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

GreensInHoopHouseStPeters

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 to host memorial potluck for former board member Lynnda Strong

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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.

• Help the Sitka Local Foods Network education committee brainstorm ideas for a 2016 Sitka garden tour

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St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm Lead Gardener Laura Schmidt, right, shows off the garden to members of the International Master Gardeners Conference cruise that toured Sitka in September 2013.

Do you have a food garden in Sitka you love to show off? Do you have a friend or neighbor who always seems to be growing lots of fresh veggies and fruit?

The Sitka Local Foods Network education committee invites you to a meeting to brainstorm ideas for a possible food garden tour of Sitka in the summer of 2016 or 2017. The meeting will take place from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 2, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street).

Bring your ideas and help us come up with a plan for a garden tour. For more information, contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520.

• It’s time to … plant your potatoes with a free workshop on April 12

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The Sitka Local Foods Network reminds you that it’s time to get out in the garden and plant your potatoes.

Potatoes are some of the most productive and easy-to-grow vegetables in Sitka. Michelle Putz will present a free, hands-on potato-planting workshop at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 12, at 131 Shelikof Way. Parking space is limited, so please consider walking, riding your bike or carpooling. More information is available by calling Michelle at 747-2708.

Also, the next meeting of the Sitka Local Foods Network education committee is from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, 408 Marine Street (parking off Spruce Street). We will be brainstorming ideas for upcoming classes, and we welcome local gardeners who want to teach classes to join our list of educators. Just give us a topic, best date and time, and we can help you find a venue.

For more information about Sitka Local Foods Network education classes, contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520 or 1-850-491-2666 (cell), or Michelle Putz at 747-2708. This is one of the many free classes being offered this year by the Sitka Local Foods Network education committee. Click here to get a full list of our upcoming spring classes.

• It’s time to … learn how to start your seeds for your spring vegetable garden

Spring 2014 plant starts in Sitka gardener Keith Nyitray's Finn Island Farm greenhouse.

Spring 2014 plant starts in Sitka gardener Keith Nyitray’s Finn Island Farm greenhouse.

It’s the end of March, which means many people in Sitka are already planning their spring vegetable gardens. While it’s still too early to plant most crops outdoors, this is the perfect time to start some seeds indoors to you can transplant them into your garden in May.

april-5-seeds-2011-012The Sitka Local Foods Network is offering two free classes this spring about starting seeds. Both classes will be limited in size, so preregistration is required. Click here to check out the radio PSA.

The first one will be taught by Jennifer Carter, and it takes place from 6:30-8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. In this class, which is limited to 15 people, participants will learn how to mix seed-starting soil (potting soil usually is too rich for seedlings), and they will plant a few seeds to take home and grow.

The second class will be taught by longtime Sitka gardener Linda Wilson at 2 p.m. at her home. This class will be limited to 8-10 people, and you will receive the address when you call Michelle Putz or Jennifer Carter (see numbers below) to preregister.

Also, the next meeting of the Sitka Local Foods Network education committee is from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, 408 Marine Street (parking off Spruce Street). We will be brainstorming ideas for upcoming classes, and we welcome local gardeners who want to teach classes to join our list of educators. Just give us a topic, best date and time, and we can help you find a venue.

For more information about Sitka Local Foods Network education classes, contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520 or 1-850-491-2666 (cell), or Michelle Putz at 747-2708. These are two of the many free classes being offered this year by the Sitka Local Foods Network education committee. Click here to get a full list of our upcoming spring classes.

• It’s time to … learn about how to raise chickens (March 25) and rabbits (April 8)

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Bobbi Daniels of The Sawmill Farm grooms one of the rabbits she raises for yarn.

 

ChickensInCompostFor more than a year, the Sitka Local Foods Network has offered a variety of free garden education classes. Now we’re adding livestock classes as Bobbi Daniels of The Sawmill Farm has offered to teach Raising Chickens 101 and Raising Rabbits 101.

The Raising Chickens 101 class is from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking on Spruce Street). The Raising Rabbits 101 class is 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall. Click here to check out the radio PSA.

“I am planning on tailoring the classes to who shows up (new chicken owners vs. those considering chickens) so it will go according to who is there and what they need to know, taking questions and sharing resources,” Bobbi said. “If people have something specific they want me to cover, they can message me on Facebook or call me 738-4481.”

The chicken class will cover a range of topics, including what breeds are best for eggs or meat, basic chicken coop info, how to prevent predators from getting into your flock, what types of feed you need, the advantages of chicken coop co-ops, the best time to get your chicks, etc. The rabbit class will cover topics such as what breeds are best for meat or yarn, rabbit feed types, how long it takes rabbits to reach maturity, how much cage space you need, etc.

These classes are free and open to all Sitka residents wanting to learn about chickens and rabbits. For more information about Sitka Local Foods Network education classes, contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520 or 1-850-491-2666 (cell), or Michelle Putz at 747-2708. These are two of the many free classes being offered this year by the Sitka Local Foods Network education committee. Click here to get a full list of our upcoming spring classes.

