Sitka Local Foods Network to launch informal garden club for Sitka gardeners on July 15

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Do you grow vegetables or fruit or want to? Would you like to meet and learn from other gardeners in Sitka and visit their gardens?

Then come to Sitka Local Foods Network’s first informal, unofficial Garden Club meeting from 7-9 p.m. on Friday, July 15, at 131 Shelikof Way. This is a chance for Sitka gardeners to share successes and discuss problems they may be having with their gardens.

Perry Edwards and Michelle Putz will share their garden and homemade wine (if you are older than 21). Participants will decide the next location and club meeting date (so bring your calendars). If parking looks tight, please walk up from SeaMart. For more information, contact Michelle at 747-2708.

Second batch of classes set for 2016 Sitka Local Foods Network garden mentor program

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DSCN0387The second batch of classes (Classes Three and Four) for the 2016 Sitka Local Foods Network garden mentor program are being set for our two participating first-year families and our three returning second-year families. The classes will be similar at each location, and they are open to the public.

Class Three is about garden maintenance, while Class Four is about early harvest. Class One focused on site selection, garden preparation, building planter beds, simple vegetables and soil preparation, while Class Two was about simple vegetables and planting. There are six classes in the series, with Class Five about the final harvest and Class Six about preparing the garden for winter.

Our first-year gardener families (Erin Mathes and Fran Baratki), learn how to grow four hardy crops for Sitka — kale, lettuce, potatoes and rhubarb. Our three returning families (A.J. Bastian, Rebecca Kubacki and Breezy) will be planting carrots, chard, green onions and peas this year. These four crops are slightly more difficult crops to grow that our first-year plantings of kale, lettuce, potatoes and rhubarb. Even though the crops for our second-year students are more difficult to grow, many gardeners in Sitka still have good results with these vegetables. These classes are essentially the same, so feel free to attend the Class 3 or Class 4 that best fits your schedule.

The class schedule and location for the one first-year and three second-year families is (some classes still need to be scheduled and will be announced later):

 

  • ERIN MATTHES (first-year family), 716 Etolin Street — CLASS 3: 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 2; CLASS 2: 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21.
  • FRAN BARATKI (first-year family), 180 Price Street, No. 6 (purple trailer) — CLASS 3:  7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31; CLASS 4: TBA.
  • A.J. BASTIAN (second-year family), 207 Brady St. — CLASS 3: TBA; CLASS 4: TBA.
  • REBECCA KUBACKI (second-year family), 1202 Halibut Point Rd. — CLASS 3: 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1; CLASS 4: 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 22.
  • BREEZY (second-year family), 616 Sawmill Creek Rd. — CLASS 3: 5 p.m. on Monday, June 6; CLASS 4: 5 p.m. on Monday, June 27.

This is the third year of the garden mentor program, which provides one-to-one mentoring to families who are trying to garden for the first time. In order to reach more people, our participating families allow the classes to be made public. By teaching families the basics of gardening, we are helping them improve their family nutrition, extend their family food budget, and increase food security in Sitka.

Michelle Putz has been contracted to coordinate the program and design lesson plans. We also have about a half-dozen experienced Sitka gardeners who serve as mentors for the program. For more information, please contact Michelle at 747-2708.

First two classes set for 2016 Sitka Local Foods Network garden mentor program

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Rebecca Kubacki and her family after planting their garden bed in 2015.

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Breezy and her family after planting their garden bed in 2015.

The first two classes for the 2016 Sitka Local Foods Network garden mentor program have been set for our two participating first-year families and our three returning second-year families. The classes will be similar at each location, and they are open to the public. (Note: This post has been updated with our second first-year family and a new time on one of the other classes.)

For our first-year families, the first class will focus on site selection, garden preparation, building planter beds, simple vegetables and soil preparation. The second class will be about simple vegetables and planting. Our first-year gardener families (Erin Mathes and Fran Baratki), learn how to grow four hardy crops for Sitka — kale, lettuce, potatoes and rhubarb.

Our three returning families (A.J. Bastian, Rebecca Kubacki and Breezy) will be planting carrots, chard, green onions and peas this year.These four crops are slightly more difficult crops to grow that our first-year plantings of kale, lettuce, potatoes and rhubarb. Even though the crops for our second-year students are more difficult to grow, many gardeners in Sitka still have good results with these vegetables. These classes are essentially the same, so feel free to attend the Class 1 and Class 2 that best fits your schedule.

