Archive for the ‘Food Production’ Category
Kenai Resilience and Kenai Peninsula Garden Club are co-sponsoring two special workshops on June 16 featuring permaculture expert Saskia Esslinger of Red Edge Design in Anchorage, 9am – 12 pm and 1 pm to 4 pm. Registrations must in by June 10. Email your interest to Marion Nelson – firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP and send 1/2 of the workshop fee to CPGC, PO Box 767, Kenai 99611.
9am-Noon – Workshop #1. ECOLOGICAL GARDEN DESIGN: Learn how to use Permaculture design principles to begin designing your abundant, low-maintenance landscape. Good design reduces inputs of money, time, and toxins to maintain the system. It helps us make better decisions and learn from our failures. In this workshop you will learn the basics of design and how to take cues from nature to help improve your designs. We will practice applying Permaculture design principles to come up with some novel ideas for our landscape.
1pm-4pm – Workshop #2. INSTANT GARDENS aka, yards to gardens: Tired of mowing? Turn your lawn into a garden in just a few hours, using mostly recycled materials. Sheet mulching is a great technique for building garden beds for many reasons: they are quick and easy to install over grass or other poor or degraded soil, they are significantly warmer, and they are easier to maintain. In this workshop we will talk about why and how it works as we build a garden together.
FOR WORKSHOP #2, PLEASE BRING A SHOVEL, AND BAG UP YOUR NON-MEAT KITCHEN WASTE INCLUDING COFFEE GROUNDS, TO ADD TO THAT GARDEN BED.
Workshop fee: $35 per workshop or two workshops for $60. (for same person)
Group size limit: 15 people (register by June 10!)
Location: Off K-Beach Rd., off Cannery Rd.
Workshop times: 9-12 and 1-4 on Thursday, June 16
As a new season of local food production gets underway, let’s take a look back at last year’s Peak of the Season Food Fest. Videographer Lincoln Wensley, who’s graduating from Kenai Central High School this week, captured the celebratory spirit of the event perfectly!! Thanks again to Lincoln, along with Harold and Bobbi Jackson of Jackson Gardens, who hosted the event.
Many thanks to Jeff Babitt, the local farmer who runs Alaskan HomeGrown, for speaking about the business of farming on the Central Peninsula! Jeff discussed his experience with farming and starting up a local food business, food law and how it affects his practice, and what drew him to the vocation of farming. According to Jeff’s research, the proportion of locally produced or harvested food in Alaska has dropped from 80% in the 1960′s to less that 10% today. He’s a strong advocate for increasing food security with locally grown food and he encouraged everyone in the room to plant a large garden. For helpful information on growing in our cold climate, Jeff and other gardeners in the room highly recommended books by Maine farmer, Eliot Coleman, including The Winter Harvest Handbook. Jeff’s vision is to make his storefront on K-Beach Road in front of Save-U-More a place where local farmers and gardeners can easily market their surplus produce. If you missed Jeff’s speech, you might enjoy watching Michael Pollan’s presentation at the Bioneers in 2009 (Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3).
On August 14th, Jackson Gardens hosted the “Peak of the Season” Local Foods Potluck. Approximately 60 folks showed up with tasty morsels that were harvested or grown in the state of Alaska (or the local grocery store, if they were new to the local foods idea). Local musicians chipped in to provide musical entertainment, and there were plenty of places for the kids to play.
The Jacksons were amazing hosts, as they gave us a tour of their wonderful garden. It was fantastic to simply walk through the paths of blooming & beautiful flowers and experience the life of a fruit tree inside of their greenhouse. We are so grateful that the weather cooperated as well! A great article was written up about the experience in the Redoubt Reporter. Check it out!
Spring is a good time to devote our attention to local eating. Local foods are fresher and require less transportation and energy than food from the Lower ’48. By buying from local food producers, you help to build up our local food industry and help out the environment. So, it’s green on two levels – financially & environmentally.
Here’s a couple of videos to introduce you to the whole local food concept. The first local food video comes from a private citizen in Vermont. The second video, is from the USDA. Please take a moment to view them by clicking on the green underlined words.
We invite you to participate in our latest “Challenge to the Community”. For the 2010 food season, choose to participate in at least 1 of the following 5 options:
1. Read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Micheal Pollan.
If you are new to local food issues, this will give you a good overview of current trends in American food consumption & production. A very good read! You might even find a few partners to share the book with over the Summer.
2. If dining at a tasteful local restaurant, ask if they serve any local foods.
If local foods are available on the menu, order them. If not, ask why they don’t purchase from local producers. Support our local chefs in their endeaver to support our local growers!
3. Try to grow a vegetable or fruit you’ve never grown before.
It’s very rewarding to grow your own food and builds self-sustainability confidence. You can even grow food in a small container!
4. Introduce yourself to 1 local food producer.
Find out what products the local farmer, rancher, fisherman (etc.) produces, how their food is produced, and where to purchase their products. Please be respectful of their time, as they’ll be in the middle of their busy “Peak Season”.
5. Add 1 local food to your diet.
If you currently purchase lettuce that was grown in Washington, consider switching to a locally grown lettuce. (Same with carrots, broccoli, or another veggie.) Start measuring your food’s travel miles.
Note: If you decide to take this challenge, challenge yourself from your skill level and be safe. For safety reasons, please do not consume products that you have not educated yourself about or are unfamiliar with. Be aware that you are responsible for knowing about the laws and risks associated with the production, harvesting, and preparation of local foods. Remember that you are responsible for your own, your family’s, and your food guests’ food safety and consumption.
Most importantly, have fun with this challenge. You are invited to join us at an “Alaska Farms & Oceans Harvest Party Potluck” (still in the planning stages) in August or September.
For those of you who weren’t there Feb. 12 at the Kenai River Center, 45+ people came (students, growers, grandparents with grandkids, newcomers, oldtimers…), and the potluck spread was impressive! There was lots of lively sharing of ideas about what people would like to see happen in this community with regard to increasing local food production and consumption. We conducted a quick poll (voting with sticky dots), and the projects that drew the most interest were: raising awareness/2010 Harvest Party; creating a directory of local producers; and helping people learn skills. Sign-up sheets resulted in a list of volunteers for each of the three. Full results will be posted on this website so that newcomers see what interests there are out in the community. If you’re interested to volunteer, send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Have you stopped eating potatoes?
Franci Havemeister, Director of the Alaska Division of Agriculture, is encouraging Alaskans to show their support for their neighbors this winter by purchasing Alaska Grown food items. The Director is particularly encouraging Alaskan’s to eat more Alaska Grown potatoes, as stocks are up and sales are down.
The Alaska Agricultural Statistics Service revealed in their December 1st “Alaska Potato Stocks” report that growers are reporting more potatoes in their storage facilities. Additionally, production this summer was higher than last year, resulting in larger quantities of potatoes to start. Palmer area growers confirm the Agriculture Statistics information, reporting slow sales at the grocery stores. Look for the familiar Alaska Grown logo and if you do not see it, be sure to ask the produce manager.
For more information on how to source Alaska Grown products please contact Amy Pettit at Amy.Pettit@alaska.gov or 907-761-3864.