• Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors to meet on Monday, Feb. 6

The 2011-12 Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors at its winter board retreat on Dec. 3, 2011. From left are Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Doug Osborne, Maybelle Filler, Cathy Lieser, Robin Grewe, Linda Wilson and Kerry MacLane. Not pictured are Johanna Willingham-Guevin and Tom Crane.

The 2011-12 Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors at its winter board retreat on Dec. 3, 2011. From left are Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Doug Osborne, Maybelle Filler, Cathy Lieser, Robin Grewe, Linda Wilson and Kerry MacLane. Not pictured are Johanna Willingham-Guevin and Tom Crane.

The Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors will hold its monthly meeting from 6:30-8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 6, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Building, 408 Marine St. (parking lot is off Spruce Street).

Key topics for the meeting include planning for the Let’s Grow Sitka on March 11, a recap of the Jan. 21 Sitka Local Foods Network annual meeting and potluck, an update on the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center, an update on the Sitka Food Co-op, an update on recent work by the Alaska Food Policy Council, an update on the Sitka Composting Project (Sick-a-Waste), our new logo and t-shirts, planning for spring planting at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm and other community gardens, planning for upcoming events such as the Sitka Farmers Markets on alternating Saturdays from July 7-Sept. 15, and more.

Board meetings are free and open to the general public, usually once a month (except summer). We always welcome new volunteers interested in helping out with our various projects. For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or 747-7888.

• Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors to meet on Monday, Jan. 9

The 2011-12 Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors at its winter board retreat on Dec. 3, 2011. From left are Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Doug Osborne, Maybelle Filler, Cathy Lieser, Robin Grewe, Linda Wilson and Kerry MacLane. Not pictured is Tom Crane.

The 2011-12 Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors at its winter board retreat on Dec. 3, 2011. From left are Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Doug Osborne, Maybelle Filler, Cathy Lieser, Robin Grewe, Linda Wilson and Kerry MacLane. Not pictured is Tom Crane.

The Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors will hold its monthly meeting from 6:30-8 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 9, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Building, 408 Marine St. (parking lot is off Spruce Street).

Key topics for the meeting include planning for the Jan. 21 Sitka Local Foods Network annual meeting, a recap of the recent SLFN board retreat, an update on the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center, an update on the Sitka Food Co-op, an update on recent work by the Alaska Food Policy Council, an update on the Sitka Composting Project, our new logo and t-shirts, planning for upcoming educational events such as Let’s Grow Sitka on March 11 and the Sitka Farmers Markets on alternating Saturdays from July 7-Sept. 15, and more.

Board meetings are free and open to the general public, usually once a month (except summer). We always welcome new volunteers interested in helping out with our various projects. For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or 747-3475.

• Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors to meet on Wednesday, Dec. 7

The Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors at its winter board retreat on Dec. 3, 2011. From left are Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Doug Osborne, Maybelle Filler, Cathy Lieser, Robin Grewe, Linda Wilson and Kerry MacLane. Not pictured is Tom Crane.

The Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors at its winter board retreat on Dec. 3, 2011. From left are Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Doug Osborne, Maybelle Filler, Cathy Lieser, Robin Grewe, Linda Wilson and Kerry MacLane. Not pictured is Tom Crane.

The Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors will hold its monthly meeting from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at the upstairs offices at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Building, 408 Marine St.

Key topics for the meeting include a recap of the recent SLFN board retreat, an update on the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center, an update on the Sitka Food Co-op, an update on recent work by the Alaska Food Policy Council, an update on the Sitka Composting Project, our new logo and t-shirts, planning for upcoming educational events such as Let’s Grow Sitka in March, and more.

Board meetings are free and open to the general public, usually once a month (except summer). We always welcome new volunteers interested in helping out with our various projects. For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or 747-3475.

• Sitka Local Foods Network board meeting agenda for Dec. 7, 2011

• Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors to meet on Tuesday, Nov. 8

The Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors will hold its monthly meeting from 6:30-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at the upstairs offices at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Building, 408 Marine St. (NOTE: This is a change from the original Monday meeting date previously announced.)

Key topics for the meeting include discussion of the upcoming SLFN board retreat, an update on the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center, an update on Food Day on Oct. 24, an update on recent work by the Alaska Food Policy Council, an update on the Sitka Composting Project, our new logo and t-shirts, planning for upcoming educational events such as Let’s Grow Sitka in March, and more.

Board meetings are free and open to the general public, usually on the first Monday of the month (except summer). We always welcome new volunteers interested in helping out with our various projects. For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or 747-3475.

• Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors to meet on Thursday, Sept. 8

The Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors will hold its monthly meeting from 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8, at the Sitka Local Foods Network’s new office in the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Building, 408 Marine St.