The class schedule and location for the one first-year and three second-year families is:

  • Erin Matthes (first-year family), 716 Etolin Street — CLASS 1: 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27; CLASS 2: 3 p.m. on Monday, May 9.
  • Fran Baratki (first-year family), 180 Price Street, No. 6 (purple trailer) — CLASS 1:  Done; CLASS 2: 4:30 p.m. on Monday, May 9.
  • A.J. Bastian, 207 Brady St. — CLASS 1: Done; CLASS 2: 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 28.
  • Rebecca Kubacki, 1202 Halibut Point Rd. — CLASS 1: Done; CLASS 2: 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 2.
  • Breezy, 616 Sawmill Creek Rd. — CLASS 1: 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 28; CLASS 2: 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 5.

This is the third year of the garden mentor program, which provides one-to-one mentoring to families who are trying to garden for the first time. In order to reach more people, our participating families allow the classes to be made public. By teaching families the basics of gardening, we are helping them improve their family nutrition, extend their family food budget, and increase food security in Sitka.

Michelle Putz has been contracted to coordinate the program and design lesson plans. We also have about a half-dozen experienced Sitka gardeners who serve as mentors for the program. For more information, please contact Michelle at 747-2708.

Sitka Local Foods Network seeks two coordinators for our garden mentoring education program

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IMG_0004The Sitka Local Foods Network is looking to contract with two Sitka residents to coordinate our garden mentoring education program. This year we’re splitting up the duties, so one of the coordinators will work with our returning families and the other will work with our new families (and be paid slightly more).

These contracts run from spring through fall 2016, and the coordinators will be in charge of developing curricula, teaching classes, obtaining supplies, and providing evaluation of the program. A full list of job duties and expectations can be found in the linked document at the bottom of this article.

Applicants should have at least 3-5 years of varied vegetable gardening experience, preferably in Southeast Alaska. They also should have 3-5 years of project coordination experience, as well as demonstrated communication, organizational, and teaching/mentoring skills.

100_8734BastianKidsThe garden mentoring project began in 2014 when two families of first-time gardeners were chosen to receive help planning and building a simple garden to grow four relatively easy plants for Sitka (kale, rhubarb, potatoes, lettuce). In 2015, the program was expanded to provide mentoring service to four new first-time gardening families, plus the two families from 2014 will receive a second year of mentoring as they learn to grow plants that are a bit more difficult for Sitka (carrots, peas, chard, green onions).

There are six classes with each family, and they usually are open to the public. In 2016, we expect three returning families and three new families (one of our first-year families from last year asked to repeat as a first-year family this year).

Applicants should submit a letter of interest and resume by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 8, to sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com. Please put “Garden Mentor Coordinator” in your email subject line. The contracts pay in three installments over the summer. Questions about the contracts can be directed to sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com.

• 2016 SLFN garden mentoring coordinator contract information

• It’s time to … learn how to grow your own food this spring with the Sitka Local Foods Network

 

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Thinking about your garden, especially with our warm winter weather? It’s time to mark your calendars with several upcoming Spring 2016 garden classes offered by the Sitka Local Foods Network Education Committee.

GreensInHoopHouseStPetersThese classes will cover a variety of topics, from gardening basics and choosing what veggies to grow in Sitka to extending your gardening season, composting and seed-starting. But wait, there’s more. There’s also a class on abundant landscaping, plus classes on growing rhubarb and potatoes. Some of the classes have limited space and require preregistration, so sign up early. Most of the classes are free, but we accept donations. There is one class on starting seeds with a minimal materials fee, but you’ll take some plant starts home.

We already hosted two classes (on vegetable gardening 101 and choosing what veggies to grow in Sitka), but there still are several classes coming up this spring. We will be adding more classes to this list as they become available, so check the website for updates. We plan to post individual class announcements as we get closer to the actual class dates.

And now, here’s the list of classes so far:

  • Extending Your Gardening Season — 10 a.m., Saturday, March 19, at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof Way), teacher Kerry MacLane, the class will explore various methods for protecting your plants and lengthening the growing season, no preregistration required. (NOTE: THE DATE AND TIME OF THIS CLASS HAS BEEN CHANGED FROM WHAT ORIGINALLY WAS ANNOUNCED.)
  • Starting Vegetable Seedlings Workshop — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, March 23, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce Street), teacher Jennifer Carter, learn how to start seedlings and go home with a tray of planted seeds, space limited, $10 materials fee, preregistration required.
  • Abundant Landscaping — 2 p.m., Saturday, April 2,  at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce St.), teacher Jud Kirkness, a hands-on approach to the “nine-layer forest garden” methodology, no preregistration required.
  • Growing and Fertilizing Rhubarb — 9 a.m., Saturday, April 9, at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof), teacher Michelle Putz, no preregistration required.
  • Everyone Can Compost — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, April 20, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce Street), teacher Jennifer Carter, learn the basics of composting your own soil, no preregistration required.
  • Growing Potatoes In Sitka — 9 a.m., Saturday, April 23,  at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof), teacher Michelle Putz, no preregistration required.

