Island Grown Initiative encourages and supports a resilient and accessible local food system on Martha's Vineyard. Our core programs work collaboratively to provide food and agricultural education, develop infrastructure that supports food production, and increase the supply and demand of locally grown food.

Our Programs

Island Grown Schools, our farm to school program, brings garden-based learning, healthy, locally grown food, and hands-on farm experiences to almost every school aged child in the community.

Island Grown Poultry, which runs the Mobile Poultry Processing Unit, provides small-scale mobile infrastructure for island farmers and backyard growers with an accessible, safe and humane solution for poultry processing.

Island Grown Gleaning improves access to fresh local produce by harvesting farm surplus and donating to organizations serving low-income, hungry, and marginalized community members.

Island Grown Farm Hub is an education resources site for farmers and growers, offering demonstration aquaponic and hydroponic greenhouse production, workshops and trainings, a community garden, and an orchard.

We hope that you will join us as we work to support and celebrate local agriculture. For more information or to become involved in any of our projects, please contact us at office@islandgrown.org.


History of Island Grown

2005

Dinners with key stakeholders to share a meal and talk about the issues and challenges facing our local food system.

2006

Island Grown logo and branding created.

2007

First map of island farms becomes a tool for farmers and consumers to connect. “Reasons to Buy Local Food” campaign.

Shelf signage created for farmers and markets to identify local products.

First Farmer’s Dinner brings together food producers and community members to discuss challenges such as distribution, labor, housing, access to land and infrastructure for food production.

Executive Director Ali Berlow begins work with MDAR, DPH & local Boards of Health for Poultry Processing Unit.

Noli Taylor receives Vision Fellowship to start Island Grown Schools, our Farm-to-School Program.

Joel Salatin visits island and offers advice to local farmers.

2008

Poultry Unit begins processing local chickens for farmers and backyard growers.

Island Grown Schools installs school gardens and starts working with teachers.

Application to USDA for a feasibility study into the slaughtering and processing of four-legged animals.

Workshops at Agricultural Hall to teach the community how to raise their own chickens for meat and eggs.

2009

Chicken raising workshops continue.

First Bee School to teach people how to responsibly raise honey bees and how to support our native pollinators.

Gleaning program starts and harvests about 5,000 pounds of excess produce from local farms to deliver free to community members in need.

Awarded a grant from the USDA to conduct a feasibility study on four legged slaughter.

2010

Second Bee School.

Gleaning program harvests about 10,000 pounds of excess produce.

“Local Meat is Good to Eat” fundraiser for four legged slaughterhouse.

2011

Third Bee School.

Apprentice program begins to match applicants with local farms that are in need of help.

Island Grown joins a community effort to keep the Thimble Farm property in food production.

Island Grown Schools and The Farm Institute launch a summer teen program for High School students called The Farm Project.

Gleaning program harvests 21,795 pounds of excess produce.

Edible Vineyard revises and releases the second farm map.

2012

Island Grown Schools launches a Preschool program.

Second year of Apprentice program.

Island Grown Initiative is gifted Thimble Farm.

Local boards of health approve first sales of locally processed chickens from island farms to grocery stores.

Gleaning program harvests 23,345 pounds of excess produce.

First year of the Island Grown Schools Harvest of the Month program.

Aquaponics and Greenhouse consultant Keith Wilda comes on board to help us with a plan for the acre glass greenhouse at Thimble Farm.

2013

Fields at Thimble Farm are cover cropped.

Greenhouse is 30% operational with hydroponic greens being sold to schools, restaurants and grocery stores.

Third year of our apprentice program.

Kevin Brennan receives a Vision Fellowship to plant an educational, homestead style Orchard at Thimble Farm.

Gleaning program harvests 23,992 pounds of excess produce.

Began working with South Mountain to create a Farm Hub for the Thimble Farm property.

Began meeting with neighbors and community members about plans for Thimble Farm.

Refrigerator truck donated to Island Grown for transporting gleaned produce from local farms to islanders in need.

2014

Community Garden at Thimble Farm begins.

Greenhouse is 60% operational.

Island Grown Farm Hub offers first Winter CSA.

Americorps helps us with construction projects at the Farm Hub.

Island Grown Initiative board works on organizational development.

Gleaning program harvests 26,034 pounds of excess produce.

Island Grown Schools launches seed library in collaboration with the West Tisbury Free Public Library and The Farm Institute.

2015

Joined newly created MV Agricultural Alliance with the MV Ag Society, The Farm Insitute, Living Local & Slow Food.

Slow Food & Farm Field Sea revise and release the third edition of the Farm Map. An interactive version is now available on the MV Times website

Americorps returns for the second year helping us with projects at the Farm Hub.

Kristina West receives Vision Fellowship for a Food Hub feasibility study.

Homestead style orchard planted out at Thimble Farm.