• Sitka Conservation Society seeks donations of canning jars for Applooza

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The Sitka Conservation Society is looking for donations of quart and pint (preferably the shorter, wide-mouth pints) canning jars for a 4-H project called Applooza.

During the project, participants in the Sitka 4-H club will harvest apples from the apple trees planted on public property (probably about Sept. 20) and will learn how to make apple sauce (probably about Oct. 10). The jars of applesauce then will be donated to the Swan Lake Senior Center and the Salvation Army.

To donate the canning jars and/or lids, bring them to the Sitka Conservation Society office at 201 Lincoln St., Suite 4 (upstairs above Old Harbor Books). For more information, contact Marjorie Hennessy or Mary Wood at 747-7509. Other partners in this project include the Sitka Local Foods Network, the Sitka Food Co-op, and Sitka Kitch.

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• Scenes from the Sitka Kitch class on canning the harvest

 

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Sarah Lewis, right, watches as Betsy Decker adds water to a pressure cooker before jars of produce are added to start the canning process.

kitch_logo_mainOn July 25-27, the Sitka Kitch project hosted Sarah Lewis of the Juneau District Office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service to host three classes in Sitka on the cottage food industry and home canning. In addition, Sarah had a table at the Sitka Farmers Market on July 26 where she tested pressure canner gauges.

The slideshow below features photos from Saturday’s Canning The Harvest class at First Presbyterian Church. 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.” Pressure canner gauges should be tested at least once a year to make sure they are hitting the right pressures for safe food preservation. The Sitka District Office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service also has a variety of resources 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, contact Marjorie Hennessy at marjorie@sitkawild.org or 747-7509.

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• Sarah Lewis to provide free pressure canner gauge testing at Saturday’s Sitka Farmers Market

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SarahLewisThis is a great time of the year to be in Sitka. The fish are running, gardens are starting to produce, and berries are ripe for the picking.

Many Sitka residents have pressure canners to preserve their harvest, and this weekend Sarah Lewis of the Juneau District Office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will be in town to teach three classes about canning on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. She also provide free pressure canner gauge testing at the Sitka Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 26, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall.

“People can bring the gauge or the lid with the gauge still attached,” Sarah said. “If they have any questions about the full canner (gaskets, damage, how to use, etc.) they can bring the whole thing.”

In addition to testing pressure canner gauges, Sarah plans to work with Jasmine Shaw of the Sitka District Office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service to have a wide variety of publications available about home canning. In addition, the UAF Cooperative Extension Service has a series of online tutorials on its website called “Preserving Alaska’s Bounty.” Pressure canner gauges should be tested at least once a year to make sure they are hitting the right pressures for safe food preservation.

We posted earlier about Sarah’s canner classes this weekend, hosted by the Sitka Kitch project, and info can be found here. However, the location for the first two classes has been moved to the Sitka Presbyterian Church (from Sitka High School) and the topic and time have been changed for Sunday’s class (new topic is Canning Jams and Jellies, new time is noon to 3 p.m., location remains Sitka High School). The canning classes are $20 each, and preregistration is required (call Marjorie at the number below).

For more information about the Sitka Kitch project and to register for Sarah’s canning classes, contact Marjorie Hennessy of the Sitka Conservation Society at marjorie@sitkawild.org or 747-7509.

• Sitka Kitch hosts Sarah Lewis for cottage foods industry and home canning classes

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SarahLewisSitka Kitch will host Sarah Lewis, Family and Community Development Faculty from the Juneau District Office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, for three classes about the cottage food industry and home canning on July 25-27 at Sitka High School. (Editor’s note: The location of the first two classes has been moved to the Sitka Presbyterian Church on Sawmill Creek Road. Sunday’s class still will take place at Sitka High School, but the topic has been changed to Canning Jams and Jellies and the time will be from noon to 3 p.m.)

The three classes cost $20 each. Space is limited, so please register in advance by calling Marjorie Hennessy of the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509. Students will take home the products they make. The classes are:

  • Friday, June 25, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Cottage Foods Business Workshop — Students learn about Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation cottage foods industry regulations, as well as the food preparation and food preservation techniques that qualify. Class includes hands-on water-bath canning, dehydrating and pickling instruction. Veggies and other materials will be provided. Students must bring 8-12 half-pint canning jars with lids.
  • Saturday, June 26, 3-8 p.m., Canning the Harvest — Fish, veggies and other materials provided. Students must bring 12 half-pint canning jars with lids.
  • Sunday, June 27, noon to 5 p.m., Canning Soups and Sauces — Food and materials will be provided. Students must bring 12 half-pint canning jars with lids.

In addition, Sarah will be at the Sitka Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 26, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, where she will be available to test canner pressure gauges and provide other resources about home canning and food preservation.

Also, Sitka Kitch will partner with Sitka Tribe of Alaska to offer a pickled salmon course in August. This class is offered free of charge, but space is extremely limited. More details on date and location will be available soon.

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, contact Marjorie Hennessy at marjorie@sitkawild.org or 747-7509.