In addition, we’ll be launching our new downtown teaching garden as we get closer to growing season and all of those classes will be open to the public. Feel free to help the Sitka Local Foods Network education committee plan new programming at its next monthly meeting, from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street).

For more information or to sign up for classes requiring preregistration, contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520 or 1-850-491-2666 (cell).

• Spring 2016 garden education classes from the Sitka Local Foods Network (opens as PDF)

• It’s time … get ready for spring vegetable gardening with classes from the Sitka Local Foods Network

SLFNSpringGardenClasses2016

Thinking about your garden, especially with our warm winter weather? It’s time to mark your calendars with several upcoming Spring 2016 garden classes offered by the Sitka Local Foods Network Education Committee.

GreensInHoopHouseStPetersThese classes will cover a variety of topics, from gardening basics and choosing what veggies to grow in Sitka to extending your gardening season, composting and seed-starting. But wait, there’s more. There’s also a class on abundant landscaping, plus classes on growing rhubarb and potatoes. Some of the classes have limited space and require preregistration, so sign up early. Most of the classes are free, but we accept donations. There is one class with a minimal materials fee.

We will be adding more classes to this list as they become available, so check the website for updates. We plan to post individual class announcements as we get closer to the actual class dates.

And now, here’s the list of classes so far:

  • Vegetable Gardening 101 — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 27, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce St.), teacher Michelle Putz, class tailored for beginning gardeners, no preregistration required.
  • Choosing What Veggies to Grow in Sitka — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 10, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce St.), teacher Lori Adams, class tailored for beginning gardeners or gardeners new to Sitka, no preregistration required.
  • Extending Your Gardening Season — 2 p.m., Saturday, March 12, at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof Way), teacher Kerry MacLane, the class will explore various methods for protecting your plants and lengthening the growing season, no preregistration required.
  • Starting Vegetable Seedlings Workshop — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, March 23, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce Street), teacher Jennifer Carter, learn how to start seedlings and go home with a tray of planted seeds, space limited, $10 materials fee, preregistration required.
  • Abundant Landscaping — 2 p.m., Saturday, April 2,  at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce St.), teacher Jud Kirkness, a hands-on approach to the “9-layer forest garden” methodology, no preregistration required.
  • Growing and Fertilizing Rhubarb — 9 a.m., Saturday, April 9, at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof), teacher Michelle Putz, no preregistration required.
  • Everyone Can Compost — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, April 20, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce Street), teacher Jennifer Carter, learn the basics of composting your own soil, no preregistration required.
  • Growing Potatoes In Sitka — 9 a.m., Saturday, April 23,  at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof), teacher Michelle Putz, no preregistration required.

In addition, we’ll be launching our new downtown teaching garden as we get closer to growing season and all of those classes will be open to the public. Feel free to help the Sitka Local Foods Network education committee plan new programming at its next monthly meeting, from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street).

For more information or to sign up for classes requiring preregistration, contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520 or 1-850-491-2666 (cell).

• Spring 2016 garden education classes from the Sitka Local Foods Network (opens as PDF)

• Sitka Local Foods Network education committee to meet on Thursday, Jan. 28

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The Sitka Local Foods Network education committee will host its monthly meeting from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking is off Spruce Street).

During this meeting we will go over our spring schedule of gardening classes, select our new garden mentor program families, get updates on our new downtown teaching garden program, get an update on upcoming Sitka Kitch cooking classes, and look into other educational opportunities we can offer in Sitka (such as a garden tour or local foods directory).

This meeting is open to the public and all are invited. We also need volunteers who can help with our classes. For more information, contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520.

• Sitka Local Foods Network to host education brainstorming session on Dec. 3

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Are you an experienced gardener who might be willing to help teach a class about growing food in Sitka? Maybe you’ll let people tour your garden? We might even start a Sitka Garden Club.

Join the Sitka Local Foods Network education committee for a brainstorming session as we try and come up with education activities for the upcoming year. We’ll meet from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street).

For more information, contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520.

• Sitka Local Foods Network education committee seeks new families for garden mentor program

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For a third straight year (2015-16), the Sitka Local Foods Network (SLFN) education committee wants to help families in Sitka learn how easy it can be to grow some of their own food. We are looking for up to three families who would like to learn about and try vegetable gardening in their own backyard through our Family Garden Mentor project.

