Food group thinks local

As members of the Local Food Group, we are writing to thank the many people who contributed to the success of the 2nd annual Harvest Moon Local Food Week and Film Festival, from September 14-20. With the support of many individuals and organizations, this week-long community celebration of locally grown and gathered foods expanded to include an apple tasting, guided berry-picking walk, lecture on harvesting sea vegetables, two films, panel discussion with local farmers, and a community luncheon with guest speaker and video shorts.

We would like to thank Borough Mayor Mike Navarre, Kenai Mayor Pat Porter, and Soldotna Mayor Nels Anderson for supporting the mission of the Local Food Group with official proclamations. We are grateful for financial support from WalMart, Kenai Peninsula Foundation, Kenaitze Indian Tribe, and Central Peninsula Garden Club, as well as advertising and organizational support from People Promoting Wellness through Community Action, Kenai Soil & Water Conservation District, Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, and Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce. For hosting and sponsoring Local Food Week events, we offer thanks to O’Brien Garden & Trees, UAF Cooperative Extension Services, Kenai Peninsula College Residence Hall, and Soldotna Public Library. Many thanks to Abby Ala, Velma Bittick, and Conner Eller for sharing their farming experiences and advice during the evening panel discussion.

Thanks to local bakeries for donating tasty desserts for the farmer panel discussion, including Iced & Sliced and Odie’s Café. Local businesses that provided donations and offered discounts on food and other services for the luncheon included Johnson Brothers, Peninsula Processing, Sav-U-More, Soldotna Safeway, and the UPS Store. Thank you to these restaurants that featured harvest-week specials prepared with local foods: The Corner Café, Fine Thyme Café, Firehouse BBQ, The Flats Bistro, Kenai Catering, Mykel’s Restaurant, and Odie’s Café.

We appreciate Gary Ferguson from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium traveling to the Kenai Peninsula to be the guest speaker at our luncheon, and we offer a special thanks to Deb Nyquist from the Dena’ina Wellness Center for filling in at the last minute as guest speaker to share the “Store Outside Your Door” videos as well as her own insights into the many values of eating local foods. Dan Pascucci served as our master of ceremonies, and Local Food Group members donated their time to prepare a delicious, local-foods luncheon.

Finally, we would like to give special recognition to the local growers and gatherers who produced and contributed the greens, vegetables, fruits, grains, and honey for the luncheon: Abundant Blessings, Arena Valley Acres, Cloudberry Acres, Dandelion Acres, Eat Me Raw Honey, Fischer’s Fresh Farm Produce, Garden Specialties, Ionia, Lancashire Farms, O’Brien Garden & Trees, Valley Bounty, and Doug and Marne Morris.

The Local Food Group’s mission is ‘supporting local food by fostering healthy eating,’ and we welcome interested community members to join us in our efforts to celebrate and promote growing, gathering, and eating delicious and local healthy foods. To learn more about our activities, please visit, or like us on Facebook. We’re looking forward to continued support from individuals and businesses in the community for next year’s 3rd annual Harvest Moon Local Food Week!

With gratitude from the Local Food Group,

Alasha Brito, Heidi Chay, Pat Cue, Eliza Eller, Tia Holley, Liz Leduc,
Susan Nabholz, and Linda Swarner