Key topics for the meeting include the Sitka Farmers Markets this summer, the Running of the Boots fundraiser on Sept. 24, an update on St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, other garden projects in town (Sprucecott Garden with high tunnels/hoop houses, Blatchley Community Gardem), educational projects, Food Day on Oct. 24, the Sitka Health Summit on Sept. 29-Oct. 1, an update on the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center, a report on a possible meeting and board training with the Foraker Group, our new logo and t-shirts, and more.

Board meetings are free and open to the general public. We always welcome new volunteers interested in helping out with our various projects. For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654.

• Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors to meet on Thursday, May 12

The Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors will hold its monthly meeting from 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 12, at the Sitka Local Foods Network’s new office in the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Building, 408 Marine St.

Key topics for the meeting include the start of work parties at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, preparations for the upcoming Sitka Farmers Market season, an update on fruit tree planting efforts from the Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative, an update on the Sitka Seafood Festival, an update on the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center project, a recap of the Let’s Grow Sitka event on March 20, an update on Blatchley Community Garden plans for the spring and summer, an update on the Alaska Food Policy Council, an update on the Fish In Schools Hooray (FISH) project to get more locally caught fish into school menus.

Board meetings are free and open to the general public. We always welcome new volunteers interested in helping out with our various projects. For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654.

• Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative to host public fruit tree planting party on April 23

The Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative will host a public fruit tree planting event starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 23, at the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center. The first tree planted will be dedicated in memory of noted Sitka historian Bob DeArmond, who was 99 when he passed away on Nov. 26, 2010.

The plan on April 23, is for volunteers to plant a few fruit trees in front of the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center (tools and snacks will be provided). The volunteers then will move on to plant trees at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, a communal garden run by the Sitka Local Foods Network located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church. Other planting locations on Saturday include the Betty Eliason Child Care Center, KCAW-Raven Radio and either Sealing Cove or Pacific High School. A total of 22 trees will be planted on Saturday.

The Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative hopes to plant 200 apple, crabapple or cherry trees in Sitka before the next Sitka Health Summit on Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2011. This will be the first public planting of fruit trees since the 2010 Sitka Health Summit, when the project started. Several individuals, families and businesses around Sitka also have ordered fruit trees to plant this year.

For more information about the Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative or the Sitka Local Foods Network, contact Doug Osborne at 747-3752 or Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 747-5985.

• Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors to meet on Thursday, April 7

The Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors will hold its monthly meeting from 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 7, at the Sitka Local Foods Network’s new office in the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Building, 408 Marine St. This is a change from the board’s regular meeting schedule.

Key topics for the meeting include an update on the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center project, a recap of the Let’s Grow Sitka event on March 20, an update on St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm and Blatchley Community Garden plans for the spring and summer, an update on the Sitka Farmers Markets that start in July, an update on the Alaska Food Policy Council, an update on the two new food projects from the Sitka Health Summit (planting 200 apple or other fruit trees in Sitka and getting more locally caught fish served at Sitka schools), and more.

Board meetings are free and open to the general public. We always welcome new volunteers interested in helping out with our various projects. For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654.

• Let’s Grow Sitka garden education event is Sunday, March 20

Mark your calendars, because the 2011 “Let’s Grow Sitka” gardening education event opens at noon and runs until 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 20, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall on Katlian Street. Celebrate the first day of spring and get ready to garden.

This annual event brings together local garden supply stores, local gardeners, landscapers and anybody who is interested in learning how to grow food and/or flowers. This year’s theme is “Adding edibles to your landscape — focus on fruit trees and berry bushes.”

Master Gardener Ed Buyarski of Ed’s Edible Landscaping in Juneau will be on hand to provide expertise during the show. Buyarski will give a special presentation on “Growing Fruit in Southeast Alaska” at 11 a.m. on March 20 at ANB Hall (just before the show opens).

Buyarski also will lead some free hands-on tree pruning workshops on Saturday, March 19, with the first tree pruning workshop at 10:30 a.m. at the trees outside Patty Bickar’s house, 310 Cascade (at the top of the hill). The tree pruning workshops will continue Saturday afternoon at the trees outside the home of Tory O’Connell, 608 Etolin Way (off Baranof Street downtown). Buyarski will provide instruction on how to properly prune the trees and bushes to encourage fruit production and maintain healthy growth. Pruning needs to be done before the trees bud, so NOW is the time to get it done. The tree pruning workshops are hosted by the Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative.

The Sitka Local Foods Network encourages people to share their knowledge by hosting a booth or posting an educational display about a specific garden topic. We especially want people with experience growing fruit trees to share their knowledge about growing apple, cherry or crabapple trees in Sitka; growing strawberries; growing rhubarb; growing unusual berry varieties that do well in our climate such as aronia, sea buckthorn, honeysuckle (fruiting), gooseberry, currant and elderberry; and how to legally transplant and cultivate wild berry bushes to your property.

