Celebrate local farmers and gardeners on Alaska Agriculture Day on Tuesday, May 7

Alaskans will celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day on Tuesday, May 7. On this day, Alaskans are encouraged to support local agriculture by seeking out and purchasing products produced in Alaska and educating youth about the vital role that agriculture plays in our economy. This is Alaska’s version of National Ag Day (which took place on March 14 this year, when many parts of Alaska were still thawing out). The 2019 Alaska Ag Day theme is Farm Animal Fun. Don’t forget Monday, May 6, is the third annual Drive Your Tractor To Work Day in Alaska.

Here are a few ideas from the Division of Agriculture on how to celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day:

In Sitka, you can celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day by starting a food garden (even a couple of containers on your deck can provide you with potatoes, carrots or greens). Teachers are encouraged to offer a lesson plan or two about the importance of agriculture in Alaska and in Sitka. Here’s a link to an article about how Sitka was Alaska’s original garden city back in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Also, the Sitka History Minute feature on KCAW-Raven Radio has had several episodes about agriculture in Sitka (click here to listen to a feature about the potato in Sitka, click here to listen to a feature about the Sitka Agricultural Station, and click here to listen to a feature about the cows of Iris Meadows).

During the growing season, please support the Sitka farmers and production gardeners listed in the 2016-17 Alaska Grown Source Book (chief contact in parentheses, the Buy Alaska Grown website is still using this information even though it is somewhat dated) — Anam Cara Family Garden (Lisa Sadleir-Hart), Blatchley Community Gardens (David Nuetzel, this garden closed in 2016 and there is a group seeking a new location for what will be called Sitka Community Gardens, but its 2019 status is unknown), Down To Earth U-Pick Garden (Lori Adams, switched to a CSA in 2017 and no longer is a public u-pick garden), Finn Island Farm (Keith Nyitray, this farm closed), Sprucecot Gardens (Judy Johnstone, this may be closed), and St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm (Laura Schmidt/Sitka Local Foods Network). There also are a few Sitka farms and production gardens not listed in the 2016-17 Alaska Grown Source Book, such as Beyond Leafy LLC (Jimmy and Leslie Kranz, this hydroponic basil growing operation may be closed in 2019), Middle Island Gardens (Andrea Fraga/Kaleb Aldred), and Welsh Family Forget-Me-Not Garden (Florence Welsh).

Many of these farms and gardens will be vendors during the Sitka Farmers Markets this summer. The Sitka Farmers Markets take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on seven Saturdays — July 6, July 27, Aug. 10, Aug. 17, Aug. 31, Sept. 7, and Sept 21 — at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.). We are in the process of scheduling a Sitka Farmers Market vendors meeting or two where rules and responsibilities will be discussed.

Celebrate local farmers and gardeners on Alaska Agriculture Day on Tuesday, May 1

Alaskans will celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day on Tuesday, May 1. On this day, Alaskans are encouraged to support local agriculture by seeking out and purchasing products produced in Alaska and educating youth about the vital role that agriculture plays in our economy. This is Alaska’s version of National Ag Day (which took place on March 20 this year, when many parts of Alaska were still thawing out).

Here are a few ideas from the Division of Agriculture on how to celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day:

In Sitka, you can celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day by starting a food garden (even a couple of containers on your deck can provide you with potatoes, carrots or greens). Teachers are encouraged to offer a lesson plan or two about the importance of agriculture in Alaska and in Sitka. Here’s a linkto an article about how Sitka was Alaska’s original garden city back in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Also, the Sitka History Minute feature on KCAW-Raven Radio has had several episodes about agriculture in Sitka (click here to listen to a feature about the potato in Sitka, click here to listen to a feature about the Sitka Agricultural Station, and click here to listen to a feature about the cows of Iris Meadows).

During the growing season, please support the Sitka farmers and production gardeners listed in the 2016-17 Alaska Grown Source Book(chief contact in parentheses) — Anam Cara Family Garden (Lisa Sadleir-Hart), Blatchley Community Gardens (David Nuetzel, this garden closed in 2016 and there is a group seeking a new location for what will be called Sitka Community Gardens, but its 2018 status is unknown), Down To Earth U-Pick Garden (Lori Adams, switched to a CSA in 2017 and no longer is a public u-pick garden), Finn Island Farm (Keith Nyitray, this farm closed), Sprucecot Gardens (Judy Johnstone), and St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm (Laura Schmidt/Sitka Local Foods Network). There also are a few Sitka farms and production gardens not listed in the 2016-17 Alaska Grown Source Book, such as Beyond Leafy LLC (Jimmy and Leslie Kranz), Middle Island Gardens (Andrea Fraga/Kaleb Aldred), and Welsh Family Forget-Me-Not Garden (Florence Welsh).

