Our Staff

Our staff is responsible for bringing our mission into the community through our education programs, food system work and farmer outreach.


Rebecca Haag

Executive Director

Rebecca Haag is a long-time social justice advocate with extensive experience in creating, building and transforming organizations.  She was most recently the CEO of the AIDS Action Committee of MA, and has served on many nonprofit and business boards.  She has been an executive in the government, business and nonprofit sectors, always motivated to identify and solve critical problems and seize opportunities.

For example, working with the Obama Administration, Rebecca helped lead the effort to create the first ever National AIDS Strategy with measureable goals, objectives and timelines.  In another leadership position, she help launch the American Business Collaboration for Quality Care, raising over $150M from Fortune 500 companies to invest nationwide in community-based programs for childcare, after school programs and elder care.  She received numerous national recognition and awards for both efforts. 

Working with the IGI board, colleagues and community partners, Rebecca envisions building a safe, sustainable and equitable food system for the Island.

She has a BA from Wells College in Economics, MBA from Boston University and honorary PhD in human services from Simmons University.  She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Eastern Bank and is a trusted advisor to several regional nonprofit organizations.

Contact: rebecca@igimv.org

Noli Taylor

Community Food Education Director

Noli graduated from Haverford College in 1999 with a degree in urban studies and environmental science. Since then, she has done environmental and agricultural advocacy and organizing work with non-profits and community groups from Philadelphia to Seattle, Albuquerque to Kauai. She began working on agriculture issues in Hawaii, organizing around genetic engineering and community food security, and helped launch IGS in 2007. She is also a mother of two young children and lives with her family in Aquinnah.

Contact: noli@igimv.org

Matthew Dix

Farm Hub Director

Matthew has a passion for intensive small scale agriculture and has been growing and processing chickens using the mobile unit since its early days in 2007. Matthew and his wife Rebecca live in Chilmark with their three children where they have owned and operated North Tabor Farm since 1994.

Contact: matthew@igimv.org

Sophie Abrams

Food Equity and Recovery Director

Sophie Abrams was born and raised on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard. After graduating from the University of Vermont with a BA in Sociology and a minor in Environmental Studies, she lived in Colorado, Wyoming, California, and Costa Rica. She returned to the east coast to attend Marlboro Graduate School where she earned an MBA in Managing for Sustainability. Since moving back to the Island in 2011 she has worked in renewable energy, affordable housing, and is now the Project Manager of the Island-Wide Organics Feasibility Study and Program Manager of Island Food Rescue. Building on her graduate school thesis project of studying the feasibility of composting food waste on the Island, she is living out her dream of making the Island more self-sufficient by processing food waste locally.

Contact: sophie@igimv.org

Emily Armstrong

Development Manager

Emily has done food systems education and worked on farms since 2008, and brings a deep love of the island's agricultural heritage to her work with Island Grown. Together with her husband Taz and son Theo she grows a large vegetable garden and raises most of her own meat. Emily founded the preschool program for Island Grown Schools in 2012. 

Contact: emily@igimv.org

Natalie Poole

Administrative Assistant

Natalie was born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard and graduated from MVRHS. During her senior year she did a mentorship with Island Grown Schools and helped build and maintain the high school’s garden. She attended Bridgewater State University and graduated in 2016 with a degree in business management and minor in health services management. Outside of the office you can find Natalie reading a book or baking in her kitchen.

Contact: natalie@igimv.org

Taz Armstrong

Greenhouse Manager

Taz has worked in agriculture since he came to the island in 2009. In 2010 he started working with IGI's poultry crew, since then he has helped with almost all of IGI's various programs. He manages the greenhouse at Thimble Farm. Taz enjoys raising and butchering rabbits and ducks.

Contact: taza@igimv.org

Alex Parris

Assistant Greenhouse Manager

Alex Parris is a graduate of Stockbridge School of Agriculture and UMASS Amherst where he majored in Sustainable Horticulture and Plant Soil and Insect Sciences and acquired an A.S. and B.S. in them respectively. He has a primary interest in closed-loop environmental systems as well as food production and spends his time gardening and tending to his aquariums and terrestrial enclosures.

Contact: alexp@igimv.org

Marissa Quell

Greenhouse Technician

Marissa is originally from Fort Worth, Texas and moved to Massachusetts to do research with the New England Aquarium in order to complete her Master's degree in Aquaculture. Her primary interests involve breeding aquarium fishes and ocean conservation. Marissa also volunteers at the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary where she cares for and collects animals from Sengekontacket Pond. She lives with her wife, Brit, and their French Bulldog, Franklin in West Tisbury.

