• Sitka added as site for UAF Cooperative Extension Service agriculture grant-writing seminar


The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will offer a free grant-writing workshop from 1-5 p.m. on Monday, March 30, to help Alaskans apply for federal grants relating to local food production and farmers markets.

Palmer Extension agent Steve Brown will teach the free workshop from 1 to 5 p.m. in Palmer and by videoconference in Kenai, Homer, Nome and Fairbanks. At the request of Sitka residents, on Wednesday, March 25, Sitka was added as an additional site for the videoconference.

The 2014 farm bill authorized $30 million annually for grants to be awarded nationally through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program. The program awards competitive grants to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local and regional markets. According to USDA, farmers market grants will support farmers markets and other producer-to-consumer activities, while the local food promotion grants will support enterprises that aggregate, store, distribute and process local and regional food.

The workshop will be offered at the Matanuska Experiment Farm in Palmer, the Kenai Community Library, Kenai Peninsula College in Homer, the district Extension office in Fairbanks at 724 27th Ave. and the Northwest Campus, B West, in Nome. The Sitka location for the workshop is Room 106 of the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus.

The preferred registration deadline is Friday, March 27, but since Sitka was added as a site so close to the presentation walk-in participants will be allowed at this location. For more information or to register, call the Palmer Extension office at 907-745-3360. Sitka residents should pre-register by contacting Jasmine Shaw at 747-9440 or jdshaw2@alaska.gov.

• Sitka Local Foods Network featured on APRN’s “Talk of Alaska” statewide call-in show about local food production

Sitka Local Foods Network President Kerry MacLane was one of the featured guests for the Alaska Public Radio Network’s “Talk of Alaska” statewide call-in show hosted by Steve Heimel on Tuesday, March 30.

The topic of Tuesday’s hour-long show was “Local Food Production.” If you weren’t able to hear the show, you can listen to it by clicking this link and then looking for the arrow above the comments box. In addition to Kerry, the other featured guest was Tim Meyers of Meyers Farm in Bethel. Some of the topics on this show included community supported agriculture (CSA) farms, spring planting, the Sitka Farmers Market, the Sitka Seafood Festival, the new Alaska Food Policy Council, sac roe herring, composting, soil conditions and other issues.

Some of the clips from Tuesday’s Talk of Alaska show were reorganized into a news feature story that ran on Wednesday’s “Alaska News Nightly” half-hour newscast on APRN. The news feature used some of Kerry MacLane’s comments about the Sitka Local Foods Network, but there were several minor errors in the story about what’s going on in Sitka.

By the way, this isn’t the first time local food has been featured on Talk of Alaska this year. In October 2009, Talk of Alaska did a show “Our Food Supply” as a preview for the Bioneers of Alaska annual conference.