• Sitka rooftop greenhouse project to meet on Tuesday, Nov. 17

Rooftop greenhouses, such as this one on top of a parking garage in Vancouver, British Columbia, are becoming more popular around the world. The rooftop greenhouse project from the 2015 Sitka Health Summit is hoping this might be an option for Sitka, where land is at a premium. (Photo from http://www.cityfarmer.info/)

Rooftop greenhouses, such as this one on top of a parking garage in Vancouver, British Columbia, are becoming more popular around the world. The rooftop greenhouse project from the 2015 Sitka Health Summit is hoping this might be an option for Sitka, where land is at a premium. (Photo from http://www.cityfarmer.info/)

The rooftop greenhouse project from the 2015 Sitka Health Summit will meet from 5-6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at the Sitka Pioneers’ Home manager’s house/Brave Heart Volunteers office.

Sitka's city-owned cold storage plant on Katlian Street is one place that has been suggested for a possible rooftop greenhouse.

Sitka’s city-owned cold storage plant on Katlian Street is one place that has been suggested for a possible rooftop greenhouse.

After several years of running into problems finding useable land for a Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center that didn’t require large investments in remediation, the group hopes a rooftop greenhouse on a flat-roofed building, such as the city’s cold storage plant on Katlian Street, might be the solution. Not only would wasted heat be recaptured for the greenhouse, but moving it onto the roof will provide better sun exposure and fewer garden pests (such as snails and deer).

Rooftop greenhouses of all sizes are becoming more popular around the world, and there have been several large ones pop up in New York City, Chicago, Montréal, Berlin, and other communities. Come join us as we see if this option is possible for Sitka. For more information, please contact Charles Bingham at 623-7660 or charleswbingham3@gmail.com

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• Sitka Health Summit chooses three 2015-16 community wellness projects

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newsitkahealthsummitlogoSitka residents decided to find ways to honor and support our elders, build an accessible community playground near Crescent Harbor, and build a community greenhouse on the roof of the city cold storage building (or a similar-flat-roofed structure), choosing those as the three community wellness projects Sitka residents chose to pursue in 2015-16 at the ninth annual Sitka Health Summit planning day Friday, Oct. 9, at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus.

VotingForBroadProjectsThese three projects (one broad topic, and two specific topic projects that tied as top vote-getters) each were awarded with $2,000 in Tier 1 seed money to help get them started. The three projects were picked after 57 Sitka residents brainstormed and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of a wide variety of community wellness projects. In addition to the Tier 1 awards, the Sitka Health Summit also made applications available for Tier 2 grants of $10,000 for projects dealing with nutrition (applications are due Oct. 23, contact Lauren Hughey at lauren.hughey@searhc.org or go to http://www.sitkahealthsummitak.org/ for more information).

LynneBrandonAwardThe Sitka Health Summit also honored Lynne Brandon with a lifetime achievement award for her work promoting healthy lifestyles during her 13 years as Sitka’s Director of Parks and Recreation and now in her new position as executive director of Sitka Trail Works Inc.

Each of the three Tier 1 projects will host a kick-off event in the near future, and these events are open to the public and anybody who wants to help with the project. More information about the projects, their kick-off meetings, and contact people are listed below.

  • Design and build an ADA-accessible Sitka Community Playground, 6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 26, Sitka Community Hospital classroom, contact Kealoha Harmon, 747-3500 — This project is to create an accessible, attractive, low maintenance and safe community playground that will meet the needs of both children and their families. Right now Sitka does not have any playgrounds that are compliant with the Americans with Disability Act. Building the community playground was selected as a Sitka Health Summit goal in 2011, and a lot of important work has been done. Now it’s time to move this community-supported project forward.
  • Build a Sitka Community Greenhouse on the roof of the city cold storage plant (or similar flat-roofed building), 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 28, Sitka Pioneer’s Home Manager’s House (Brave Heart Volunteers building), contact Charles Bingham, 623-7660 or charleswbingham3@gmail.com — This project’s goal is to increase local food production and food security by using greenhouses, including ones situated on rooftops, a practice growing in popularity around the world. Everyone needs the nutritional boost that only vegetables provide and the more we grow locally the better. There are so many benefits to growing food here; freshness, nutritional value, sustainability and the economic benefits that come from keeping dollars in Sitka. Rooftop greenhouses also can capture waste heat and provide a flat, slug-free growing environment that will help us with food security. Rooftop greenhouses can be a point of interest for visitors, a point of learning for students, and a point of community pride for everyone who believes in innovation and using space wisely.
  • Create a way to honor and support the well-being of elders in Sitka, 3 p.m., Friday, Nov. 6, Hames Athletic and Wellness Center, contact Caitlin Blaisdell, 747-5080 — One of the largest and fastest-growing populations in Sitka is its elders. The Elder Connection action group is focused on organizing systems to support the health and well-being of seniors living is Sitka. We want everyone’s Golden Years to be just that, and we know that we can do more to support this critical group of wisdom keepers.

NutritionGroupDiscussesProjectIdeasThe Sitka Health Summit is coordinated by a coalition of local groups that includes the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), Sitka Community Hospital, Brave Heart Volunteers, the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus, and the State of Alaska Division of Public Health Nursing, with financial help from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco-Seattle Branch Community Development Division.

