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Sitka hosts conference of southeast Alaska farmers

February 15, 2019 GMT

SITKA, Alaska (AP) — Farmers in southeast Alaska are set to meet for a weekend of networking and workshops that aim to better equip the food growers.

The Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit begins Friday in Sitka, bringing together local farmers and outside commercial agriculture experts, the Daily Sitka Sentinel reported .

The biennial summit started in 2015, with organizers hoping for it to be place for farmers to share advice about producing food in a challenging growing environment. The previous two summits were held in Petersburg and Haines.

The conference serves as a resource for commercial growers and gardeners who want to take their skills up a notch, said organizer Laura Schmidt, lead gardener for the Sitka Local Foods Network. Farmers in southeast Alaska can learn from meeting with each other, she said.

“Everyone’s doing exactly what you’re doing, and they’ve problem solved a lot of things,” Schmidt said. “It’s very inspiring. It’s extremely helpful. ... Instead of digging by yourself, you have a team to help make sense of what you’re doing better.”

Andrea Fraga, co-owner of Middle Island Gardens, runs one of Sitka’s three commercial agriculture businesses that grow produce for consumption. Fraga and co-owner Kaleb Aldred grow numerous vegetables, including garlic, root crops, lettuce and kale, which they distribute to members of their Community Supported Agriculture business. They are participating in the summit.

“For me it’s surprising how many folks in southeast are doing commercial agriculture,” Fraga said. “At the first one, it was really inspiring. There was a lot of good information for home gardeners as well.”


Information from: Daily Sitka (Alaska) Sentinel,