Through a series of six workshops to be held at the families’ homes, Sitka Local Foods Network education committee volunteers will help the families:

  • Choose a location for a vegetable bed (learning about sun, drainage, etc.),
  • Build (or find) a planter/container or raised bed, and acquire soil and soil amendments,
  • Learn about soil and prepare the soil for planting,
  • Plant 2-4 easy-to-grow plants — specifically potatoes, lettuce, kale, and maybe a perennial edible such as rhubarb or fruit bushes,
  • Learn to take care of their plants over the summer — teaching how to care for and pick the vegetables (without killing the plant),
  • Harvest potatoes, and
  • Cook a meal using the vegetables they have grown.

IMG_0005The Sitka Local Foods Network will provide all materials — soil, lumber, seeds, etc. — free to the participating families. Families will be expected to provide the labor, enthusiasm for gardening, and healthy appetites to eat the vegetables they grow.

The requirement to own your property or home was dropped in 2015, and people who rent now are participating through container gardening. Interested families must meet only three requirements:

  1. They must be first-time vegetable gardeners (this project is meant to help people who are just starting to garden, not people with previous experience, even if it was not in Alaska),
  2. They must want to try vegetable gardening and be committed to participating throughout the summer, and
  3. They must agree to let others come and attend classes at their property.

Other criteria, such as availability and interest in a second year of mentoring, will also be used to help select the final three families. Families that are not selected will be placed on a waiting list in the hope of future continuation and expansion of this project.

IMG_0751The Sitka Local Foods Network has expanded the program this year to include more families and to include at least two households living in rental housing that will garden in portable containers or planters appropriately sized for their space (in case moving is necessary). We also will offer a second year of mentoring to previous participants, so families can expand their knowledge and try growing more “difficult” vegetables, such as carrots, green onions, chard and peas.

IMG_0022Workshops may start as early as this fall or winter with selecting the garden site, ramp up in the spring of 2016 and run through September’s late harvest. First-year classes will focus on the easiest-to-grow vegetables (and fruit) in Sitka — potatoes, lettuce, kale, and rhubarb.

Families interested in participating in the 2016 program should contact Michelle Putz at 747-2708 before Jan. 15, and provide a name, address, and contact phone number.

A slideshow of scenes from our first two years of the family garden mentoring program is posted below.

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• Sitka Local Foods Network seeks a coordinator for our new downtown garden education program

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UnitedWayOfSoutheastAlaskaLogoThe Sitka Local Foods Network is looking to contract with a Sitka resident to coordinate our new downtown garden education program. We recently received a 2015 community impact grant from the United Way of Southeast Alaska to develop this program, which we hope to launch in 2016 at a space next to Baranof Elementary School.

This contract run from November 2015 through fall 2016, and the coordinator will be in charge of developing curricula, teaching classes, obtaining supplies, and providing evaluation of the program. A full list of job duties and expectations can be found in the linked document at the bottom of this article.

Applicants should have at least 3-5 years of varied vegetable gardening experience, preferably in Southeast Alaska. They also should have 3-5 years of project coordination experience, as well as demonstrated communication, organizational, and teaching/mentoring skills.

This new program is modeled after our successful garden mentoring project, but instead of having garden mentors go out to beginning gardeners’ homes to provide instruction this new program will be taught at a centralized teaching garden next to Baranof Elementary School. The person who wins this contract will develop curricula (there is some curricula already available from the garden mentoring program), will prepare the garden plots, and will teach at least one class for adults and one class for kids every two weeks through the spring and summer.

The garden mentoring project began in 2014 when two families of first-time gardeners were chosen to receive help planning and building a simple garden to grow four relatively easy plants for Sitka (kale, rhubarb, potatoes, lettuce). In 2015 the program expanded to provide mentoring service to four new first-time gardening families, plus the two families from 2014 received a second year of mentoring as they learn a few more difficult to grow plants (such as carrots). There are six classes with each family, and they usually are open to the public.

Applicants should submit a letter of interest and resume by Wednesday, Oct. 21, to sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com. Please put “SLFN Downtown Garden Education Coordinator” in your email subject line. The contract pays $1,070 total, in three installments of $350 for the first two payments in February and April, and $370 for the final payment at the end of August.

Questions about the contract can be directed to Michelle Putz at 747-2708 or to Maybelle Filler at 738-1982, or send an email to sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com.

• SLFN downtown garden education coordinator contract information