Celebrate local farmers and gardeners on Alaska Agriculture Day on Tuesday, May 1

Alaskans will celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day on Tuesday, May 1. On this day, Alaskans are encouraged to support local agriculture by seeking out and purchasing products produced in Alaska and educating youth about the vital role that agriculture plays in our economy. This is Alaska’s version of National Ag Day (which took place on March 20 this year, when many parts of Alaska were still thawing out).

Here are a few ideas from the Division of Agriculture on how to celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day:

In Sitka, you can celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day by starting a food garden (even a couple of containers on your deck can provide you with potatoes, carrots or greens). Teachers are encouraged to offer a lesson plan or two about the importance of agriculture in Alaska and in Sitka. Here’s a linkto an article about how Sitka was Alaska’s original garden city back in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Also, the Sitka History Minute feature on KCAW-Raven Radio has had several episodes about agriculture in Sitka (click here to listen to a feature about the potato in Sitka, click here to listen to a feature about the Sitka Agricultural Station, and click here to listen to a feature about the cows of Iris Meadows).

During the growing season, please support the Sitka farmers and production gardeners listed in the 2016-17 Alaska Grown Source Book(chief contact in parentheses) — Anam Cara Family Garden (Lisa Sadleir-Hart), Blatchley Community Gardens (David Nuetzel, this garden closed in 2016 and there is a group seeking a new location for what will be called Sitka Community Gardens, but its 2018 status is unknown), Down To Earth U-Pick Garden (Lori Adams, switched to a CSA in 2017 and no longer is a public u-pick garden), Finn Island Farm (Keith Nyitray, this farm closed), Sprucecot Gardens (Judy Johnstone), and St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm (Laura Schmidt/Sitka Local Foods Network). There also are a few Sitka farms and production gardens not listed in the 2016-17 Alaska Grown Source Book, such as Beyond Leafy LLC (Jimmy and Leslie Kranz), Middle Island Gardens (Andrea Fraga/Kaleb Aldred), and Welsh Family Forget-Me-Not Garden (Florence Welsh).

Many of these farms and gardens will be vendors during the Sitka Farmers Markets this summer. The Sitka Farmers Markets take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on seven Saturdays — July 7, July 21, Aug. 4, Aug. 11, Aug. 25, Sept. 1, and Sept 15 — at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.). There will be a Sitka Farmers Market vendor meeting from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street) where rules and responsibilities will be discussed.

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Celebrate local farmers and gardeners on Alaska Agriculture Day on Tuesday, May 2

Alaskans will celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day on Tuesday, May 2. On this day, Alaskans are encouraged to support local agriculture by seeking out and purchasing products produced in Alaska and educating youth about the vital role that agriculture plays in our economy. This is Alaska’s version of National Ag Day (which took place on March 21 this year, when many parts of Alaska were still thawing out).

Here are a few ideas from the Division of Agriculture on how to celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day:

In Sitka, you can celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day by starting a food garden (even a couple of containers on your deck can provide you with potatoes, carrots or greens). Teachers are encouraged to offer a lesson plan or two about the importance of agriculture in Alaska and in Sitka. Here’s a link to an article about how Sitka was Alaska’s original garden city back in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Also, the Sitka History Minute feature on KCAW-Raven Radio has had several episodes about agriculture in Sitka (click here to listen to a feature about the potato in Sitka, click here to listen to a feature about the Sitka Agricultural Station, and click here to listen to a feature about the cows of Iris Meadows).

During the growing season, please support the Sitka farmers and production gardeners listed in the 2016-17 Alaska Grown Source Book (chief contact in parentheses) — Anam Cara Family Garden (Lisa Sadleir-Hart), Blatchley Community Gardens (David Nuetzel, this garden closed in 2016 and there is a group seeking a new location for what will be called Sitka Community Gardens), Down To Earth U-Pick Garden (Lori Adams, switched to a CSA in 2017 and no longer is a public u-pick garden), Finn Island Farm (Keith Nyitray), Sprucecot Gardens (Judy Johnstone), and St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm (Laura Schmidt/Sitka Local Foods Network). There also are a few Sitka farms and production gardens not listed in the 2016-17 Alaska Grown Source Book, such as Humpback Farm (Peter Williams), Middle Island Organic Produce (Andrea Fraga/Kaleb Aldred), Sea View Garden (Linda Wilson), The Sawmill Farm (Bobbi Daniels), Sitka Seedling Farms (Matthew Jackson) and Welsh Family Forget-Me-Not Garden(Florence Welsh).

Many of these farms and gardens will be vendors during the Sitka Farmers Markets this summer. The Sitka Farmers Markets take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, July 1, July 15, July 29, Aug. 12, Aug. 19, Sept. 2, and Sept 9, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.).

