5 February 2015
Registration Begins for the Southeast Alaska Farm and Fish to Schools Conference
Connecting Alaska’s Schools with Local Food Entrepreneurs
Registration has begun for the Southeast Farm and Fish to Schools Conference. This event will be the first regional opportunity focused on building connections between Alaska’s school systems and local food entrepreneurs. Anyone interested in bringing more local foods into our school system is invited to collaborate and connect with regional experts to strengthen fish and farm to school programming across the state.
Southeast Conference, the regional economic development organization, is coordinating the conference in conjunction with the newly formed Sustainable Southeast Partnership, a diverse network of organizations working together on community sustainability in Southeast Alaska.
Alana Peterson, program director of the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, Haa Aani, LLC comments:
“Often we find that the barriers to achieving access to local, healthy foods can be overcome if we work together as a region to make this initiative a priority. By bringing all the key players together for a conference we are hoping to achieve just that.”
Fish and farm to school programming offers significant economic, environmental cultural and nutritional opportunities to our rural communities and region.
“Schools in southeast received more than $500,000 last year to buy Alaskan produced foods through the Nutritional Alaska Foods to Schools grant program.” Shelly Wright, Executive Director of Southeast Conference comments. “However, schools are often limited by what they can procure. There are untapped opportunities for, farmers, fishermen and small business in our region. We are eager to break down barriers and grow the opportunities for everyone.”
About the Southeast Alaska Fish to Schools Conference
Conference Dates: April 2-3, 2015
Conference Location: Centennial Hall, Juneau Alaska
Online registration and more detailed conference information available at www.seconference.org
Register before Feb. 28 to be eligible for a travel stipend
Contact Lia Heifetz for more information about the conference and accessing a travel stipend firstname.lastname@example.org
Who Should Attend
- Existing or aspiring businesses and entrepreneurs interested in growing or harvesting local foods
- Fishermen who want to explore school markets
- School administrators and community members interested in procuring more local foods for schools
- People interested in starting a school growing program (greenhouse or garden)
- Educators looking to exchange insights and obtain resources for developing food systems curricula for the classroom
- Local entrepreneur development track with experts in developing business structure, planning, financing and marketing for a local foods enterprise
- Information and resources for educators to increase awareness for students around food origins, health and traditional use
- Resources for projects to sustain local foods in schools
- Success stories from around the region and state
- Opportunities for networking and collaboration
The Energy Hog in Kasaan
Carrie and Minnie helped organize assemblies at the Kasaan and Hydaburg schools as I brought the Energy Hog with me. What is the Energy Hog you ask? The Energy Hog is a great way to introduce students to energy use and energy savings concepts in a fun, entertaining and memorable way. This is the second year that the Alaska Energy Authority has rented the costume and coordinated its appearance in schools around the state. Here’s footage from Energy Hog assemblies done in Angoon, Hoonah, and Kake, starring Tasha McKoy as the Energy Hog Buster. Video courtesy Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority and Nathan Havey of Thrive Consulting Group: http://youtu.be/8iDAMfs7iuk. I’ve participated in these programs and am pleasantly surprised at how engaged the students are. We had a lot of fun at both schools. I was also able to speak to the principals about AK EnergySmart, an Alaska specific curriculum developed by Renewable Energy Alaska Project and Alaska Center for Energy and Power with the support of Alaska Housing Finance Corporation.
In Kasaan, Carrie is interested in promoting energy efficiency opportunities for residents. We will continue to discuss the most effective ways to do this. I’ll share more about this soon. In Hydaburg, the tribe is interested in energy efficiency and district biomass heating for some of the larger, centrally located commercial buildings in town. I look forward to following up with Minnie, the Tribe and the consultants who have been looking at the buildings already. I also met with Machelle Edenshaw and Dennis Nickerson in Kasaan. They are working to build even further collaboration on energy and environmental issues among the Island’s tribes, and organize the Earth Day event on Prince of Wales. It was great to finally meet Dennis, as we have been emailing for months now. I will help them look into options to improve Kasaan’s energy independence. At the very least I hope to be involved in the Earth Day event in 2015, which draws hundreds of students Island-wide.