Many of these farms and gardens will be vendors during the Sitka Farmers Markets this summer. The Sitka Farmers Markets take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on seven Saturdays — July 7, July 21, Aug. 4, Aug. 11, Aug. 25, Sept. 1, and Sept 15 — at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.). There will be a Sitka Farmers Market vendor meeting from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street) where rules and responsibilities will be discussed.

Celebrate local farmers and gardeners on Alaska Agriculture Day on Tuesday, May 2

Alaskans will celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day on Tuesday, May 2. On this day, Alaskans are encouraged to support local agriculture by seeking out and purchasing products produced in Alaska and educating youth about the vital role that agriculture plays in our economy. This is Alaska’s version of National Ag Day (which took place on March 21 this year, when many parts of Alaska were still thawing out).

Here are a few ideas from the Division of Agriculture on how to celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day:

In Sitka, you can celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day by starting a food garden (even a couple of containers on your deck can provide you with potatoes, carrots or greens). Teachers are encouraged to offer a lesson plan or two about the importance of agriculture in Alaska and in Sitka. Here’s a link to an article about how Sitka was Alaska’s original garden city back in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Also, the Sitka History Minute feature on KCAW-Raven Radio has had several episodes about agriculture in Sitka (click here to listen to a feature about the potato in Sitka, click here to listen to a feature about the Sitka Agricultural Station, and click here to listen to a feature about the cows of Iris Meadows).

During the growing season, please support the Sitka farmers and production gardeners listed in the 2016-17 Alaska Grown Source Book (chief contact in parentheses) — Anam Cara Family Garden (Lisa Sadleir-Hart), Blatchley Community Gardens (David Nuetzel, this garden closed in 2016 and there is a group seeking a new location for what will be called Sitka Community Gardens), Down To Earth U-Pick Garden (Lori Adams, switched to a CSA in 2017 and no longer is a public u-pick garden), Finn Island Farm (Keith Nyitray), Sprucecot Gardens (Judy Johnstone), and St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm (Laura Schmidt/Sitka Local Foods Network). There also are a few Sitka farms and production gardens not listed in the 2016-17 Alaska Grown Source Book, such as Humpback Farm (Peter Williams), Middle Island Organic Produce (Andrea Fraga/Kaleb Aldred), Sea View Garden (Linda Wilson), The Sawmill Farm (Bobbi Daniels), Sitka Seedling Farms (Matthew Jackson) and Welsh Family Forget-Me-Not Garden(Florence Welsh).

Many of these farms and gardens will be vendors during the Sitka Farmers Markets this summer. The Sitka Farmers Markets take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, July 1, July 15, July 29, Aug. 12, Aug. 19, Sept. 2, and Sept 9, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.).

Sitka trollers launch quarterly Edible Alaska magazine

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Mary Smith and David Whitmire, the co-owners of the recently launched Edible Alaska magazine, on board their 50-foot commercial troller, the F/V Virga, docked in Sitka’s Eliason Harbor.

EAK 1 Cover MED RezAs David Whitmire and Mary Smith ran their 50-foot commercial troller, the F/V Virga, outside of Sitka last summer, Mary spent her downtime reading some of the Edible Communities magazines (Edible Seattle, Edible Santa Barbara, Edible Cape Cod, etc.).

“She’s been reading them for quite a while,” David said. “I’d hear her say, ‘This will be a good article for Edible Alaska,’ or ‘I can’t believe there’s no Edible Alaska yet.’ Last year, while we were trolling for silvers, she said, ‘We’ve gotta do it.'”

The first 40-page issue of Edible Alaska was printed last week and will soon be in newsstands around the state. The magazine is free at local newsstands, or you can order a subscription to guarantee you get your copy. In addition to the quarterly printed version of the magazine, there will be regular website updates in between issues.

David is listed as the magazine’s publisher, while his wife, Mary, is listed as managing editor. They think they are the 79th, 80th or 81st magazine in the Edible Communities group of magazines for the United States and Canada, but aren’t sure which because Edible Asheville and Edible Bronx also launched about the same time.

When they finally called the Edible Communities group about starting Edible Alaska, David and Mary found out they hadn’t been the only ones with the idea. They were the third people to ask about starting Edible Alaska. One of them moved out of state shortly after asking about the magazine, and the other, Evie Witten, is now the creative director for Edible Alaska while she launches her Anchorage-based fermented foods business, Evie’s Brinery.