• It’s time to … learn how to rebuild soil nutrients with the Everyone Can Compost class March 4

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One of the problems with gardening in Sitka is the frequent rain washes a variety of nutrients out of the soil. Composting your kitchen scraps is a great way to rebuild the nutrients in your soil, but many people aren’t sure where to start.

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host the free class Everyone Can Compost from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street).

This class will teach Sitka gardeners why people compost, the mechanics of composting, and what to compost. It also will show you what you need for your kitchen to collect scraps, and how to set up a compost box outside if you have a large space (or how to compost when you live in an apartment). In addition to providing fresh nutrients for your garden soil, composting is a good way to track your food waste.

“We will present the class in a way so you can personally adapt composting to your situation,” teacher Jennifer Carter said.

This class is free and open to all Sitka residents wanting to learn how simple it is to compost. For more information, contact Jennifer at 747-0520. It also is one of many free classes being offered this year by the Sitka Local Foods Network education committee. Click here to get a full list of our upcoming spring classes.

• It’s time to … mark your calendars and get ready for spring with these garden and livestock education classes

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Thinking about your garden, especially with our warm winter? It’s time to mark your calendars with several upcoming Spring 2015 garden classes offered by the Sitka Local Foods Network Education Committee.

GreensInHoopHouseStPetersThese free classes will cover a variety of topics, from gardening basics and choosing what veggies to grow in Sitka to learning about fruit tree pruning, composting and seed-starting. But wait, there’s more. We recently added classes on raising chickens and rabbits. Some of the classes have limited space and require preregistration, so sign up early.

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:

  • Everyone Can Compost — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, March 4, Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street), teacher Jennifer Carter, no preregistration required.
  • Fruit Tree Pruning Basics Workshop — 10 a.m., Saturday, March 7, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm (behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church), teacher Jud Kirkness, no preregistration required.
  • Growing and Fertilizing Rhubarb — 11 a.m., Saturday, March 14, at the home of Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz (131 Shelikof), teachers Perry Edwards and Michelle Putz, no preregistration required.
  • Raising Chickens 101 — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, March 25, Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street), teacher Bobbi Daniels, no preregistration required.
  • Starting Vegetable Seedlings Workshop — 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 31, Harrigan Centennial Hall, teacher Jennifer Carter, learn how to start seedlings and go home with a tray of planted seeds, class limited to 15 people, preregistration required.
  • Raising Rabbits 101 — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, April 8, Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street), teacher Bobbi Daniels, no preregistration required.
  • Seed-Starting Basics — 2 p.m., Saturday, April 11, call for location (Michelle Putz, 747-2708), teacher Linda Wilson, class limited to 8-10 people, preregistration required.

We had 55 people attend our first two classes in January and February, kicking off a year-long series of education events on a variety of topics related to vegetable gardening, livestock, and food preservation in Sitka. Our garden mentor program classes also will be open to the public, once they start in April.

For more information or to sign up for classes requiring preregistration, contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520 or 1-850-491-2666 (cell), or Michelle Putz at 747-2708.

• Spring 2015 garden education classes from the Sitka Local Foods Network (opens as PDF)

• Sitka Local Foods Network garden education classes for Winter/Spring 2015 get strong launch

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The first two classes from the Winter/Spring 2015 schedule of the Sitka Local Foods Network Education Committee are in the books and more than 50 students attended. The Vegetable Gardening 101 class on Jan. 27 had 33 people in attendance, while the Choosing What Veggies to Grow in Sitka class on Feb. 3 had 22 students.

These classes show Sitka has a hunger for learning more about how to grow and raise its own food, and we’re hoping to offer a wide variety of classes that help accomplish that goal. Our next class is Everyone Can Compost, taught by Jennifer Carter at 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking is off Spruce Street). Other upcoming classes include Fruit Tree Pruning Basics on March 7, Growing and Fertilizing Rhubarb on March 14, Starting Vegetable Seedlings on on March 31, and Seed-Starting Basics on April 11. The full schedule is attached, and the link above has more details.

We also are looking for more teachers who feel comfortable teaching an aspect of gardening they know well and is suited for Sitka. If you think you can teach a class, please contact Michelle Putz at 747-2708 or michelleputzfood@yahoo.com. Below are handouts related to the first two classes, plus a slideshow of photos from the first class.

• Winter/Spring 2015 garden education classes from the Sitka Local Foods Network (opens as PDF)

• Vegetable Gardening 101 Handout

• Vegetable Garden Varieties for Southeast Alaska (from UAF Cooperative Extension Service)

• Vegetable Gardening in Southeast Alaska (from UAF Cooperative Extension Service)

• Raised-Bed Gardening in Alaska (from UAF Cooperative Extension Service)

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• Scenes from the Sitka Local Foods Network’s annual meeting and potluck dinner

Thanks to those who attended the Sitka Local Foods Network’s annual meeting and potluck on Jan. 24 at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall. We ate some good food, elected board officers, and received an update on the past year’s activities and plans for this year. Here are a few scenes from the event.

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