SEARHC Health Promotion hosts regional Our Way Of Life traditional foods challenge in July

Please join SEARHC Health Promotion in engaging with local foods during the bountiful summer season. The event begins July 2, 2018, and runs through July 31, 2018.

To register, you may download and print a registration form and activity logs below.

Eating local, nutrient-dense foods available in Southeast Alaska is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It has nutritional benefits as well as physical, mental, and cultural significance. Benefits may include:

  • Local foods can be fresher.
  • Local foods reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Locally grown food is full of flavor.
  • Local foods available in Southeast Alaska are full of nutrients.
  • Harvesting and sharing foods can help create community.
  • Getting outside and engaging with your environment can help improve your mental health & mood.

Program Guidelines:

You may register at our Health Educators’ local office sites.

Fill out and turn local foods log(s) in to your designated site by noon each Monday in person, by phone, or email. (To email, scan or photograph your log or type your weekly activity into the body of the email).

Participants who turn logs in on time will be automatically entered to win a weekly prize.

Participants must be 18 or older to register, but we encourage families to harvest, process, eat, and share traditional or local foods together!

Suggested Activities:

  • Gathering local / traditional foods
  • Processing local / traditional foods
  • Eating local / traditional foods
  • Sharing local / traditional foods with elders, family, and friends
  • Gardening activities

If you have questions, please contact the Health Educator in your community.

  • Haines: Kate Fossman, 907 766-6303, katef@searhc.org
  • Hoonah: Kenya Skaflestad, 907 945-2761, kenyas@searhc.org
  • Juneau: Hannah Schlosstein, 907 364-4404, hschlosstein@searhc.org
  • Kake: Health Educator, 907 364-4404, hschlosstein@searhc.org
  • Klawock: June May, 907 755-4959, junem@searhc.org
  • Klukwan: Joanne Spud, 907 766-6319, joannes@searhc.org
  • Sitka: Heleena vanVeen, 907 966-8914, heleenav@searhc.org

Forms:

• Hoonah Healing Community Garden helps Hoonah improve health and prevent diabetes

End of May 114

Terrence McCrobie builds three Hoonah Healing Community Garden plots for the Hoonah Senior Center in May 2015. (Photo by Kathy McCrobie)

By Kathy McCrobie
SEARHC Traditional Foods Project Assistant

Creating the Hoonah Healing Community Garden was Bob Starbard’s idea. He is the Hoonah Indian Association‘s (HIA) Tribal Administrator. He worked with Bob Christensen from Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC), and by 2012 our first plots had been built.

I was hired by SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) as the Traditional Foods Project Assistant. When I took over for the 2013 growing season, I really had no gardening experience. I posted notices for the community to let them know the garden was available. We had 22 plots available for growing, and that summer half were in production.

Many community members made important contributions; our gravel business donated two large loads of fine sand and the time and skills shared made building the garden easier. Soon there was a dirt sifter to screen out the many rocks in the local dirt and heavy equipment leveled the ground. The Southeast Soil and Water Conservation District in Juneau sold us 14 berry plants at a discounted price. A community member donated 30 strawberry plants. Our space was soon coming together.

Most of our gardeners have prior gardening experience. Some used their own soil. Last year the zucchini, broccoli, potatoes, beets, bush beans and snap peas did well. The biggest challenge came from the ravens. After putting in starts, out of their curiosity, they would fly down when everyone left and pull them up.

We ask that our gardeners not use fish in their compost so the bears won’t come by to check us out and so far the deer have left the plots alone. Lia Heifetz from the Sustainable Southeast Partnership was a big help with our garden last year; she acquired some fence to protect our plots from critters. We hope to get the fence up this year. Lia also came to the William and Mary Johnson Youth Center to teach the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hoonah about composting with her worm bin and then we gathered seaweed for the garden.

For 2015 we are off to a great start with six returning and four new gardeners. Community members donated 20 raspberry plants and 20 gooseberry plants. Through the program, I purchased and planted a Nadine plum tree and a Terry Berry apple tree. My husband volunteers at the Hoonah Senior Center and is helping me with the traditional foods plot, as well as planting three plots for the seniors.

I just received an email from Lauren Hughey, a Community Health Educator based out of SEARHC Sitka. What exciting news! They just received a diabetes grant carry-forward. With the approval of this grant, Hoonah will receive $1,650 with the main goal of reducing the financial barriers to gardening for American Indian/Alaska Native diabetic patients. This grant will pay for plot fees and gardening supplies in the community garden: soil, seeds, raised-bed repair supplies, shovels, pots, gloves, buckets, and cold frames.

If you are ever in Hoonah please stop by to see us.   The garden is in town next to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Sharing about the Hoonah Healing Community Garden lets our and other communities be informed that food security starts with us. Also that it really does work! For additional information, feel free to contact me at kathymc@searhc.org.

A slideshow of Hoonah community garden photos from former Sitka Local Foods Network board member Cathy Lieser is posted below.

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