Scenes from the Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit held Feb. 15-17

Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit event organizer Jennifer Nu (Juneau), far right, introduces the members of the planning committee after the final session on Sunday. From left are Colin Peacock (Juneau), Lori Adams (Sitka), Joe Orsi (Juneau), Bo Varsano (Petersburg), Marja Smets (Petersburg), Andrea Fraga (Sitka) and Laura Schmidt (Sitka).

The 2019 Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit came to Sitka last week, with events Feb. 15-17 at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp’s Sweetland Hall and downtown at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

Started in 2015 in Petersburg as a way to bring the farmers and commercial food and flower growers in Southeast Alaska together, the Summit provides them with a forum to discuss what works and doesn’t work in their communities. The Summit takes place every other year, and in 2017 it was in Haines.

A variety of small farms around the region made presentations about how they grow food. There also was a vendor showcase and educational talks by farmers from outside the region.

The event was organized by Jennifer Nu and Colin Peacock of the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition out of Juneau, with support from the Sitka Local Foods Network, Sitka Kitch, Sitka Food Co-Op, and other groups.

A slideshow of scenes from the Summit is posted below.

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Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training to take place Feb. 18 in conjunction with Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit

The State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Office of the State Veterinarian is hosting a Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 18, in the Raven Conference Room at the Aspen Suites Hotel in Sitka (210 Lake Street). This course is being held in conjunction with the Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit, which takes place on Feb. 15-17 at various locations around Sitka.

This FDA-approved course satisfies the Grower Training curriculum requirements under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.

There is no charge for class participants. Funding is provided by an FDA-State of Alaska Cooperative Agreement. Growers will receive a free certificate of attendance for completing the course.

Who should register for this course? Commercial fruit & vegetable growers, farmers market vendors, and all others interested in learning about produce safety, the FDA Produce Safety Rule, and good agricultural practices should attend. Participants will gain a basic understanding of:

  • Microorganisms relevant to produce safety and where they may be found on the farm;
  • How to identify microbial risks, practices that reduce risks, and how to begin implementing food safety practices on your farm; and
  • Requirements of the FDA Produce Safety Rule and how to meet them.

This class covers these seven modules:

  • Introduction to Produce Safety;
  • Worker Health, Hygiene, and Training;
  • Soil Amendments;
  • Wildlife, Domesticated Animals, and Land Use;
  • AgriculturalWater (Part I: Production Water; Part II: Postharvest Water);
  • Postharvest Handling and Sanitation; and
  • How to Develop a Farm Food Safety Plan

This course is being held in conjunction with the Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit, which has early bird registration deals that end on Dec. 31 (after Jan. 1, the price goes up). This event is hosted by the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition and the Sustainable Southeast Partnership.

To register for the course or for more information, contact Barbara Hanson at the DEC Office of the State Veterinarian at (907) 375-8278 or barbara.hanson@alaska.gov.

Early registration deadline is Dec. 31 for Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit in Sitka

The Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit will be in Sitka on Feb. 15-17, and the early registration deadline is Dec. 31. After that, the price goes up.

This event takes place every other year in various locations around Southeast Alaska (2015 in Petersburg, 2017 in Haines), and it provides a chance for farmers and backyard gardeners to meet and learn ways to make their businesses more profitable and efficient. More program details can be found at the event’s main link.

Early bird registration currently is available through Dec. 31 on the summit website at $40 per person, with the price rising to $60 after Jan. 1. This fee does not include meals, which are $100 for all three days if purchased before Dec. 31 and $120 after that. Accommodations are $85 a night in the Sweetland Hall dorms, and details can be found on the summit website.

This year’s summit is being coordinated by the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition out of Juneau (with SAWC local foods coordinator Jennifer Nu being the main contact), and the Sitka Local Foods Network and other Sitka groups are supporting the event. For more information about the summit, contact Jennifer at jennifer@sawcak.org.

