WIN Minutes 3-19-13

Nenana Wellness Coalition


March 19, 2013

There were 12 in attendance today, including:  Kat & Leon McElroy, Davud Poppe, Mary Alexander, Jessica Durtsche, Tim Horn, Virginia Young, Rosemary Allen, Audrey Roth, Margret Sanders, Jeannie Bennet  & Emily Troxel.

We enjoyed moose beef enchiladas, fresh mixed green sprouts, farmstead cheddar cheese, and rhubarb crisp for lunch.


The Nenana Wellness Coalition is an alliance of representatives from various organizations, government agencies, community groups and individuals that meets weekly to discuss, evaluate, coordinate, consolidate, celebrate and help implement plans for improving the wellness and quality of life in Nenana Alaska.


WELCOME followed by the READING OF MISSION STATEMENT, by this week’s chair-person: Tim Horn


PRAYER was led by Jeannie Bennet, followed by the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIENCE


PRESENTATION OF AGENDA AND CALL FOR MODIFICATIONS: There were one addition to the agenda.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Posted on the WIN link at and submitted electronically to the WIN e-list.


INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS: No new guests this week



Tobacco Control MOA: Rosemary Allen presented the WIN members with a proposed memorandum of Agreement for Railbelt Mental Health & Addictions. This will be used as part of the tobacco prevention grant request they are currently writing. This new tobacco grant will be for a four year period of time. RMHA has had tobacco grants for ten years; their participation in the wellness coalition was initiated with their first tobacco grant in 2003. WIN has always supported RMHA prevention activities; RMHA has always supported WIN activities. Kat mentioned that 91 % of the youth she did intakes with in the past 18 months self-reported tobacco use while almost 60% of adult clients reported tobacco use. These numbers are higher than statewide averages. She explained some of the dynamics that create these disparities. Rosemary said that this grant would have a much wider scope than previous tobacco grants. WIN approved the MOA by voice consent.




Nenana Health Fair: Tim Horn reminded us the Fair is next week, Wednesday. They have scheduled set-up for 4:30 PM the day before, Tuesday, the 26th; she requested David and Leon to arrive earlier to help load, move and set up tables borrowed from Civic Center or the tribal hall. Blood draws will be from 7-8:30 AM (Don’t forget this requires a ten hour fast). Exhibits will be from 9 AM-1 PM. We will have a massage therapist doing 15 minute massages by drawing and there are door prizes from H2Oasis, Workshop Acres, Play it Again Sports and Sunshine Health Foods, to name a few.


Seed Savers: Virginia Young handed out some flyers she got from a person at the SARE conference who has a business in Fairbanks called Pingo Seeds, retailing garden vegetable and potatoes for seed. He obtained seeds initially from Belarus which has a similar climate to ours and has been growing them as plants and saving seed in the Goldstream Valley for several years so they are now locally adapted. Virginia suggests that we could use his seeds in Nenana. Kat said she bought some seeds from him two weeks ago and will put them to seedlings; she is willing to share these with people interested in saving seeds for a seed bank of locally adapted seeds.


SARE Conference Report: David Poppe stated that the preconference workshops were focused on rain catchment systems in Texas and a farmer-to-farmer education program in the mountains of New Mexico. The morning workshop included hundreds of photos of various rain barrel and cisterns systems in Texas that could be adapted for use in the sub-arctic. David thought it was interesting that in Texas and Colorado if you catch rain from your roof it becomes your property but if you divert rain water once it has hit the ground you could be charged with theft for the water then belongs legally to the state. Water rights are huge issues for those people. The afternoon presenter was a man from New Mexico whose family has farmed the same area for hundreds of years; he said that to remain economically viable he had become a certified vegan organic producer. The focus of his workshop was the hows and whys of developing farmer-to-farmer education and cooperatives. By mentoring beginning farmers, he has been able to develop expanded markets including producing local foods for school cafeteria programs, a process which required changes in state policies that took over seven years. Without collective bargaining and lobbying force, this would not have been possible, he said.

The first day of the conference, both of these gentlemen did shorter versions of their larger workshops. Other presenters included Ken Meter who talked about the economics of sustainable agriculture in Alaska, Birch Products and the production of birch syrup in Talkeetna, and Running Reindeer Ranch in Fairbanks. There was a presentation about the  Campus Community Garden  and lastly, Different Paths to Farm Fertility, a panel discussion, which included many different strategies for increasing soil fertility.

David did his presentation on Nenana Urban Farm on Thursday morning; Kat was the time keeper. David had added more photographs to the PowerPoint presentation they provided to WIN several weeks ago so it was an effort to keep it to the strict 20 minute limit.  Overall, it was well-received, as was the four-pound block of cheese they sliced and added to the lunch menu. Many people asked and were disappointed to find that they could not purchase cheese.  Other workshops that day included: Passive Solar Greenhouse, by Rosemary Allen’s niece, Emily Garrity, of Twitter Creek Garden,from Homer; Organic Weed Control by Charlotte Jewell of Jewell Gardens and Garden City Glassworks in Skagway and  Growing Grains by Bob Van Veldhuizen of the UAF School of Natural Resources and Ag. David and Kat missed the afternoon sessions but Virginia Young said they were all interesting, especially the last on Expanding Agriculture in Interior Alaska. She mentioned Bryce Wrigley who has created a market for flours and milled grains from his place in Delta Junction, now being marketed across the Interior. She also reminded us that the new Coop food store in Fairbanks will be opening soon.


WELLNESS THOUGHT:  Nobody gets to live life backwards. Look ahead, this is where your future lies. ~Esther Lederer- (Better known as An Landers)


Jessica: Her sweet basil starts are up already!

Mary: It’s good to be back. She’s been busy with grandkids and day-to-day stuff.

Audrey: Her Prius had problems this winter.

Jeannie: Is being Grandma for four days while Bill and Rebecca are in Glenallen.

Virginia: The card playing went so well at Meda Lord Senior Housing they are going to do it again this Thursday evening starting around 6:30 PM.

David: Last week he bought 300 bales of hay from a Delta farmer. Is looking also into buying barley by the ton.

Kat: Put a deposit down yesterday on the purchase of six weaner piglets to be delivered around May first. She and David will be raising them for market meat. Also, she has started weekly yoga sessions in Fairbanks.

Tim: Bonnie sends her regrets: she had appointments in town today.

Wednesday and Thursday are parent/teacher conferences at NCPS, 3:30-6:30 PM.

Saturday night will be the Alumni v/s current Lynx basketball game in the gym.

Thursday the 28th is our Choose Respect March starting at ten in the morning at the Depot. Also that night a community pot luck dinner at the tribal hall.

April First is the book club meeting at Karen Harvey’s house, 7 PM. They are reading Death Come To The Arch Bishop.

April 2, 3, and 4 there will be state testing at the school.

April 10th will mark the tenth anniversary of our WIN Coalition.



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