During the weekend of July 17th , over 40 children and adults from Prince of Wales came together in Kasaan for three days to process and celebrate local bounties of the island.

The second Kasaan Community Harvest was coordinated by the Organized Village of Kasaan, Southeast Conference and the Sustainable Southeast Partnership.  Communities participating included Kasaan, Hydaburg, Craig, Klawock, Thorne Bay, and Coffman Cove.  In addition, we were honored to have Dolly Garza participate for a second year from Haida Gwaii. Garza and participants were also being filmed in Kasaan by the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council about the importance of clean water!

The goal of the event was to build community around harvesting, processing, and celebrating local wild foods.  During the Kasaan Community Harvest participants gathered at the Totem Trail Café to share family recipes and methodologies for jarred smoked sockeye and coho, plain packed coho, and venison.  They were also able to visit a nearby smokehouse to see firsthand how to brine, hang and smoke the salmon.  Participants picked thimbleberries and elderberries and learned how to make jam and jelly.  They also prepared Devil’s Club salve using bark that was harvested during the 2014 event.

There was a wide range of experience brought by the participants.  For some it was the first time touching a salmon, while others offered decades of experience, traditions, and family recipes.  The weekend offered a time to revisit and practice Haida traditions of harvesting and celebrate the resources offered by the sea and land of Southeast.

Harvesting and preserving local foods encourages carrying on traditions and the responsible management of local resources, a practice that encourages sustainable harvesting of wild local foods for future generations.

A significant portion of food readily available to Southeast Alaskans is imported, thus the harvesting and preserving of wild, local foods builds self-reliance on a household and community level. The more imported foods that we can displace with local sources the less dependent we are on these vulnerable sources.

Overall, the harvest event was a great success and there are plans to have it as an annual event!

Recommended Resources

Below are some of the recipes, photos, and resources that were used over the weekend.

General Canning Resources (UAF Cooperative Extension Service)
Photo Slideshow: Preparing Devils Club Salve 
Recipes and Methods
Cottage Foods Exemptions Information

The processing of non-hazardous foods that fall under Alaska’s Cottage Food Exemptions is a great opportunity for rural communities to participate in local commerce. Under these exemptions non-hazardous items such as the jams and can be sold.

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Resources

Cooperative Extension Service Resources
  • Guide to Operating a Successful Home-Based Food Business (University of Alaska Cooperative Extension Service)
Photo Slideshow: Preparing Smoked Salmon at the 2015 Kasaan Harvest