In addition, you can learn about home greenhouses, how to prepare your soil, how to raise chickens and what to do with all those slugs. Buy seeds and plant starts. Swap ideas and tips. Come learn, share, and get ready to grow your garden. Learn about plans for the Sitka Farmers Markets this summer. Let’s Grow Sitka is organized by the Sitka Local Foods Network and is part of the Arti Gras Sitka Music and Arts Festival, which takes place March 6-20.

There still are a few FREE tables available for vendors, education and demonstrations. For more information about Let’s Grow Sitka or to reserve table space, contact Linda Wilson at lawilson87@hotmail.com or call her at 747-3096 (in the evenings or on weekends only). She also has information about the tree pruning workshops.

Master gardeners are encouraged to sign up to share their personal experience on how to create a successful garden in Sitka. Also, anyone with a garden-related product or service to sell is invited to participate. Some of the expected booths are from:

  • True Value Garden Center (type Sitka or 99835 into the store locator search bar) — garden supplies
  • White’s, Inc/Harry Race Pharmacy — garden books, magazines, accessories
  • Garden Ventures — lots of lovely primroses for sale along with garden supplies
  • Lori Adams — Down-To-Earth U-Pick garden promotion
  • Andrew Thoms — raising chickens and chicks for sale (Andrew suggests anybody wanting to buy chicks contact him as soon as possible so he can start incubating the eggs. He can be reached at 747-3747 or andrew@sitkawild.org.)
  • Eve Grutter — jams for sale, garden and raising chickens expertise to share
  • Sitka Local Foods Network — garden information and volunteer sign up
  • Sitka Farmers Market — tomato plant starts for sale, Farmers Market information
  • St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm — seed starter kits
  • Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative — information on growing your own fruit trees and berry bushes in Sitka
  • Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative — community fruit tree mapping project
  • Sitka Seed Savers — information on how to save your own garden seed, and a sign up to participate in an educational workshop on how to save vegetable seed and start a seed savers group in Sitka
  • Display and information handouts on growing rhubarb and its nutritional benefits
  • UAF Cooperative Extension Service — lots of free garden handouts
  • Ed Buyarski of Ed’s Edible Landscaping in Juneau — edible landscaping

• Let’s Grow Sitka event flier for March 20, 2011, at ANB Hall (please print and post around town)

• UAF Cooperative Extension Service’s Bob Gorman to teach series of free classes on gardening in Sitka

Bob Gorman of the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service shows some germinating seed starts during a free garden workshop on March 11, 2009.

Bob Gorman of the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service shows some germinating seed starts during a free garden workshop on March 11, 2009.

Bob Gorman of the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will lead several free gardening classes starting this week and running through April.

Gorman will lead two classes this week — Wednesday night (March 2) on fruit trees and berry bushes and Thursday night (March 3) on basic food gardening. He also will lead four more classes about fruit trees and berry bushes on March 16, April 6, April 8 and April 27 (this last date may be rescheduled). All classes take place in Room 106 at the University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka Campus.

The “Tree Fruits and Berry Bushes for Sitka” class at 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2, will cover recommended fruit trees and berries for Sitka, site selection and site preparation considerations. Basic tree fruit and berry bush cultivation will be discussed. An update on spruce needle aphid detection and control will be included.

The “Basic Food Gardening” class at 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 3, covers making soil from locally available products, container gardening, establishing and tilling a garden plot, variety and seed selection, starting transplants indoors, direct seeding, frost-free dates, extending the growing season and garden pest prevention. UAF Cooperative Extension Service publications will be available.

The topics for the final four classes are:

  • Wednesday, March 16 (6:30-8:30 p.m.) — Growing Berry Bushes in Sitka
  • Wednesday, April 6 (6:30-8:30 p.m.) — Managing Garden Soils
  • Friday, April 8 (6-8 p.m.) — Prune It Now
  • Wednesday, April 27 (6:30-8:30 p.m.) — Planting Trees, Shrubs and Transplants (class may be rescheduled).

Bob Gorman is the Sitka District Extension Agent for the UAF Cooperative Extension Service and teaches the Alaska Master Gardener certification course to garden volunteers in Sitka (the course features 40 hours of horticulture classes and 40 hours of volunteer work in local garden projects). Before moving to Alaska in 1991, Gorman worked three years in berry crop research and four years in commercial fruit tree production.

To learn more about these classes, call the UAF Cooperative Extension Service office in Sitka at 747-9440 or 747-9413, or just show up since the classes are free.