Food policy/food systems expert and author Mark Winne coming to Sitka to research new book

Nationally recognized food policy/food systems expert and author Mark Winne will be in Sitka from July 6-13 to do research on a new book, tentatively called “Food Town, USA,” where he examines the local food systems of eight to 10 small communities around the country.

“I’ll be visiting what may be America’s best little food town for research,” Mark wrote about Sitka on his website.

As part of his stay in Sitka, Mark will visit the Sitka Farmers Market, the Sitka Kitch, Sitka Food Co-Op, and a variety of local food businesses in town. He also will be part of a free community discussion about food from 6-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11, at the Sitka Public Library. This event is co-hosted by the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Food Co-Op and moderated by Doug Osborne.

Mark’s career in food policy and food systems spans 40 years. From 1979 to 2003, Mark was the executive director of the Hartford Food System, a Connecticut nonprofit food organization. He is the co-founder of the now-closed Community Food Security Coalition where he also worked as the food policy council program director from 2005-12. During his time with the Community Food Security Coalition, he did some work to help get the Alaska Food Policy Council up and running.

He was a Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Fellow, a Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Visiting Scholar, and a member of the U.S. Delegation to the 2000 Rome Conference on Food Security. As a writer on food issues, Mark’s work has appeared in the Washington Post, The Nation, Sierra, Orion, and Yes!, to name a few. He is the author of three books — Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of PlentyFood Rebels, Guerrilla Gardeners, and Smart Cookin’ Mamas; and Stand Together or Starve Alone: Unity and Chaos in the U.S. Food System, which was released at the end of 2017. All three books are published by Beacon Press.

Through his own firm, Mark Winne Associates, Mark speaks, trains, and writes on topics related to community food systems, food policy, and food security. He also serves as senior advisor to the Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. He now lives in Santa Fe, N.M.

In an email he sent to various members of Sitka’s food community, Mark wrote:

“Food continues to become a larger but not fully acknowledged force in the lives of American communities. From health and nutrition, to food security, to economic development, to the simple need for a good quality of life, food can define a community’s identity as well as determine who benefits and who doesn’t. I am going to tell “stories” about eight to 10 small to mid-size cities and regions for whom a ‘food scene,’ a food consciousness, a sense of commitment to those who do not benefit from a growing prosperity, and an expanding number of local ‘food system’ stakeholders are on display if not actually working collaboratively. I want to know about the history of each community’s food evolution, what its key moments might have been, and who has played timely roles. The purpose of the story I’m telling about these places, which I am not claiming are exceptional, is to stress that food is a “bigger deal” than we think, and that if you take it seriously, food will not only lift up our quality of life, it will ensure that everyone can enjoy a better quality of life. I am selecting places that are not Berkeley, Boulder, or Brooklyn, but are understated and often overlooked.”

For more details about the community discussion about food on July 11, contact Charles Bingham at 623-7660 or charleswbingham3@gmail.com

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Check out the June 2018 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the June 2018 edition of its monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This month’s newsletter has short articles about Gimbal Botanicals winning the Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest, Sitka Farmers Market vendor registration information being available, an invitation for people to join the Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors, information about a variety of food classes at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen, and information about the Sitka Local Foods Network sponsorship program. Each story has links to our website for more information.

You can sign up for future editions of our newsletter by clicking on the newsletter image in the right column of our website and filling in the information. If you received a copy but didn’t want one, there is a link at the bottom of the newsletter so you can unsubscribe. Our intention is to get the word out about upcoming events and not to spam people. We will protect your privacy by not sharing our email list with others. Don’t forget to like us on Facebooklike our new Sitka Farmers Market page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@SitkaLocalFoods).

Do you care about local food in Sitka? The Sitka Local Foods Network needs you on its board

The 2017 Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors and St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm lead gardener. Back row, from left, Tiffany Justice (treasurer), Ben Timby (secretary, now vice president), Sam Pointer (director, no longer on board) and Charles Bingham (president/communications director). Front row, from left, Nina Vizcarrondo (secretary/farmers market manager), Laura Schmidt (lead gardener), Jennifer Carter (vice president, no longer on board).

Are you enjoying the fresh local veggies at the Sitka Farmers Market this summer? Did you take any of our garden education classes this spring? Are you concerned about increasing access to local food for all Sitka residents?

