperity economic development contest for Southeast Alaska, will solve this problem by exploring innovative land relationships with major landowners in our community to develop the resources Sitka’s food system needs to thrive, such as production space for food entrepreneurs, community greenhouses, food storage and processing facilities and more. Sitka Seedling Farms is currently in the land exploration phase.

To learn more about this local foods systems project, there will be an informational lunch meeting from noon until 1 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 18, at the Larkspur Café. Please contact Matthew Jackson with questions or comments at 907-821-1412. Also, please feel free to sign this online letter of support to the city to help promote the project.

• Sitka Seedling Farms business plan executive summary (Fall 2015)

• Potential Sitka Seedling Farms community farm design (by Monique Anderson)

• A 2010 Sitka Health Summit project starts to bear fruit


GreenApplesKCAWOne of the 2010 Sitka Health Summit community wellness projects was to plant a bunch of apple, crabapple and cherry trees around town as a way to provide fresh fruit for people as they wander about Sitka.

When we planted the trees, we knew it would take a couple of years before we started seeing any fruit. Several of the trees were planted on public land, with several Sitka residents also buying the saplings to plant at their homes and offices.

On Tuesday, Sept. 10, a couple of the trees planted in front of the historic Cable House (home of the KCAW-Raven Radio station and the Larkspur Café) were full of apples, even though a couple of weeks earlier it didn’t appear these smaller trees had any fruit.  It’s nice to see some of the trees are producing.


• Sitka Conservation Society, other groups to host Sitka Food Film Festival on Feb. 22-24

Food Film FestThe Sitka Conservation Society and several other partners will host the Sitka Food Film Festival on Friday through Sunday, Feb. 22-24, at Harrigan Centennial Hall and the Larkspur Cafe. The films are free, but donations will be accepted to help cover costs.

In addition to the dozen films, the festival will feature an appearance by Tlingít chef Robert Kinneen about the Store Outside Your Door (a project with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) promoting healthy traditional foods). There also will be a roundtable discussion about Sitka’s food resiliency (food security).

The festival opens with a feature film TBA at 8:30 p.m. on Friday night at the Larkspur Cafe.

On Saturday at Harrigan Centennial Hall, the schedule includes Ratatouille (a family friendly movie) at 10 a.m., Ingredients at 12:30 p.m., End of the Line at 2:30 p.m., Two Angry Moms at 3:45 p.m., followed by a roundtable discussion about Sitka’s food resiliency from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday’s schedule concludes with another feature film TBA at 8:30 p.m. at the Larkspur Cafe.

Sunday’s schedule at Harrigan Centennial Hall opens with A Feast At Midnight (a family friendly movie) at 10 a.m., Food Fight at 12:30 p.m., Bitter Seeds at 2:30 p.m., and Food Stamped at 4 p.m. Robert Kinneen is the keynote speaker at 6 p.m., discussing the Store Outside Your Door and showing film shorts from the project. The festival concludes at 7 p.m. with The Economics of Happiness.

Besides the Sitka Conservation Society, the film festival is sponsored by the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust, SEARHC, Sitka Food Co-op, ArtChange Inc., Sitka Film Society, Alaska Pure Sea Salt Co., and the Larkspur Cafe. On Tuesday, Feb. 19, Tracy Gagnon with the Sitka Conservation Society and Andrianna Natsoulas with the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust were interviewed on KCAW-Raven Radio’s Morning Edition program about the film festival, and you can click here to listen to the interview.

• Sitka film featured in Palmer’s “Local Harvest, Local Food” film festival, a Sitka café featured for using local food and other local foods news

Food Film Fest Poster-2

Join the Palmer Arts Council for its inaugural “Local Harvest, Local Food” film fest from Thursday, Nov. 19, through Sunday, Nov. 22, at the Strangebird Consulting Office in downtown Palmer. “Good Food” screens at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19; “Fresh” shows at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20; “Eating Alaska” by Sitka filmmaker Ellen Frankenstein screens at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21; and “Ingredients” shows at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22. After the Sunday showing there will be a discussion about women in agriculture with Cynthia Vignetti. Suggested donations are $10-15 for all films except for Sunday, which is free.

A Sitka restaurant, the Larkspur Café, was featured in Capital City Weekly last week. The article talks about the origins of the restaurant, which is located in the same building as KCAW-Raven Radio. It also discusses the restaurant’s use of local foods, including owners Amelia Budd and Amy Kane purchasing produce from the Sitka Farmers Market during the summer.

In other local foods news from around the state, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced an expansion to the state’s subsistence halibut fishery to include more rural residents (this includes the Sitka area). The new rules, which take effect on Dec. 4, redefine who qualifies as a rural resident. The previous rules defined rural residents as people living in a rural community or people belonging to a Native tribe with customary and traditional uses of halibut, and the news rules try to catch subsistence halibut users who fell outside the previous definition. Click this link for more information about subsistence halibut regulations and applications.

The Daily Sitka Sentinel has been running a brief announcement from the Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s Kayaaní Commission, which is selling 2010 calendars, CDRoms and field guides about traditional uses of native plants. Here is the information:

Kayaaní Native Plant Publications Available: 2010 Kayaaní Harvest Calendars featuring native plants and their traditional and cultural uses ($16, $2 postage per address); Interactive Ethnobotanical CDRoms with native species, their Tlingít, scientific and common names, and interviews with Elders on the traditional and medicinal uses of plants ($15, $1 postage per address); Ethnobotanical Field Guides ($16, $1 postage per address). We will mail to the addresses of your choice. Order by Dec. 18 for guaranteed delivery before Christmas. Call or e-mail with your order: 907-747-7178, pbass@sitkatribe.org, STA Kayaaní Commission, 456 Katlian. All proceeds will assist the nonprofit Kayaaní Commission in protecting, perpetuating and preserving knowledge of native plants.

The Chilkat Valley News weekly newspaper from Haines featured an article about sixth-graders at Haines School learning how to compost their leftover food (including leftover meat) so it can be used for gardening. The school is working with the Takshanuk Watershed Council to teach the students about composting. The students call their compost project “Marvin” because it’s a living organism.

The Alaska Dispatch recently ran a feature called “Growing Season” that discusses some of the farms in the Matanuska-Susitna valleys that grow local food. The feature includes video clips of harvest time at a couple of the farms featured.

The Mat-Su Frontiersman had a feature called “Chicken U,” which is about raising chickens in Alaska and getting them to produce eggs during the winter months.

The Anchorage Daily News also mentioned Chicken University, which will be one of several presentations at the Alaska Farm Bureau annual meeting on Friday, Nov. 13, at the Millennium Hotel in Anchorage. Other presentations are on growing apples in Alaska and preserving your harvest.

The Anchorage Daily News also had an article about how to get local produce in Anchorage during the winter, either through the Glacier Valley CSA produce boxes from Palmer or the indoor farmers market at the Northway Mall.

Anchorage Daily News garden columnist Jeff Lowenfels wrote a column about how hydroponic gardening is easier and cheaper than ever. The column includes lots of links for people who want to try this method of growing food without soil (by the way, there is a hydroponic garden at McMurdo Station in Antarctica that keeps the scientists there stocked in fresh produce in a land of ice).

Fran Durner’s “Talk Dirt To Me” blog on the Anchorage Daily News site includes a post about how snow can act as mulch for the garden.

The Ester Republic, a monthly publication for the community near Fairbanks, runs periodic articles about sustainability and local food security issues. Some of the articles are linked in the archives, and the editors are working to get more of the past articles on these topics online so more people can enjoy them.