Poster Contest Winners Announced!

The Kenai Soil & Water Conservation District is pleased to announce the winners of the annual conservation poster contest. This year’s theme — Where Does Your Water Shed? – challenged students to learn about the special place we live, the Kenai River Watershed, and to convey through artwork ways to take care of the fresh water that we need each day. First place winners in each age category (K-1st, 2nd-3rd, 4th-6th, 7th-9th) win $25 and the chance to compete in the state-level competition. Second place in each age group wins $15, and third place wins $10. All winners will be honored at a joint meeting of the Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce to be held at noon, Nov. 6, 2013 at the Kenai Visitors Center.  Winners of the state level contest proceed to a national competition sponsored by the National Association of Conservation Districts.

This year’s local contest was co-sponsored by Kenai Watershed Forum, 4-H/Cooperative Extension Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service Kenai Field Office.

Prize Name Grade School Age Teacher
Grades K-1
1st Tait Cooper 1st Mt. View 7 Ms. Young
2nd Cole Langham 1st Aurora Borealis 6 Mrs. Harding
3rd Samuel Klein 1st Aurora Borealis 7 Mrs. Harding
Grades 2-3
1st Ashley Dahlman 3rd Kaleidoscope 8 Mrs. Stroh
2nd Daniel Shelden 3rd Kaleidoscope 8 Mrs. Stroh
3rd Madison McDonald 3rd Kaleidoscope 8 Mrs. Stroh
Grades 4-6
1st Cloey Followell 5th Kaleidoscope 10 Mrs. Andrea
2nd Sadie Daly 6th Kaleidoscope 11 Ms. Hackbarth
3rd Virginia Orth 6th Kaleidoscope 11 Ms. Harper
Grades 7-9
1st Jaedyn Gale 8th Connections 14 homeschool

 

 

“Where Does Your Water Shed?” Poster Contest

The Kenai Soil & Water Conservation District is happy to announce a poster contest open to students in grades K-12 in Nikiski, Kenai, Soldotna, Sterling, Kasilof and Clam Gulch.  The theme of this local, state, and national contest, “Where Does Your Water Shed?,” gets kids learning and thinking about the special place we live — the Kenai River Watershed –and how to take care of the fresh water that we need each day.  The contest is co-sponsored by Kenai Watershed Forum, 4-H/Cooperative Extension Service and NRCS.  First prize winners in each age category (K-1st, 2nd-3rd, 4th-6th, 7th-9th, 10th-12th) win $25 and the chance to compete in the state-level competition.  Second place in each age group wins $15, and third place wins $10.

Posters are due September 30, 2013 and may be dropped off at any of the following locations:

Kenai Watershed Forum — 44129 Sterling Highway, Soldotna

 4-H/Cooperative Extension Office — 43961 K-Beach Road

Kenai Soil & Water Conservation District  —110 Trading Bay, Suite 160, Kenai

Click the link below to download contest rules, watershed learning resources, and contest entry form.  Good luck!

Contest Info and Entry Form

2013 Central Peninsula High Tunnel Tour

Despite a slow start to the season, the Central Peninsula’s high tunnels have made up the lost time by yielding some impressive produce. Come check out some of this year’s abundance by attending the 2013 High Tunnel Tour. The tour features high tunnels from three different manufacturers and a variety of ventilation and irrigation systems. Times and locations are as follows:

Saturday, Aug. 10

1:00 pm – Suzanne Phillips, 35′ x 60′ Farm Tek Pro Solar Star with roll-down sides

Driveway is located on the North side of K-Beach between Ciechanski and Diamond M Ranch, directly across from Mosey Along. Look for the Phillips arch over the long driveway. High tunnel is visible on the right as you turn onto Grant.

3:00 pm – Travis Keller, two 24′ x 32′ Farm Tem Pro Solar Stars

In Soldotna, take Irons Ave. off Kenai Spur. Look for the greenhouse behind Lucky Raven Tobacco.

Saturday, Aug. 24

2:00 pm – Ginger Bouton, 30′ x 72′ Oregon Valley, semi-gabled

Take Poppy Lane to the college then go left on Poppy Ridge. Turn right on Bonita, go one block. Turn left on Fern Forest. Boutons are at 35656 Fern Forest Street.

4:00 pm – Ron Homan, 30′ x 48′ Rimol Nor’Easter

At mile 12.5 K-Beach turn left on Equestrian. Go one block to a “T” and turn left. Go to the log house on the right at the dead end.

See you at the 2013 High Tunnel Tour!

Growers and Chefs Connect at Chamber of Commerce Luncheon

It was a full house on Jan. 16 when the Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce, Kenai Soil & Water Conservation District and UAF Cooperative Extension co-sponsored a joint luncheon to promote business relationships between local restaurants and farmers.  Speakers included Alaska Division of Agriculture Marketing Manager Amy Pettit who introduced the Alaska Grown Restaurant Rewards Program.  The program, launched in 2012, reimburses food service businesses up to 20 percent for what they spend on Alaska-grown produce.  Alice Kerkvliet, owner of Michel’s Restaurant in Soldotna, said she would certainly be signing up for the new program.  She and chef Denise McCamon both sang the praises of locally-grown and said they buy it whenever possible, to the tune of 20 to 25 % of their produce purchases annually.  Judy Fischer, owner of Fischers’ Fresh Farm Produce in Kasilof, listed the health, economic and environmental benefits of consuming local, organic produce. She has sold produce to the Mermaid Cafe in Homer and would love to find buyers in the Central Peninsula area.  After the luncheon, local growers and restaurateurs had the opportunity to visit and explore possibilities for the upcoming growing season.  Click here for a Peninsula Clarion article on the event.