Lori Adams switching her u-pick garden to a community-supported agriculture program

SLFN 1 Gardens

LoriAdamsDownToEarthUPickGardenTruckDown-To-Earth U-Pick Garden will be changing formats in 2017. It will no longer be a u-pick garden open to the public and will become a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program where local residents can subscribe and receive regular boxes of fresh veggies, berries, eggs and other items.

“After eight years of business Down To Earth U-Pick Garden will no longer be open to the public,” Lori wrote in an email. “Starting this year we will be selling weekly CSA shares to a select group of customers who are committed to supporting locally grown food.”

At this time, Lori said she has 20 subscribers to get through her first season and isn’t looking for new subscribers. She didn’t say if she will continue to have a booth (or farm truck) at the Sitka Farmers Market this summer to sell extra produce. Her book, Gardening in Southeast Alaska, is still available at local book and garden stores.

Celebrate local farmers and gardeners on Alaska Agriculture Day on Tuesday, May 3

AlaskaGrownImpact

AgDayProclamationMay32016Alaskans will celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day on Tuesday, May 3. On this day, Alaskans are encouraged to support local agriculture by seeking out and purchasing products produced in Alaska and educating youth about the vital role that agriculture plays in our economy.

Here are a few ideas from the Division of Agriculture on how to celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day:

  • Join the 49,005 people who “like” the Alaska Grown Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/dnr.alaskagrown and learn about the exciting things Alaskans are producing around the state.
  • Contact your local agriculture groups/chapters (such as FFA, Farm Bureau, Agriculture in the Classroom etc.) to see if they are hosting an event in your area.
  • Sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program at a local farm.
  • Buy and incorporate Alaska Grown products into your meals.
  • If you are a farmer, consider asking a local school if you can visit a classroom to educate children about your operation and Alaska agriculture.
  • Visit and thank a local farmer in person. To find a farm near you, check the Alaska Grown Source Book at http://dnr.alaska.gov/ag/sourcebook/sourcebookindex2014.html.

ak ag day flyerIn Sitka, you can celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day by starting a food garden (even a couple of containers on your deck can provide you with potatoes, carrots or greens). Teachers are encouraged to offer a lesson plan or two about the importance of agriculture in Alaska and in Sitka. Here’s a link to an article about how Sitka was Alaska’s original garden city back in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Also, click here to listen to a Sitka History Minute feature about the potato in Sitka from KCAW-Raven Radio).

During the growing season, please support the Sitka farmers and production gardeners listed in the Alaska Grown Source Book (chief contact in parentheses) — Anam Cara Family Garden (Lisa Sadleir-Hart), Blatchley Community Gardens (David Nuetzel), Down To Earth U-Pick Garden (Lori Adams), Finn Island Farm (Keith Nyitray), Sprucecot Gardens (Judy Johnstone), and St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm (Laura Schmidt). There also are a few Sitka farms and production gardens not listed in the Alaska Grown Source Book, such as Sea View Garden (Linda Wilson), The Sawmill Farm (Bobbi Daniels), Sitka Seedling Farms (Matthew Jackson) and Welsh Family Forget-Me-Not Garden (Florence Welsh). Many of these farms and gardens will be vendors during the Sitka Farmers Markets, which start on July 2 this summer.

• It’s time to … learn how to grow your own food this spring with the Sitka Local Foods Network

 

SLFNSpringGardenClasses2016B

Thinking about your garden, especially with our warm winter weather? It’s time to mark your calendars with several upcoming Spring 2016 garden classes offered by the Sitka Local Foods Network Education Committee.

GreensInHoopHouseStPetersThese classes will cover a variety of topics, from gardening basics and choosing what veggies to grow in Sitka to extending your gardening season, composting and seed-starting. But wait, there’s more. There’s also a class on abundant landscaping, plus classes on growing rhubarb and potatoes. Some of the classes have limited space and require preregistration, so sign up early. Most of the classes are free, but we accept donations. There is one class on starting seeds with a minimal materials fee, but you’ll take some plant starts home.

We already hosted two classes (on vegetable gardening 101 and choosing what veggies to grow in Sitka), but there still are several classes coming up this spring. We will be adding more classes to this list as they become available, so check the website for updates. We plan to post individual class announcements as we get closer to the actual class dates.