The Sitka Local Foods Network has been asked to help coordinate a community potluck or catered local foods dinner on Friday night, and to help provide transportation between the airport or ferry terminal and the summit housing site at Sweetland Hall on the Sitka Fine Arts Camp/old Sheldon Jackson College campus. We will need volunteers to help with these requests. The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a short meeting for Sitka volunteers at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13, at 1612 Sawmill Creek Road (Laura Schmidt’s house). Please click this link to RSVP for the meeting

For more information about volunteering, contact Sitka Local Foods Network board chairman Charles Bingham at charleswbingham3@gmail.com.

Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit coming to Sitka in February 2019

 

The Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit is scheduled for Friday through Sunday, Feb. 15-17, 2019, in Sitka, with an extra all-day on Feb. 18 for an optional produce grower safety training.

Most of the events at this year’s summit will take place at Sweetland Hall on the Sitka Fine Arts Camp (old Sheldon Jackson College) campus or at Harrigan Centennial Hall. The summit opens at 1 p.m. on Friday, and closes at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Full details can be found on the summit website, https://www.saltandsoilmarketplace.com/farmers-summit/

This event takes place every other year at various locations throughout the region, with the previous events taking place in Petersburg (2015) and Haines (2017).

“This gathering began in 2015 when commercial farmers and producers in Southeast Alaska decided to come together to learn from one another about producing local food in a challenging growing environment and how to bring these products to market,” event organizers posted on their website. “Since then, this summit has met every other year in a different community to reconnect, expand their knowledge, and share their experiences with a growing network of local food producers. The 2019 Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit will be the third annual gathering for current commercial produce growers and for those who would like to explore this potential in our region.”

Friday’s schedule highlights include reports from various growers around Southeast Alaska about what is working and what isn’t working where they are. On Saturday, there will be in-depth presentations on pest disease management, composting in Juneau and Petersburg, farming in Fairbanks, employees and interns, cover crops, and growing gourmet mushrooms. Sunday’s schedule includes more in-depth presentations, as well as side sessions on hydroponics, composting, entrepreneurship/business consulting, and more.

Early bird registration currently is available through Dec. 31 on the summit website at $40 per person, with the price rising to $60 after Jan. 1. This fee does not include meals, which are $100 for all three days if purchased before Dec. 31 and $120 after that. Accommodations are $85 a night in the Sweetland Hall dorms, and details can be found on the summit website.

This year’s summit is being coordinated by the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition out of Juneau (with SAWC local foods coordinator Jennifer Nu being the main contact), and the Sitka Local Foods Network and other Sitka groups are supporting the event. For more information about the summit, contact Jennifer at jennifer@sawcak.org.

The Sitka Local Foods Network has been asked to help coordinate a community potluck or catered local foods dinner on Friday night, and to help provide transportation between the airport or ferry terminal and summit site. We will need volunteers to help with these requests. To help with the Friday night meal or ground transportation, contact Sitka Local Foods Network board chairman Charles Bingham at charleswbingham3@gmail.com.

 

• Scenes from a series of Sitka Seafood Festival food preservation classes at the Sitka Kitch

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ssflogo2On Aug. 6-8, the Sitka Seafood Festival hosted Leslie Shallcross from the Anchorage District Office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service to teach a series of food preservation classes at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen (Aug. 6-7) and Sweetland Hall on Sheldon Jackson Campus (Aug. 8).

Leslie taught a class on Thursday at the Sitka Kitch about how to make low-sugar jams and jellies (a class on preserving local garden greens was canceled), and on Friday she taught a class on making kelp pickles and sauerkraut and a class on canning salmon. On Saturday, she moved over to the Sweetland Hall to be closer to the Sitka Seafood Festival events and she taught another canning salmon class and a class on the process of smoking salmon.

For those who missed the classes but still want to learn more about home canning, the UAF Cooperative Extension Service has a series of online tutorials on its website called “Preserving Alaska’s Bounty.”