Please consider joining the board of directors for the Sitka Local Foods Network to help us pursue our mission to increase the amount of locally produced and harvested food in the diets of Southeast Alaskans. We need more board members in order to keep running our programs, especially since we recently found out two of our current board members will be resigning at the end of the summer. We really need people to step up and join the board.

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 during our monthly meetings, board members also serve on at least one committee supporting at our three main projects of the Sitka Farmers Market, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, and garden education and mentoring. We also hope to help with the Sitka Community Gardens project as we look for a new location now that Blatchley Community Garden has been closed. In addition, some board members have supported other local foods projects in Sitka, such as the Sitka Kitch, Let’s Grow Sitka, the Sick-A-Waste compost project, the Sitka Community Food Assessment project, Sitka Fish-To-Schools, other school education projects and more.

To apply for a spot on the board, please fill out the application linked below and submit it to sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.org. For more information, please email us. Please note this is a working board, and our group is evolving and maturing as we try to raise funds to hire staff. Board terms are for three years, with three seats up for reapplication each winter.

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). We need volunteers to help with the upcoming Sitka Farmers Market, helping our lead gardener at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, and helping us teach gardening classes or working with our garden mentor program families.

Our board usually meets once every 4-6 weeks, but we currently don’t have our next meeting scheduled. We try to keep our dates consistent within the month, but we sometimes will move our meetings to avoid conflicts with board member schedules, venue schedules and to insure a quorum. All of our board meetings are open to the public.

Click here for a copy of the Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors job description. Click here for a copy of the board application.

Sitka Kitch to host fermentation workshop with Sandor Katz on July 9

Sandor Katz, author of Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods, is a nationally recognized food writer and fermentation guru. He will be traveling through Southeast Alaska (Sitka, Juneau, Haines, and Gustavus) to offer community education and workshops about the fermentation of vegetables.

Sandor’s trip to Southeast Alaska includes a fermentation workshop from 5:30-8 p.m. on Monday, July 9, at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen (505 Sawmill Creek Road, inside First Presbyterian Church). This class costs $15 per student, and is sponsored by SEARHC, with hopes of making community food education accessible to all. There is no food/supply fee for this class.

Join this hands-on fermentation workshop with a true fermentation expert to learn how to ferment vegetables at home easily and safely to create a delicious, nutrient-packed superfood.

The workshop will include:
  • a discussion of “what is fermentation?”
  • why fermentation is practiced worldwide
  • the many practical benefits of fermentation
  • functional concepts about fermentation
  • instruction on how to make sauerkraut with a variety of vegetables
  • information about what to do with sauerkraut at home and how long to store it
  • troubleshooting any problems with home fermentation

Students will leave with their own jar of kraut, plus a wealth of knowledge on safe home fermentation practices.

Note: Please bring a chef’s knife and vegetable grater if you have them. Some knives and graters will be provided if students don’t bring these supplies from home.

Class space is limited, so register early. The registration deadline is 11 p.m. on Saturday, July 7.

Register online at https://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com (click on the class title) and pre-pay using credit/debit cards or PayPal. To pre-pay by cash or check, contact Chandler, Claire, or Clarice at 747-7509 to arrange payment. For more information about the class, contact Holly at 966-8938 or holly.marban@searhc.org.

This is one of several classes hosted by the Sitka Kitch this summer. The Sitka Kitch will host a rescheduled Starting A Cottage Foods Business class from noon until 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 13, at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus. There will be a Rambunctious Rhubarb class with Lisa Sadleir-Hart from 6-8:30 p.m. on Monday, June 25, at the Sitka Kitch. The Sitka Kitch also will host a three-class Baking With Betsy series from 6-8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, July 3 (savory breads), July 10 (sweet breads), and July 17 (baking with alternative sweeteners), at the Sitka Kitch. We’re also waiting to hear details on a couple of other potential classes later this summer, so watch for updates.

Sitka Kitch hosts Rambunctious Rhubarb class with Lisa Sadleir-Hart on June 25

Looking for fun and creative ways to use your surplus of rhubarb?

Sitka health educator and registered dietitian Lisa Sadleir-Hart will offer her Rambunctious Rhubarb: Creative Ways to Use Rhubarb class again this summer. The class takes place from 6-8:30 p.m. on Monday, June 25, at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen, which is located at 505 Sawmill Creek Road (inside First Presbyterian Church).

