Learn how to make homemade wine with local fruit on July 6

WINERY

RhubarbWine1Rhubarb is one of the easiest plants to grow in Sitka, and some years there are plenty of berries and apples growing around town. So what do you do with all the extra local fruit, after you’ve already made as many pies and jams and other recipes as you can handle? You can make homemade wine.

Perry Edwards and Michelle Putz, who are members of the Bags For Change group in Sitka, will teach their annual homemade wine-making class at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 6, at their home (address and directions will be given to people who register for the class). This fun and informative beginner’s class will teach people how to use locally grown fruit — such as rhubarb, apples or berries — to make wine. This class will offer simple wine-making tips, techniques, tools, and will feature Perry and Michelle’s award-winning rhubarb wine recipe.

This class is free and open to all adults age 21 or older. Space is very limited and this class fills up fast. Please pre-register to assure your spot in the class. Pre-registration closes at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3. For more information, or to register for the class, please call Michelle at 747-2708. The class is free, but Perry and Michelle will accept donations for Bags For Change.

Advertisements

• Sitka Local Foods Network to host memorial potluck for former board member Lynnda Strong

LynndaStrongMemorial

It’s with sad news that we announce the passing Wednesday morning of former Sitka Local Foods Network board member Lynnda Strong after her fourth bout with cancer. She was 58.

Since Lynnda didn’t have any family in Sitka, the Sitka Local Foods Network will host a memorial/celebration of life potluck dinner from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street). Please bring a dish to share and an anecdote or two about Lynnda (if you have one). Feel free to share this invitation to anybody who knew her.

“Lynnda cared deeply about humanitarian issues, education, and the environment, and she volunteered for the Sitka Local Foods Network, Sitka Global Warming Group, and other groups in Sitka,” Sitka Local Foods Network board member Michelle Putz said. “Thus, in lieu of flowers, we invite memorial donations to be made to the Sitka Local Foods Network or Kettleson Memorial (Sitka) Library.”

Lynnda earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in recreation and leisure studies and a certificate in outdoor studies from California State University Long Beach in 1979. She came to Sitka from Ohio in 2004 to earn a teaching degree from Sheldon Jackson College so she could become an elementary school teacher, but the college’s closure in 2007 prevented her from finishing the degree. Since then she has been volunteering for a variety of organizations in Sitka.

For more information about the potluck, please call Michelle Putz at 747-2708.

• It’s time to … make homemade wine from your extra rhubarb; learn how on July 18

WINERY

RhubarbWine1Rhubarb is one of the easiest plants to grow in Sitka. So what do you do with all the extra rhubarb, after you’ve already made as many pies and jams and other rhubarb recipes as you can handle? You can make rhubarb wine.

Perry Edwards and Michelle Putz, who are members of the Sitka Global Warming Group, will teach their annual homemade wine-making class at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 18, at their home (address and directions will be given to people who register for the class). This fun and informative beginner’s class will teach people how to use locally grown fruit, such as rhubarb, apples or berries, to make wine. This class will offer simple wine-making tips, techniques, tools, and will feature Perry and Michelle’s award-winning rhubarb wine recipe.

This class is free and open to all adults age 21 or older. Space is very limited and this class fills up fast. Please pre-register to assure your spot in the class. For more information, or to register for the class, please call Michelle at 747-2708. This wine-making class is sponsored by the Sitka Global Warming Group.

• Sitka Local Foods Network says thanks to those who helped with September’s Running of the Boots

(NOTE: A version of this letter to the editor appeared in the Friday, Dec. 30, 2011, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel.)

The Sitka Local Foods Network would like to take this end-of-the-year opportunity to thank some of the folks who helped Sitka get more local food into the lives of our residents.

Helping us celebrate the end of the season at the Running of the Boots on Sept. 24 were a couple of hundred hardy Sitkans, as well as Jesuit Volunteers and AmeriCorps members who joined 2012 Health Summit awardee Laura Schmidt and Lynnda Strong in the early morning light to harvest produce for the Sitka Farmers Market table.