Over the years there have been a variety of Sitka Health Summit projects — create a local market for local fish and produce, build a Sitka community greenhouse, become a Bicycle Friendly Community, become a Walk Friendly Community, encourage more kids and families to get outdoors for recreation, support a community health and wellness center (Hames), plant fruit trees around town, get more local fish into school lunches, build a Choose Respect mural, Revitalize Sitka, the Sick-a-Waste compost project, the Sitka Community Food AssessmentPark PrescriptionsTogether for a Meth-Free Sitka, and Sitka Kitch (a project to create a community rental kitchen and improve Sitka’s emergency food storage capacity). The 2014 Sitka Health Summit projects were Celebrate Katlian Street: A Vibrant Community and the Southeast Youth Resource Guide (which evolved into Family Fun Days at the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center).

For more information about the Sitka Health Summit and its current and past projects, go to http://www.sitkahealthsummitak.org/.

• Sitka Local Foods Network board thanks everyone for their Pick.Click.Give. donations

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Today (Thursday, Oct. 2) Alaskans began receiving their Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend checks, which are $1,884 this year. Recently, many Alaskans have chosen to share that wealth with state and local nonprofits through the Pick.Click.Give. program.

Your Sitka Local Foods Network joined the Pick.Click.Give. program this year, and we’d like to thank the 56 donors who pledged $2,900 to help us promote and encourage the use of locally grown, harvested and produced foods in Sitka and Southeast Alaska. We thank you for supporting the Sitka Farmers Market, community gardens, a community greenhouse, sustainable uses of traditional subsistence foods and education for Sitka gardeners. You can learn more about your Sitka Local Foods Network at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/.

You also can support us by attending the Sitka Local Foods Network Harvest Fest fundraiser from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 23, at the Del Shirley Room upstairs in Allen Hall on the Sheldon Jackson Campus. This event will feature a silent auction for a variety of food- and garden-related items and services. In addition, the Lexicon of Sustainability photos will be on display, we will give a short update on the state of local food in Sitka, there will be live music, light refreshments featuring local food will be served, and we will pour locally brewed beer (for those age 21 and older) and root beer from Baranof Island Brewing Company. This is a family oriented event, and there is a suggested donation of $5.

Again, we thank you for your support,

 

The Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors

President Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Vice President Michelle Putz, Secretary Beth Kindig, Treasurer Maybelle Filler, Webmaster Charles Bingham, Milt Fusselman, Matthew Jackson (and two vacant seats)

• Sitka Local Foods Network looks to fill vacancies on its board of directors

The 2014-15 Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors. Front row, from left, Suzan Hess, Lisa Sadleir-Hart, and Maybelle Filler. Back row, from left, Beth Kindig, Lauren Fetzer, Michelle Putz, and Charles Bingham. Not pictured are Jack Ozment, Milt Fusselman, and Rick Armstrong.

The 2014-15 Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors. Front row, from left, Suzan Hess, Lisa Sadleir-Hart, and Maybelle Filler. Back row, from left, Beth Kindig, Lauren Fetzer, Michelle Putz, and Charles Bingham. Not pictured are Jack Ozment, Milt Fusselman, and Rick Armstrong.

Are you interested in promoting and encouraging the use of locally grown, harvested and produced foods in Sitka and Southeast Alaska? The Sitka Local Foods Network could use you on its board of directors.

The Sitka Local Foods Network currently has two vacancies on its nine-person board of directors, with the possibility of additional spots opening up in January.

Board members are concerned about increasing access to local food for all Sitka residents. They also are concerned about rising food prices in Sitka, and they want to advocate for more community and family gardens in Sitka.

Board members help direct the Sitka Local Foods Network, a non-profit that promotes the harvest and use of local food in Sitka. In addition to setting the focus of the group, board members also help on a wide variety of projects such as the Sitka Farmers Market, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center, and the Sitka Local Foods Network Education Committee. In addition, over the years our board members have supported community food-related projects such as the Blatchley Community Garden, Let’s Grow Sitka, the Sick-A-Waste compost project, the Sitka Community Food Assessment project, Sitka Fish-To-Schools, the Sitka fruit-tree-planting project, other school education projects and more.

To apply for a spot on the board, please fill out the attached application and submit it to sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.org. The Sitka Local Foods Network board is a working board, which means each board member also participates in one of our four focus groups (farmers market, fellowship farm, education committee, and greenhouse). For more information, contact Sitka Local Foods Network board president Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 747-5985.

Our current board members and the year their terms end are:

  • 2014 — Milt Fusselman, Charles Bingham, one vacant seat
  • 2015 — Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Michelle Putz, Maybelle Filler
  • 2016 — Beth Kindig, Matthew Jackson, one vacant seat

We also are looking to increase our pool of volunteers who will help out during the various projects hosted by the network each year (no formal application needed, just send us your name/contact info and what types of projects you enjoy).