And now, here’s the list of classes so far:

  • Extending Your Gardening Season — 10 a.m., Saturday, March 19, at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof Way), teacher Kerry MacLane, the class will explore various methods for protecting your plants and lengthening the growing season, no preregistration required. (NOTE: THE DATE AND TIME OF THIS CLASS HAS BEEN CHANGED FROM WHAT ORIGINALLY WAS ANNOUNCED.)
  • Starting Vegetable Seedlings Workshop — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, March 23, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce Street), teacher Jennifer Carter, learn how to start seedlings and go home with a tray of planted seeds, space limited, $10 materials fee, preregistration required.
  • Abundant Landscaping — 2 p.m., Saturday, April 2,  at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce St.), teacher Jud Kirkness, a hands-on approach to the “nine-layer forest garden” methodology, no preregistration required.
  • Growing and Fertilizing Rhubarb — 9 a.m., Saturday, April 9, at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof), teacher Michelle Putz, no preregistration required.
  • Everyone Can Compost — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, April 20, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce Street), teacher Jennifer Carter, learn the basics of composting your own soil, no preregistration required.
  • Growing Potatoes In Sitka — 9 a.m., Saturday, April 23,  at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof), teacher Michelle Putz, no preregistration required.

In addition, we’ll be launching our new downtown teaching garden as we get closer to growing season and all of those classes will be open to the public. Feel free to help the Sitka Local Foods Network education committee plan new programming at its next monthly meeting, from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street).

For more information or to sign up for classes requiring preregistration, contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520 or 1-850-491-2666 (cell).

• Spring 2016 garden education classes from the Sitka Local Foods Network (opens as PDF)

Local food ventures from Sitka, Petersburg win 2015 Path to Prosperity competition

PathToProsperity

2015 Path to Prosperity competition winners Mindy Anderson of the Salty Pantry in Petersburg (fourth from left) and Bobbi Daniels of the Sawmill Farm in Sitka (fifth from left) pose with the organizers of the annual Southeast Alaska-based economic development contest, which is sponsored by Haa Aaní CDFI and The Nature Conservancy. Mindy and Bobbi each won $40,000 in technical support to help develop and improve their business plans. (Photo courtesy of Bethany Goodrich from Sustainable Southeast)

P2P_logoThe Path to Prosperity (P2P) has announced the winners of this year’s sustainable business development competition. The Sawmill Farm in Sitka and The Salty Pantry in Petersburg were selected as the winning businesses for the 2015 competition. Winners were featured at the 2016 Innovation Summit Feb. 8 at Centennial Hall in Juneau, where they received a $40,000 award, as well as one year of business development support.

Bobbi Daniels with two goats (Photo courtesy of Lori Adams of Down-To-Earth U-Pick Gardens)

Bobbi Daniels with two of her goats (Photo courtesy of Lori Adams of Down-To-Earth U-Pick Gardens)

“Anyone who has ever started a business knows how overwhelming it is to manage the whole picture and move forward, and doing that has you too busy to connect with the help that you need to make your job easier. P2P closes that gap,” said Bobbi Daniels of The Sawmill Farm, who was making her third appearance as a finalist in the competition.

The Sawmill Farm uses cast-off food from grocery stores and restaurants to feed locally raised, hormone- and antibiotic-free livestock. “Winning this award radically changes how quickly we will be able to grow The Sawmill Farm,” Daniels said.

Mindy Anderson, owner of The Salty Pantry, agrees. “The Path to Prosperity competition has taught me to take an in-depth look into my business idea of opening a small market and deli in Petersburg, by guiding me through the process of completing a business plan I can use as a valuable tool for planning, operating my business, recruiting, and for driving my business in the future,” said Anderson.

SaltyPantry

The Salty Pantry (photo from The Salty Pantry page on Facebook)

The Salty Pantry will be a family-owned deli in Petersburg, specializing in rustic comfort dishes made with seasonal produce from local producers. The commercial kitchen will be available for local artisans to create products to sell and for educating the community through cooking classes, demonstrations and on the job training.

The Sawmill Farm and The Salty Pantry were selected from several applications from Southeast Alaska businesses. In July, 12 finalists were chosen and they received technical support to develop their business plans. That included a three-day boot camp held in Juneau. In addition to The Sawmill Farm, there was a second Sitka project among the 12 finalists, Matthew Jackson’s Sitka Seedling Farms.

Continued Success

P2P is a partnership between Haa Aaní CDFI (Community Development Fund) and The Nature Conservancy. The contest targets Southeast Alaska residents with ideas for triple-bottom-line-oriented businesses; those that will have a positive economic, social, and environmental impact on their communities. Over three competition cycles, the program has received applications from more than 105 businesses and start-ups from across Southeast Alaska, and has provided intense management training to 36 entrepreneurs during the signature business boot camp weekend in Juneau.