Sitka Conservation Society interns, Sitka Global Warming Group/Sustainable Sitka folks and Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop staff provided bike tune-ups and education to folks that took up the challenge to Bike to the Boots and participate in the international 350.org Moving Planet energy conservation day on Sept. 24, 2011.

The Sitka Blues Band was rockin’ the scene by the time the faithful sponsor’s (Honeywell International) XtraTuf boot was thrown in the air. Everyone got 10-percent off at Harry Race’s soda fountain and the first to reach the store got wooden tokens for free soda treats.  The fastest runner was Ben Sargeant, the host of the national cooking show Hook, Line and Dinner on the Cooking Channel that was filming the event for a February 2012 episode about Sitka. He won a new pair of XtraTufs from Russell’s.

Other wonderful sponsors included Harris Air, AC Lakeside, SeaMart, the Westmark, the Dock Shack, F/V Coral Lee, Gimbal Botanicals, Orion Sporting Goods, the Fur Gallery, Old Harbor Books, Salon 264, Rain Country, Sitka Sound Seafood and the Nugget Cafe.

Costume judges Kiki Norman, Jude Reis, and Sheila Finkenbinder excelled in hooking up the great runners and Lip Sync singers with the terrific prizes that were so bigheartedly donated.

Special thanks to the Daily Sitka Sentinel, KCAW, K11VG TV and KIFW for promoting our events all year long.  There are more people and businesses to thank, and I apologize if I have overlooked somebody. Thank you for a great year and here is to a bountiful 2012, including the March 11 “Let’s Grow Sitka!” spring fair.

Thank you,
Kerry MacLane, President
Sitka Local Foods Network, Inc.

• Sitka groups band together to host the movie ‘Vanishing of the Bees’

The Sitka Film Society, Sitka Global Warming Group/Sustainable Sitka and the Sitka Local Foods Network are teaming up to present the movie “Vanishing of the Bees” at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, at the Coliseum Theatre.

This is a special Earth Week presentation (Earth Week is April 17-23, and Earth Day is Friday, April 22). Tickets are $8 and available from Old Harbor Books.

The movie, narrated by Ellen Page, describes a recent phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder, where entire hives of bees die off, leaving hives full of honey other bees won’t touch (normally when a hive dies off, other bees will raid the hive and take the honey). The loss of the bees is of critical concern for farmers and gardeners because honey bees are one of the major ways crops are pollinated. Without these bees pollinating the crops, we lose our ability to grow much of our food.

Here is the synopsis posted on the movie’s website:

Honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives.

Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon has brought beekeepers to crisis in an industry responsible for producing apples, broccoli, watermelon, onions, cherries and a hundred other fruits and vegetables. Commercial honeybee operations pollinate crops that make up one out of every three bites of food on our tables.

Vanishing of the Bees follows commercial beekeepers David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they strive to keep their bees healthy and fulfill pollination contracts across the U.S. The film explores the struggles they face as the two friends plead their case on Capital Hill and travel across the Pacific Ocean in the quest to protect their honeybees.

Filming across the US, in Europe, Australia and Asia, this documentary examines the alarming disappearance of honeybees and the greater meaning it holds about the relationship between mankind and mother earth. As scientists puzzle over the cause, organic beekeepers indicate alternative reasons for this tragic loss.

Conflicting options abound and after years of research, a definitive answer has not been found to this harrowing mystery.

• Sitka Global Warming Group, Sitka Local Foods Network offer Sitka garden-matching program

Michelle Putz of the Sitka Global Warming Group staffs the garden match booth at the Let's Grow Sitka event on March 14, 2010

Michelle Putz of the Sitka Global Warming Group staffs the garden match booth at the Let's Grow Sitka event on March 14, 2010

Do you have a planting bed that you don’t have the time or energy to cultivate? Do you wish you could grow some vegetables, but have no place to put them?

