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Farmer's Market returns for its second year

Posted: Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Juneau Farmer's Market and Local Food Festival will return on Saturday, Aug. 29.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., local businesses, nonprofits and individuals will set up on the lawn of the Juneau Arts & Culture Center to sell their goods and inform the community on how to be more sustainable.

The market was started last year by the Juneau Sustainability Committee.

"We were looking at some of the sustainability issues and we felt that one we needed to address was food vulnerability in Juneau," said Eva Bornstein, a member of the Sustainability Committee. "There's a limited supply of food if anything were to happen to our links to the Seattle and the Lower 48."

The market was a way to encourage people to be more self-sustaining and showcase local businesses that produce food.

This year's market is a show case for seafood, baked goods and local plants. Taku River Reds, Northern Keta Cavier are returning and Pearl of Alaska oysters from Kake will be there too. So will Rainbow Foods, Sprout About, the Plant People and Alaska Nature Connection, which will share information about edible native plants. Chez Alaska is also coming and individuals will be their selling their produce.

This year, the Sustainability Committee invited nonprofits to have bake sales to raise money - but only as long at the bakegoods included local ingredients.

The market also has an emphasis on education and various groups will give half hour presentations. Fish and Game will demonstrate fish fileing and smoking, a local woman will teach on how to grow produce in raingutters and there may even be groups speaking about raising chicken for eggs and collecting and using seaweed.

"Our goal is to highlight buying local and educating the community on how to grow things for food and how to process the things they grow," Bornstein said.

"The farmer's market turned out to be the hardest part of the event," Bornstein said of last year. "Because there's not alot of extra produce in Juneau." She says people mainly grow enough food to eat themselves but not much to sell.

There was alot of community interest in last year's event and there was alot of positive feedback, Bornstein said. An estimated 1,200 to 1,500 people came to the one-day market.

The Sustainability Committee teams up with Juneau Economic Development Council, the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service for the farmer's market. They received a grant form the Alaska State Division of Agriculture and help from the city as well.

It's an all volunteer organized event, said Bornstein, put on by "people in the community who believe in this and wanted to help."

To learn more about the Juneau Farmer's Market and Local Food Festival, go to their Web site at juneaufarmersmarket.wikispaces.com.



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