From the Local Press

Homegrown revolution — Gardeners expand to tackle Alaska’s food insecurity

 By Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter

Here’s something to chew on with your breakfast: The eggs for that omelet you’re eating — or the milk in your cereal, the meat in your sausage, the honey in your tea, the jam on your toast — probably wasn’t produced in Alaska. But half a century ago, it probably was.

The factors contributing to this fact are many, and about as complicated as making a soufflé in an Easy-Bake Oven with no electricity at the 17,200-foot camp on Denali’s west buttress.

Convenience, cost, and consumer demand related to those, are big parts of the equation. It’s also a product of changes in globalization, infrastructure, transportation, supply chains, the increase in corporations and conglomerations vs.. privately owned businesses, marketing strategies, subsidies, technologies and growing conditions. It doesn’t break down into an easy recipe, with one part of this to two parts of that, or three tablespoons of this whisked into four cups of that.

The result, however, is quantifiable: In 1955, 55 percent of the food consumed in Alaska was produced in Alaska. Today, a mere 5 percent of the food Alaskans eat is produced in Alaska.

And that, say experts concerned with the health, stability and economy of Alaska, is as bitter a problem as mistaking salt for sugar.

 “In 1955 we were pretty self-sufficient, but from 1955 to 2010, we have gone from being self-reliant and independent to completely vulnerable, completely dependent on the next plane,” said Danny Consenstein, director of the Alaska Farm Service Agency of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Consenstein points to three justifications for needing a better local foods system in Alaska… See the rest of the article at:  http://redoubtreporter.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/homegrown-revolution-gardeners-expand-to-tackle-alaskas-food-insecurity/

Enter the “Soil to Spoon” Poster Contest

The Kenai Soil & Water Conservation District is happy to announce a poster contest open to students in grades K-12 in Nikiski, Kenai, Soldotna, Sterling, Kasilof and Clam Gulch.  The theme of this local, state, and national contest, “Soil to Spoon,” gets kids learning and thinking about where food comes from, as well as the connection between soil conservation and the food we eat every day.  First prize winners in each age category (K-1st, 2nd-3rd, 4th-6th, 7th-9th, 10th-12th) win $20 and the chance to compete in the state-level competition.  Second place in each age group wins $10, and third place wins $5.  Prizes will be awarded 7 pm, Tuesday, Nov. 13 at the Central Peninsula Garden Club meeting at the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Building.  The entry deadline is Friday, Nov. 2, 2012.  We’d like to thank our co-sponsors, the Central Peninsula Garden Club, UAF Cooperative Extension, 4-H, and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula.  Click the following links to download contest rules and the entry form.  And good luck! 

Poster Contest Info & Rules    

Poster Contest Entry Form                 

 

Borough Schools Get Funding for Local Food

Did you know that the Alaska Legislature allocated $3 million in this year’s state budget for the pilot phase of the Nutrional Alaskan Foods in Schools grant program and that $131,135 is earmarked for Kenai Peninsula Borough schools  Register now for an introductory webinar on Sept. 14 at 9:30 – 10:30 am, or Sept. 19, 2 – 3 pm to find out how you can take advantage of this program to market your produce, perhaps in future years.  Have produce for sale right now  Contact Dean Hamburg, Student Nutrition Services Administrator at 714-8890 to let him know what’s available right here in our community.  And please spread the word to parents, teachers and students!  Local decision-makers need to hear that local people want fresh, healthy local food.

Signs of Increasing Local Food Production

Kenai Resilience, a volunteer-run community group, has published the 2012 update of its Local Foods Directory for the Central Kenai Peninsula.  The Directory includes 27 listings, up from 19 when it was first published in 2011.   Inspired by successful, season-extending Northern farmers from Tim Meyers in Bethel to Eliot Coleman in Maine, Peninsula farmers started planting and harvesting earlier this year than ever before.   Some high tunnel growers had lettuce, cucumbers, spinach, kale, and other greens for sale by late April or early May!

Local food producers are expanding their marketing channels from the traditional farmers’ markets to subscription services with weekly pick-ups (e.g., Ridgeway Farms, Winter Greens Organic Gardens, Peninsula Dairy), email or on-line ordering (e.g., Cloudberry Acres, Sarah’s Alaska Honey, Alaska Berries), U-pick operations (e.g. Jackson Gardens), and farmstand sales (e.g. Alaska Berries, O’Brien Orchards).  Buying locally supports a healthy local food economy and puts fresh, healthy food on the table for your family.  July and August are peak of the season for fresh fruit and vegetables on the Kenai Peninsula, so visit a farmers’ market or farm soon!   To view and print the 2012 Local Foods Directory, click here, or go to www.KenaiResilience.org.