 

 

• Sitka Kitch, First Presbyterian Church announce grant to renovate kitchen for classes, rentals

The Sitka Health Summit congratulates the folks at Sitka Kitch and First Presbyterian Church on their $13,000 grant. The funds will go a long way towards renovation of their community kitchen. "Sitka Kitch is a community collaboration to augment and strengthen Sitka's workforce through the development of food-based curriculum and training." It is an initiative of the Sitka Health Summit. From left are Patrick Williams, Marjorie Hennessy, Clara Gray, Cheri Hample, Martina Kurzer, Suzan Brawnlyn, Cyndy Gibson, and Betsy Decker. (Photo Courtesy of the Sitka Health Summit)

The Sitka Health Summit congratulates the folks at Sitka Kitch and First Presbyterian Church on their $13,000 grant. The funds will go a long way towards renovation of their community kitchen. “Sitka Kitch is a community collaboration to augment and strengthen Sitka’s workforce through the development of food-based curriculum and training.” It is an initiative of the Sitka Health Summit. From left are Patrick Williams, Marjorie Hennessy, Clara Gray, Cheri Hample, Martina Kurzer, Suzan Brawnlyn, Cyndy Gibson, and Betsy Decker. (Photo Courtesy of the Sitka Health Summit)

kitch_logo_mainSitka Kitch is the community food project that arose from the 2013 Sitka Health Summit. The overall goal of Sitka Kitch is to improve community capacity and community development through the lens of food security.

The Sitka Kitch will start with food-based education and emergency preparedness at the household level. As it grows, the Sitka Kitch seeks to provide career and technical training, and entrepreneurial development opportunities. This will be achieved through a shared-use community kitchen and will work to educate, incubate and cultivate community sustainability.

Sitka Kitch also has a sub-group that is currently working to improve storage of emergency food with the Salvation Army. Eventually the kitchen would also like to generate a food ‘income’ stream to augment immediate relief efforts by local food banks and soup kitchens.

Sitka Kitch is pleased to announce a new partnering with the Sitka First Presbyterian Church to kick off its first year through the use of kitchen space. The groups collaborated in April to prepare an application to the Northwest Coast Presbytery Community Blessings Grant. The proposal outlined a budget to renovate the church’s existing kitchen to meet the requirements of becoming an Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)-certified kitchen and thus meet the needs of Sitka Kitch users.

The church and Sitka Kitch were awarded the grant, in the amount of $13,000, and the funds will go towards renovating and improving functionality of the kitchen. These renovations will begin in June and Sitka Kitch plans to start offering classes in July.

For more information, contact Marjorie Hennessy at the Sitka Conservation Society (marjorie@sitkawild.org or 747-7509). Click here to listen to a KCAW-Raven Radio morning interview with Marjorie and Suzan Brawnlyn to learn more about Sitka Kitch.

• Sitka Food Hub sub-committees to host meetings on food storage, community kitchen

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Summit_LogoThe two sub-committees from the Sitka Food Hub project of the 2013 Sitka Health Summit will host meetings in the next week. The project has two main focus groups — to increase Sitka’s capacity for emergency food storage, and to create a community commercial kitchen that can be rented to local start-up businesses and residents who need a place to preserve food they’ve harvested.

The emergency food storage group will meet at noon on Friday, Feb. 14, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. This group is looking for ways to help improve and expand community food storage for disaster preparedness. It also will be looking for ways to help educate Sitka residents about how to improve their own family food storage to be better prepared for emergencies.

The community commercial kitchen group will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 17, at Blatchley Middle School, Room 208. This group is trying to gauge the interest of local residents in having a rental commercial kitchen available for use. It also is looking at examples from other communities at how community commercial kitchens helped educate residents on food preservation, incubated local small businesses, and cultivated new opportunities for the community.

The next meeting for both groups combined is at 6:30 p.m on Thursday, March 6, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. Fo more information about the project, contact Marjorie Hennessy at marjorie@sitkawild.org.

• Sitka Food Hub project to focus on a community commercial kitchen and emergency food storage

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The Sitka Food Hub project working group from the 2013 Sitka Health Summit now has refined its focus based on a survey of group interests.

The project will continue to focus on community food security through food education and a commercial kitchen facility. A  second sub-group is devoted to increasing local capacity to develop a food storage system for emergency preparedness. These groups will meet individually to begin planning. The groups will also re-convene in December to report back to one another and push the project forward. Ultimately the two projects will be combined as the project grows.

The two sub-groups will meet next week — the community kitchen group at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday,  Nov. 19, and the food storage group at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 20, both at Harrigan Centennial Hall. The two sub-groups were created to help tighten the focus of the main project and make it easier to improve Sitka’s food security

The shared-use community kitchen will be a place where families and individuals may take classes, rent space to preserve and can their own food, and small-scale local food producers can rent it to create their own value-added food products. The other group will focus on increasing food storage options, since our local hunger groups need more storage in order to expand and Sitka residents expressed community and individual food storage concerns when it came to disaster planning.

The two groups will reconvene for a meeting of the big group at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. To learn more about the Sitka Food Hub and to get onto the group’s email list, contact Marjorie Hennessy at 747-7509 (days) or marjorie@sitkawild.org.