The next Sitka Local Foods Network board meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 13, in the upstairs meeting room at the See House behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church. The board generally meets from 6:30-8:30 p.m. (with a brief finance committee meeting from 6-6:30 p.m.) on the second Monday of each month, except during the summer (June, July, August) when board members are busy working with the Sitka Farmers Market and St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden.

• Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors application

• Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors job description

• Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center committee to present project update to Sitka Parks and Rec Committee

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Community Greenhouse Turn Around_Page_2Are you interested in seeing year-round produce and flower production in Sitka? The Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center ad-hoc committee will give a project update to the City and Borough of Sitka Parks and Recreation Committee at noon on Thursday, May 1, at the Harrigan Centennial Hall Exhibit Room.

The Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center idea started off as a project from the 2008 Sitka Health Summit, but problems acquiring land kept the center from advancing much beyond the concept stage. In recent months, the project gained some new momentum when city officials suggested using land at the city’s Turnaround Park (the old amphibious plane turnaround near the corner of Halibut Point Road and Katlian Street, where the Sitka Skatepark and Sitka Trail Works office are located).

The current proposal is to build a 25-foot-diameter geodesic dome in the middle of the site’s current parking lot. As the project grows, the plan is to build a 90-foot-diameter geodesic dome in the center (the smaller geodesic dome will be moved to another location), with two conventional greenhouses along the ridge by Katlian Street and by the guardrail by the Sitka Trail Works building. There also are plans for some garden landscaping around the site to help clean it up and make it a more attractive place to visit. The greenhouse project will not impede the use of the Sitka Skatepark.

The slideshow below includes several concept drawings by James Patterson. These plans are subject to change, but they help give people an idea of where the project stands right now. Another option is to start off with a high tunnel greenhouse and build around it.

Sitka residents are encouraged to attend the meeting Thursday to show their support for the project. “If we don’t make it through this committee meeting it be ‘back to the drawing board,'” project coordinator Kerry MacLane said. “Your appearance for even a few minutes from 12:10 12:30 p.m. would mean a lot.”

The project was presented to the Sitka Historic Preservation Commission in mid April (the Sitka Turnaround Park is a historic site). If the greenhouse concept is approved by the Parks and Rec Committee on Thursday, it then will be presented to the Sitka Planning Commission on May 6. After that, the proposal will go to the Sitka Assembly to approve a lease to use the property.

Linked below are some concept points and a response to some questions by Parks and Rec’s partner, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 747-7888.

• Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center proposal bullet points

• Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center response to DNR questions

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• Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center project to hold monthly meeting on Friday, March 14

Former Sitka Local Foods Network President Kerry MacLane, left, and Sprucecot Gardens Owner Judy Johnstone pose in front of one of the high tunnels recently erected on Judy’s land on Peterson Street. (Photo Courtesy of KCAW-Raven Radio)

Former Sitka Local Foods Network President Kerry MacLane, left, and Sprucecot B&B and Gardens Owner Judy Johnstone pose in front of one of the high tunnels recently erected in 2013 on Judy’s land on Peterson Street. (Photo Courtesy of KCAW-Raven Radio)

The Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center project will hold its next meeting at 5:15 p.m. on Friday, March 14, at the Sprucecot B&B and Gardens at 308 Peterson St. This meeting is open to the public.

Judy Johnstone, who owns Sprucecot B&B and Gardens, is hosting the meeting. Reports will be heard from committee members on possible building sites, including the Blatchley Community Gardens site and the old float plane turnaround area on Halibut Point Road.

The Sitka Local Foods Network is supporting this community greenhouse project, but is not coordinating it.

For more information, call Kerry MacLane at 752-0654.

• Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center project to hold meeting on Friday, Feb. 7

Sitka Local Foods Network President Kerry MacLane, left, and Sprucecot Garden Owner Judy Johnstone pose in front of one of the high tunnels recently erected on Judy's land on Peterson Street. (Photo Courtesy of KCAW-Raven Radio)

Sitka Local Foods Network President Kerry MacLane, left, and Sprucecot Garden Owner Judy Johnstone pose in front of one of the high tunnels recently erected on Judy’s land on Peterson Street. (Photo Courtesy of KCAW-Raven Radio)

The Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center project will hold its next meeting at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7, at the Sprucecot B&B and Gardens at 308 Peterson St. This meeting is open to the public.

Judy Johnstone, who owns Sprucecot B&B and Gardens, is hosting the meeting, where participants will discuss the possibility of her donating her high-tunnel greenhouse to the project and the possible use of her garden site for community gardeners. She will provide refreshments.

In addition, committee members will report on the meeting we had with some of the gardeners from the Blatchley Community Gardens and research done on other sites. The new “mystery” sites are the former tank farm overlooking Indian Village and the two lots owned by Tess Hayburn (from the former Lane 7 eatery to the Back Street site, where her house was destroyed by a small plane that crashed into it a few years ago).

Please bring your creativity to the table, but try to keep your comments concise and on topic, as the meeting will end at 6:30 p.m. (i.e., no swapping of gardening stories … sorry!). Folks are welcome to stay and socialize after the meeting and swap all the stories they want. The Sitka Local Foods Network is supporting this project, but is not coordinating it.

For more information, call Kerry MacLane at 752-0654.