Sitka Global Warming Group (SGWG), in conjunction with the Sitka Local Foods Network, is offering a garden-matching program to help people who have garden space get matched up with people who want to plant and tend a garden. This is an effort to increase the amount of food grown and eaten locally. SGWG asks Sitka residents who have garden space to share or residents who need a garden space to contact the group at info@sitkaglobalwarming.org. Provide your name, email address, phone number, size of the spot available or wanted, and the location of either the spot that is available or the address of the person who wants the spot.

So far the garden match program has paired up a couple of gardeners with garden beds, and helped get a few more people gardening at the homes of their friends and families. But the garden match program needs more garden spaces and gardeners. Michelle Putz of SGWG said they need more garden spaces along Halibut Point Road (where they have several available gardeners) and they need more gardeners along Sawmill Creek Road (where they have several available garden spaces).

“Can you (or someone you know) spare a little bit of garden or yard space that could be shared, especially on HPR?” Michelle asked in a recent e-mail. “Do you or someone you know long to get some veggie seeds in, but have nowhere to do it? Please call me ASAP at 747-2708. Would you like to help match people? Call if you’d like to volunteer.”

Michelle said the group is not setting any expectations of either the people who offer garden space or who want a garden space. Sharing of produce will be encouraged, but won’t be an expectation. SGWG also does not know how many participants to expect.

“This is the first year that we will do this,” Michelle said. “We’ve seen plenty of people who want to grow their own food but don’t have space to do it, and we have seen a lot of planting beds and garden spots that go unused during the summer because people are too busy or lack knowledge or experience in growing a garden. This is a great way to match those unused gardens with someone who will make them productive and increase the amount of vegetables being grown in Sitka.”

“Growing food locally has many benefits,” Michelle added. “For our group, the benefit is reducing the miles that food is shipped [thus reducing fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions]. But growing food locally also makes the food cheaper and improves the quality and healthfulness of the vegetables, since they are fresher. Growing food locally also improves our ‘food security,’ making a food shortage less likely in times of high fuel prices or bad weather. And local food tastes really good.”

• Sitka Global Warming Group, Sitka Local Foods Network offer Sitka garden-matching program

Do you have a planting bed that you don’t have the time or energy to cultivate? Do you wish you could grow some vegetables, but have no place to put them?

Sitka Global Warming Group (SGWG), in conjunction with the Sitka Local Foods Network, is offering a garden-matching program to help people who have garden space get matched up with people who want to plant and tend a garden. This is an effort to increase the amount of food grown and eaten locally. SGWG asks Sitka residents who have garden space to share or residents who need a garden space to contact the group at info@sitkaglobalwarming.org. Provide your name, email address, phone number, size of the spot available or wanted, and the location of either the spot that is available or the address of the person who wants the spot.

SGWG will collect this data over the next month and then work to match garden spots with a nearby person who would like to plant and tend a garden. SGWG also will be collecting names and garden locations at the “Let’s Grow Sitka” garden show event taking place from noon until 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 14, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall on Katlian Street.

Michelle Putz of SGWG said the group is not setting any expectations of either the people who offer garden space or who want a garden space. Sharing of produce will be encouraged, but won’t be an expectation. SGWG also does not know how many participants to expect.

“This is the first year that we will do this,” Michelle said. “We’ve seen plenty of people who want to grow their own food but don’t have space to do it, and we have seen a lot of planting beds and garden spots that go unused during the summer because people are too busy or lack knowledge or experience in growing a garden. This is a great way to match those unused gardens with someone who will make them productive and increase the amount of vegetables being grown in Sitka.”

“Growing food locally has many benefits,” Michelle added. “For our group, the benefit is reducing the miles that food is shipped [thus reducing fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions]. But growing food locally also makes the food cheaper and improves the quality and healthfulness of the vegetables, since they are fresher. Growing food locally also improves our ‘food security,’ making a food shortage less likely in times of high fuel prices or bad weather. And local food tastes really good.”