Last year this class was offered as part of the Sitka Kitch‘s Preserving the Harvest class series, but this year it’s a standalone class. For examples of possible lessons, in last year’s class students learned how to make a curried rhubarb lentils dish (served over rice), a rhubarb chutney, a jalapeño rhubarb chutney, rhubarb pickles, rhubarb ketchup, and a rhubarb salsa.

Class space is limited, so register early. This class costs $27.50 per person, plus a food/supply fee split between the registered students. The registration deadline is 11 p.m. on Saturday, June 23.

Register online at https://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com (click on the class title) and pre-pay using credit/debit cards or PayPal. To pre-pay by cash or check, contact Chandler, Claire, or Clarice at 747-7509 to arrange payment. For more information about the class, contact Lisa at 747-5985.

This is one of several classes hosted by the Sitka Kitch this summer. The Sitka Kitch will host a rescheduled Starting A Cottage Foods Business class from noon until 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 13, at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus. The Sitka Kitch also will host a three-class Baking With Betsy series from 6-8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, July 3 (savory breads), July 10 (sweet breads), and July 17 (baking with alternative sweeteners), at the Sitka Kitch. We’re also waiting to hear details on a couple of other potential classes this summer, so watch for updates.

Sitka Kitch to host rescheduled Starting a Cottage Foods Business class at UAS Sitka Campus

Learn what the basics of starting and running a cottage foods business as Sarah Lewis teaches students students how to Start a Cottage Foods Business from noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 13, in Room 106 at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus.

This class was originally scheduled for April 14 at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen, but was canceled due to problems on the Juneau end where the class will be taught. This was the seventh class of the Seasonal Cooking class series this spring at the Sitka Kitch.

Sarah Lewis — the home, health and family development agent for the Juneau office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service — will teach this class by videoconference from Juneau. Students will learn about state laws regarding home food businesses, and get ideas for businesses you might take to the Sitka Farmers Market or local trade shows.

The class fee is $10, and there is no supply fee for students in Sitka. Class space is limited, so register early. The registration deadline for this class is 11 p.m. on Monday, June 11. The Sitka Local Foods Network is offering students of this class half off their Sitka Farmers Market vendor fee for the first market of the season where they host a table. Representatives from the Sitka Local Foods Network/Sitka Farmers Market and the Sitka food safety office of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation are planning to attend so they can answer any questions potential cottage foods business owners may have.

Register online at https://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com/ (click on class title) and pre-pay using credit/debit cards or PayPal. To pre-pay by cash or check, contact Chandler, Claire, or Clarice at 747-7509 to arrange payment. For more information about the class series, contact Jasmine at 747-9440.

Scenes from the final Seasonal Cooking class: Puerto Rican Cooking With Nina Vizcarrondo at the Sitka Kitch

Students learned how to make a variety of dishes during the Puerto Rican Cooking With Nina Vizcarrondo class on Wednesday, May 2, at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen. This was the eighth and final class of the Seasonal Cooking class series at the Sitka Kitch.

Nina is a former U.S. Coast Guard chef and is the current Sitka Farmers Market manager. She taught students how to make sofrito, a guava paste/cheese appetizer, yucca, bacalaitos (featuring desalted cod or pollock), pastellilo de carne (similar to an empanada with a meat filling), arroz con gandules (rice, African pigeon peas, and veggies), piña coladas (non-alcoholic), and flan.

While this was the final class in the Seasonal Cooking series, the Sitka Kitch recently announced a Baking With Betsy class series over three consecutive Tuesdays in July. Professional baker and culinary arts instructor Betsy Peterson Sanchez, who will be visiting her daughter Claire in Sitka, will lead the three classes.

The classes in the Baking With Betsy series are:

Class space is limited, so register early. The Baking With Betsy classes cost $27.50 per person, plus a food/supply fee split between the registered students. Thanks to a donation from Sea Mart Quality Foods, we should be able to reduce the food/supply fees for this series.

Register online at https://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com/ (click on class title) and pre-pay using credit/debit cards or PayPal. To pre-pay by cash or check, contact Chandler, Claire, or Clarice at 747-7509 to arrange payment. For more information about the class series, contact Jasmine at 747-9440. Space is limited in each class, and we need at least eight students registered to make the class happen. The registration deadline is 11 p.m. on the Saturday before each class.

A slideshow of scenes from the Puerto Rican cooking class is posted below.

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