“We want to support the food system all across the state,” Mary said. “We don’t want to be just a foodie magazine. We want stories so good you’ll be hungry for more.”

Each issue will feature recipes, do-it-yourself guides, chef profiles, info about growing your own food, hunting and fishing, some food policy issues, and more. The first issue includes stories about Double Shovel Cider (Alaska’s first commercial hard cidery), food hubs in Alaska, Spring Creek Farm, Farragut Farm from outside Petersburg, the Sawmill Farm in Sitka, how to make salmon burgers, a back-of-the-house restaurant feature, a taste of Juneau, the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network, and more.

“We’re celebrating innovation, like with Farragut Farm where they farm on an island and bring all their produce to town on a skiff,” Mary said. “We want to focus on opportunities, such as how people are getting past barriers to local food.”

While Edible Communities can be likened to a franchise operation, where the magazines follow a similar formula. Mary and David want Edible Alaska to stand out. They want to feature stories about the diverse cultural and community aspects of food in Alaska, and they want them to be authentic with Alaska writers and photographers telling the stories.

“I’m interested in food security,” David said. “For example, at the Alaska Food Policy Council conference in February, we met some guys who are growing greens through hydroponics. All of our schools have power throughout the year, so the kids could be growing their own salad greens.”

“We also learned about how elders can now get their traditional foods in their care facilities,” Mary said.

David and Mary spend about half of their year in Sitka, with the rest spent all over the state and in the Lower 48 where they market their fish through their company Springline Seafood. Their troller now is home-ported out of Sitka (though it says Hoonah on the boat). They used to home-port the boat in Homer, where they have a mailing service moving their mail around to their various ports of call.

David is a long-time commercial fisherman who has fished all over the state, and he also spends time working a gold mine in Nome. Before moving to Alaska to marry David and commercial fish, Mary was trained as a chef through Culinary Institutes of America and spent many years as marketing manager for seafood companies in Santa Monica, Calif., and Chicago.

“As word got out about Edible Alaska, the support has been overwhelming,” Mary said. “We see this as something that belongs to the whole state of Alaska.”

“This is going to be a fun project,” David added.

Celebrate local farmers and gardeners on Alaska Agriculture Day on Tuesday, May 3

AlaskaGrownImpact

AgDayProclamationMay32016Alaskans will celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day on Tuesday, May 3. On this day, Alaskans are encouraged to support local agriculture by seeking out and purchasing products produced in Alaska and educating youth about the vital role that agriculture plays in our economy.

Here are a few ideas from the Division of Agriculture on how to celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day:

  • Join the 49,005 people who “like” the Alaska Grown Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/dnr.alaskagrown and learn about the exciting things Alaskans are producing around the state.
  • Contact your local agriculture groups/chapters (such as FFA, Farm Bureau, Agriculture in the Classroom etc.) to see if they are hosting an event in your area.
  • Sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program at a local farm.
  • Buy and incorporate Alaska Grown products into your meals.
  • If you are a farmer, consider asking a local school if you can visit a classroom to educate children about your operation and Alaska agriculture.
  • Visit and thank a local farmer in person. To find a farm near you, check the Alaska Grown Source Book at http://dnr.alaska.gov/ag/sourcebook/sourcebookindex2014.html.

ak ag day flyerIn Sitka, you can celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day by starting a food garden (even a couple of containers on your deck can provide you with potatoes, carrots or greens). Teachers are encouraged to offer a lesson plan or two about the importance of agriculture in Alaska and in Sitka. Here’s a link to an article about how Sitka was Alaska’s original garden city back in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Also, click here to listen to a Sitka History Minute feature about the potato in Sitka from KCAW-Raven Radio).

During the growing season, please support the Sitka farmers and production gardeners listed in the Alaska Grown Source Book (chief contact in parentheses) — Anam Cara Family Garden (Lisa Sadleir-Hart), Blatchley Community Gardens (David Nuetzel), Down To Earth U-Pick Garden (Lori Adams), Finn Island Farm (Keith Nyitray), Sprucecot Gardens (Judy Johnstone), and St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm (Laura Schmidt). There also are a few Sitka farms and production gardens not listed in the Alaska Grown Source Book, such as Sea View Garden (Linda Wilson), The Sawmill Farm (Bobbi Daniels), Sitka Seedling Farms (Matthew Jackson) and Welsh Family Forget-Me-Not Garden (Florence Welsh). Many of these farms and gardens will be vendors during the Sitka Farmers Markets, which start on July 2 this summer.