The program’s success has garnered attention from beyond Southeast. In 2015, Path to Prosperity was presented a Silver Award for Excellence in Economic Development by the International Economic Development Council. Joe Morrison of Biz21 Consulting in Anchorage has praised the program for its results. “Path to Prosperity is a results-driven competition — you can see the impact it’s having by looking at its outcomes, and the businesses that have been through the program. It is the best-in-class business development program in Alaska,” said Morrison.

A unique feature of the program is that the resources at boot camp weekend benefit all twelve finalists, regardless of whether or not they go on to win the program. “Although I did not win the competition, the information, education and consulting that I received was invaluable,” said 2015 finalist Tina Steffen of Skya’ana Coffee Company in Klawock. “This competition has changed the way I run my businesses. I am so thankful for everything that I learned through P2P. Be it a start-up or an existing business, participating in the Path 2 Prosperity Competition is a valuable experience.”

Looking Toward the Future

Haa Aaní CDFI and The Nature Conservancy are excited with the level of entrepreneurial activity the competition has inspired, and as sponsors, they are seeking funding to continue the program.“The number of participants receiving technical assistance and training resources from our rural communities has been increasing,” said Ed Davis, director of Haa Aaní CDFI. “The strong relationships Haa Aani has built across the region has helped bring this program and its resources to our communities. Program participants and partners recognize this, and it is a key component of P2P’s success.”

Norman Cohen, Southeast Alaska Program Director for The Nature Conservancy, is eager to see Path to Prosperity supporting innovative regional entrepreneurs. “The businesses making sustainable use of local natural resources are the ones that will form the backbone of sustainable economies and vibrant rural communities for years to come,” said Cohen.

This year’s winners are just happy for the support. “I am in awe of the long-term vision of Haa Aaní and The Nature Conservancy to understand that the future of sustainability lies in entrepreneurship,” said Daniels. “We are honored to be able to count them in our corner.”

The 2016 competition will launch in March and April, when the program will visit several villages in the region to recruit participants. Those in larger Southeast Alaska communities can contact the contest organizers for information about how to participate. To learn more, please visit http://www.p2pweb.org/ or email p2p@sealaska.com.

• It’s time … get ready for spring vegetable gardening with classes from the Sitka Local Foods Network

SLFNSpringGardenClasses2016

Thinking about your garden, especially with our warm winter weather? It’s time to mark your calendars with several upcoming Spring 2016 garden classes offered by the Sitka Local Foods Network Education Committee.

GreensInHoopHouseStPetersThese classes will cover a variety of topics, from gardening basics and choosing what veggies to grow in Sitka to extending your gardening season, composting and seed-starting. But wait, there’s more. There’s also a class on abundant landscaping, plus classes on growing rhubarb and potatoes. Some of the classes have limited space and require preregistration, so sign up early. Most of the classes are free, but we accept donations. There is one class with a minimal materials fee.

We will be adding more classes to this list as they become available, so check the website for updates. We plan to post individual class announcements as we get closer to the actual class dates.

And now, here’s the list of classes so far:

  • Vegetable Gardening 101 — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 27, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce St.), teacher Michelle Putz, class tailored for beginning gardeners, no preregistration required.
  • Choosing What Veggies to Grow in Sitka — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 10, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce St.), teacher Lori Adams, class tailored for beginning gardeners or gardeners new to Sitka, no preregistration required.
  • Extending Your Gardening Season — 2 p.m., Saturday, March 12, at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof Way), teacher Kerry MacLane, the class will explore various methods for protecting your plants and lengthening the growing season, no preregistration required.
  • Starting Vegetable Seedlings Workshop — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, March 23, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce Street), teacher Jennifer Carter, learn how to start seedlings and go home with a tray of planted seeds, space limited, $10 materials fee, preregistration required.
  • Abundant Landscaping — 2 p.m., Saturday, April 2,  at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce St.), teacher Jud Kirkness, a hands-on approach to the “9-layer forest garden” methodology, no preregistration required.
  • Growing and Fertilizing Rhubarb — 9 a.m., Saturday, April 9, at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof), teacher Michelle Putz, no preregistration required.
  • Everyone Can Compost — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, April 20, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce Street), teacher Jennifer Carter, learn the basics of composting your own soil, no preregistration required.
  • Growing Potatoes In Sitka — 9 a.m., Saturday, April 23,  at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof), teacher Michelle Putz, no preregistration required.

In addition, we’ll be launching our new downtown teaching garden as we get closer to growing season and all of those classes will be open to the public. Feel free to help the Sitka Local Foods Network education committee plan new programming at its next monthly meeting, from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street).

For more information or to sign up for classes requiring preregistration, contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520 or 1-850-491-2666 (cell).

• Spring 2016 garden education classes from the Sitka Local Foods Network (opens as PDF)