Also, don’t forget to make sure your pressure canner gauge is tested at least once a year. Jasmine Shaw from the Sitka District Office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service has a tester in her office and you can call her at 747-9440 to schedule a test.

kitch_logo_mainSitka Kitch is a community wellness project from the 2013 Sitka Health Summit designed to improve food security in Sitka. The different parts of the project include creating a community kitchen Sitka residents can rent to prepare food for their small businesses or to preserve their family harvest of fish, game, or garden veggies; expanding Sitka’s emergency food storage capacity; and providing education about preserving food and building family emergency food pantries.

For more information about the Sitka Kitch project, go to the Sitka Kitch website or Facebook page. For rental information, contact Kristy Miller at sitkakitch@sitkawild.org. Click this link to take a quick tour of the facility.

A slideshow with scenes from the various classes is posted below.

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• Food preservation classes to be offered in conjunction with Sitka Seafood Festival

Sitka food preservation classes

ssflogo2Leslie Shallcross from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service‘s Anchorage District Office will be in Sitka to offer a series of food preservation classes on Aug. 6-8 as part of the Sitka Seafood Festival.

The classes on Thursday and Friday, Aug. 6-7, will take place at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen (inside First Presbyterian Church, 505 Sawmill Creek Road), while the Saturday, Aug. 8, classes will be at Sweetland Hall on the Sheldon Jackson Campus. Each of the classes will cost $15, but jars and other materials will be provided by the Sitka Seafood Festival.

The class schedule is:

  • Thursday, Aug. 6, 2-4:30 p.m., at Sitka Kitch — Low-sugar jams and jellies — Learn how to use a boiling water bath canner for preserving fruit by making low-sugar jams and jellies.
  • Thursday, Aug. 6, 6-8 p.m., at Sitka Kitch — Local garden greens — Learn how to cook with and preserve your garden greens.
  • Friday, Aug. 7, 10 a.m. to noon, at Sitka Kitch — Kelp pickles and sauerkraut — Learn how to make kelp pickles. You will “start” some sauerkraut as well as learn some of the science of fermentation.
  • Friday, Aug. 7, 3-5 p.m., at Sitka Kitch — Canning salmon — Learn how to use a pressure canner for preserving fresh, frozen or smoked fish.
  • Saturday, Aug. 8, 10 a.m. to noon, at Sweetland Hall — Canning salmon — Learn how to use a pressure canner for preserving fresh, frozen or smoked fish.
  • Saturday, Aug. 8, 1-2:30 p.m., at Sweetland Hall — Process of smoking salmon — Learn the steps in smoking fish.

kitch_logo_mainFor those who might miss the classes but still want to learn more about home canning, the UAF Cooperative Extension Service has a series of online tutorials on its website called “Preserving Alaska’s Bounty.” Also, don’t forget to make sure your pressure canner gauge is tested at least once a year. Jasmine Shaw from the Sitka District Office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service has a tester in her office and you can call her at 747-9440 to schedule a test.

To register for the classes, please contact Jasmine Shaw at 747-9440 or jdshaw2@alaska.edu.

 

• Sitka Conservation Society to host annual Wild Foods Potluck on Dec. 8 at Sweetland Hall

Wild Foods Potluck no words

WildFoodsPotluckHelp Sitka celebrate its wonderful bounty of local and wild foods by joining the Sitka Conservation Society for its annual Wild Foods Potluck from 5-7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8, at Sweetland Hall on the Sheldon Jackson Campus.

This annual event features a variety of wild foods that can be harvested around Sitka, including many varieties of fish, deer, ducks, berries, seaweed, beach greens, and more. This event gives local residents a chance to sample a multitude of wild food dishes for a true taste of Sitka. If you don’t have any wild foods, just garnish your dish with a local plant.

“Bring a dish that features ingredients from the outdoors and meet others interested in subsistence foods and the conservation field,” said the Sitka Conservation Society’s Ray Friedlander, who is helping coordinate the event. “Your dish could win a prize if you enter it into the Best Dish, Best Side, and Best Dessert category.”

This event is non-alcoholic, and it is open to all residents of Sitka, including members and non-members of the Sitka Conservation Society. For more information, contact Ray Friedlander or Mary Wood at the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509, or go to http://www.sitkawild.org/.