• Path to Prosperity economic development contest semifinalists include two Sitka-based agriculture projects

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Two Sitka residents with agriculture projects have been named among the 12 semifinalists in the annual Path to Prosperity economic development contest for Southeast Alaska.

This is the third year of the contest, and Bobbi Daniels’ The Sawmill Farm project has been a semifinalist each year. New to the program is the Sitka Seedling Farms project by Sitka Local Foods Network Vice-President Matthew Jackson (who goes by Jackson). A total of 28 projects promoting economic development in Southeast Alaska were entered this year, and more details about the 12 semifinalist projects can be found here.

The year-long Path to Prosperity program provides budding entrepreneurs with the technical assistance they need to develop business plans and follow them through to successful businesses. The program is sponsored by Haa Aaní Community Development Fund, Inc. and The Nature Conservancy, with the goal to develop community resiliency by supporting Southeast Alaska entrepreneurs with creating a business plan.

Applications were solicited in March, with an informational webinar in April and application due date of May 31. The entries were whittled down to 12 semifinalists in July. The semifinalists will attend a three-day business boot camp in September, then they have until Dec. 1 to submit a business plan.

A panel of five judges from the business community will select two winning business plans in February, which each receive $40,000 seed funding for consulting and technical assistance to develop their businesses. The remaining 10 semifinalists will then compete through social media for the People’s Choice Award, which will give an additional $40,000 to one semifinalist.

Here is the list of the 2015 Path to Prosperity semifinalists:

  1. Alaska Accessible Adventures, Juneau, Lindsay Halvik
  2. AlaskaSmart Biodiesel, Hoonah, Jeff Hastings
  3. Columbine Farm, Haines, Spencer Douthit
  4. Micki’s House, Hydaburg, Margaret O’Neil
  5. Northern Edge Craftworks, Juneau, Reid Harris
  6. Petersburg Indian Association, Petersburg, Marco Banda
  7. Sandbar Bed and Breakfast, Metlakatla, Karen Thompson
  8. Sitka Seedling Farms, Sitka, Matthew Jackson
  9. Skya’ana Coffee Co., Klawock, Tina Steffen
  10. The Salty Pantry Market and Deli, Petersburg, Mindy Anderson
  11. The Sawmill Farm, Sitka, Bobbi Daniels
  12. Wrangell Cooperative Association, Wrangell, Aaron Angerman

• Celebrate local farmers and gardeners on Alaska Agriculture Day on Tuesday, May 5

04.22.15 Alaska Agriculture Day

Alaskans will celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day on Tuesday, May 5. On this day, Alaskans are encouraged to support local agriculture by seeking out and purchasing products produced in Alaska and educating youth about the vital role that agriculture plays in our economy.

Here are a few ideas from the Division of Agriculture on how to celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day:

  • Join the 34,278 people who “like” the Alaska Grown Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/dnr.alaskagrown and learn about the exciting things Alaskans are producing around the state.
  • Contact your local agriculture groups/chapters (such as FFA, Farm Bureau, Agriculture in the Classroom etc.) to see if they are hosting an event in your area.
  • Sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program at a local farm.
  • Buy and incorporate Alaska Grown products into your meals.
  • If you are a farmer, consider asking a local school if you can visit a classroom to educate children about your operation and Alaska agriculture.
  • Visit and thank a local farmer in person. To find a farm near you, check the Alaska Grown Source Book at http://dnr.alaska.gov/ag/sourcebook/sourcebookindex2014.html.

In Sitka, you can celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day by starting a food garden (even a couple of containers on your deck can provide you with potatoes, carrots or greens). Teachers are encouraged to offer a lesson plan or two about the importance of agriculture in Alaska and in Sitka (also, click here to listen to a Sitka History Minute feature about the potato in Sitka from KCAW-Raven Radio).

During the growing season, please support the Sitka farmers and production gardeners listed in the Alaska Grown Source Book (chief contact in parentheses) — Anam Cara Family Garden (Lisa Sadleir-Hart), Blatchley Community Gardens (David Nuetzel), Down To Earth U-Pick Garden (Lori Adams), Finn Island Farm (Keith Nyitray), Sprucecot Gardens (Judy Johnstone), and St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm (Lisa Sadleir-Hart or Laura Schmidt). There also are a few Sitka farms and production gardens not listed in the Alaska Grown Source Book, such as Sea View Garden (Linda Wilson), The Sawmill Farm (Bobbi Daniels) and Welsh Family Forget-Me-Not Garden (Florence Welsh). Many of these farms and gardens will be vendors during the Sitka Farmers Markets, which start on July 4 this summer.