Carrie at OVK’s new Cafe
Access to fresh fruits, vegetables and proteins in Alaska can be a daily challenge. Alaska imports roughly ninety five percent of its food. This means that families pay high prices for processed and typically unhealthy foods, communities are vulnerable to delays and complications with importing from far away places and the state of Alaska unnecessarily exports money out of a region that is thirsty for economic stimulation.
This doesn’t need to be the case and a growing force of communities and entrepreneurs are working to challenge the status quo and localize our food systems.
While greenhouses and garden initiatives are important elements, revitalizing our food system doesn’t end with cultivation. In Alaska, we are surrounded by wild food sources as diverse and vibrant as the cultures and communities that call this state home….
Learn about a growing community of Alaskan residents, communities and organizations who are dedicated to invigorating Alaska’s Food System with wild foods. This short video also showcases the Kasaan Wild Foods Harvest, an event that was facilitated through partnerships with the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, the Cooperative Extension, the Organized Village of Kasaan, the Sitka Conservation Society and Southeast Conference.
Totem Trail Cafe: Mounting the painting by William Stewart, “A Carving Lesson” .
Totem Trail Cafe
- Participated in a potluck for the Carving Shed Expansion and unveiled a painting by William Stewart of “A Carving Lesson” at the Cafe.
- Completed the ADEC Application for Food Establishment Permit . Included extensive research to gather necessary information, including maps, drawings, and schematics for all equipment.
- Submitted the DEC Plan Review Application which included documenting potable water supply, wastewater and solid waste disposal, and floor plans.
- Worked with Karen Petersen, of the UAF-Cooperative Extension, to provide Hospitality Training.
- Continued to book cabins and trouble-shoot any problems.
- Investigating online booking.
- Developing a “Welcome to Kasaan” booklet for the cabins and the Café.
Path to Prosperity Competition
- Continue to gather information that will be used at Business Boot Camp.
For additional information about the Tribe, see the Organized Village of Kasaan website.
In Kasaan, a Haida community, food is culture and serves to instill a sense of pride in identity and culture. Traditional foods serve as medicines for physical, spiritual, and mental well-being and reconnect people to the land, nature, and their traditions. Revitalizing this for Kasaan people is important to understanding food origins; the relevance of traditional foods to diet and culture, and for encouraging preference for locally harvested foods.
A series of events were held in Kasaan with the purpose of engaging community members in the harvesting, processing and consumption of wild and traditional foods, medicines, and materials. Additionally an evening class was offered on food preservation and Cottage Foods Businesses (led by Sarah Lewis from the UAF Cooperative Extension Service). This evening workshop was followed by a three-day harvest event led by Carrie Sykes, Kasaan Community Catalyst, and Dolly Garza, UAF professor Emerita.
Over the course of three days 27 people (primarily from Kasaan and Hydaburg) congregated to learn about identification, proper harvesting techniques, and processing methods of wild foods, medicines, and materials. Participants congregated at the Totem Café and were transported to the sites of the plants to be harvested. Over the first two days participants learned to pick Hudson Bay Tea or in Haida, Xíl kagan, and Devil’s Club, Ts’íihlanjaaw. The kids especially enjoyed the picking of the Hudson Bay Tea, and bags were quickly filled with the fragrant, leathery leaves to be dried in the sun. Devil’s club was also harvested, and the more involved technique for processing the medicinal bark was practiced by everyone.
Day two was filled with beach asparagus and goose tongue. An early start to the day led to a hard earned lunch and seven cases of pint jars filled with pickled and plain canned beach asparagus. We learned the importance of “picking clean” the first time around to expedite the processing…
Dolly Garza, an expert on traditional use of marine resources by Alaska Native cultures and intertidal foods led a beach walk and shared her knowledge of edible seaweeds on the third day. Almost all of the seaweeds we found were edible and tasted great if prepared in the proper way. Most seaweeds, with the exception of fucus can be dried and then stored in airtight containers for up to a year. Dolly brought all sorts of samples to share that she had already prepared– including kelp salsa, kelp pickles and an assortment of dried seaweeds.
Everything prepared was distributed among the participants and a portion was set aside for community events.
Check out Dolly’s book here.
Check out the identification guide created for the event here.