Contact: marissaq@igimv.org

Kaila Allen-Posin

Island Grown Schools Program Leader

Kaila Allen-Posin has been working with Island Grown Schools since 2010. She began her work as an IGS coordinator, bringing island students in grades K-12 into the school gardens and onto local farms to explore where their food comes from. While she was going through her MEd program at Antioch New England, she created the Island Grown Schools curriculum toolkit, an online resource that connects IGS lessons to national and state standards. She lives with her husband and two children on the Allen Farm, from where much of her inspiration and appreciation for the work of Island Grown Schools comes. 

Contact: kaila@igimv.org

Tim Connelly

Island Grown Schools Program Leader

Tim comes to us with a strong background in farm-based education and with extensive farming and gardening experience. He was a Farm-Based Educator at the Farm Institute in 2013 and 2014 and moved on to serve as TFI's Education Director until 2016. He's spent the last year as the Garden Manager at the Grey Barn, developing their vegetable growing operation. He has led education programming in most of our island schools and is familiar with the island farming community.

Contact: tim@igimv.org

Jamie Tara O'Gorman

Gleaning Program Leader

Jamie began gleaning as a volunteer and became Program Leader in 2011, when she expanded the scope of the program. Growing up in rural Nova Scotia gave Jamie a deep nature connection and insight into issues of consumerism and waste. When IGI began, Jamie was working at Native Earth Teaching Farm, giving farm tours, spinning wool, and growing in the community garden while homeschooling. Since that time, she has witnessed, with amazement, the growth and revival of a robust local food system on Martha's Vineyard. Jamie now runs Quanaimes Gardens - a small farm in Chilmark with fruit trees, berries, flowers, chickens, goats, and annual vegetables.

Contact: jamie@igimv.org

Kaylea Moore

Accounting Administrator

Kaylea grew up on Martha’s Vineyard and graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in Latin American Studies and a concentration in Art History. After graduating college she spent time traveling in South America and Europe. Settling down in Boston, she worked for an educational travel organization and studied Gastronomy at Boston University, where she learned to analyze food systems and was able to cultivate her love of food and cooking. She moved back to the Vineyard to cook professionally, write about food and began working part time at Island Grown Initiative in 2012. When she is not at the computer crunching numbers, she is working with the Island community as the Legislative Liaison to Martha’s Vineyard and coaching field hockey and lacrosse. 

Contact: kaylea@igimv.org

Mary Sage Napolitan

Community Food Educator and Mid-Island School Coordinator

Mary Sage is a born and raised Islander with a degree in Environmental Studies and Ecological Agriculture from the University of Vermont. Before joining IGS she worked as a farmer, nature sanctuary ranger, writer and gardener. She is now focused on encouraging people of all ages to connect with the earth, caring for gardens and animals around the island, and occasionally publishing environmentally related writing. 

Contact: marysage@igimv.org

Katie Ruppel

Up-Island School Coordinator

Katie graduated from Texas Christian University in 2010 with a degree in photojournalism. In her hometown of Fort Worth, she taught photography in an after school program and helped build community gardens around the city. After moving to Martha’s Vineyard to work for the Gazette, she has continued to freelance for several publications while also baking bread at Orange Peel Bakery and spending time in her garden. She enjoys sharing her passion for local food with students of all ages.

Contact: katie@igimv.org

Ava Castro

Preschool Coordinator

Ava Castro grew up on Martha’s Vineyard and graduated from the Charter School. She attended Hampshire College where she created her own major in agriculture and alternative education, and wrote her thesis on the use of farming as an educational tool in schools. She has a background in early childhood education, has worked at two other island educational programs, and has experience with farming and gardening.

Contact: ava@igimv.org

Suzie Scordino

Down-Island School Coordinator

Suzie is the K-12 Farm to School Educator at Oak Bluffs Elementary and Martha's Vineyard Regional High School. She was born in Sudbury, Massachusetts, and later moved to Georgia. After graduating from Boston College's School of Education, she worked on and ran Farm Camp at a grass-fed beef and vegetable farm in Connecticut. She then assistant managed an herb and flower farm north of Boston. Suzie loves working with kids outside - getting them growing plants and seeing the great things we can do with all their hard work!

Contact: suzie@igimv.org​

Gabrielle Chronister

Harvest of the Month chef

Gabrielle graduated from Northeastern University in 2013 with a degree in environmental economics. But her love for food and nutrition brought her back to the Island where she grew up surrounded by great family cooks and delicious food. Before joining IGS she owned and managed a raw & whole food eatery called Healthy Habit in Edgartown MA, which focused on allergy friendly and plant-based food. As a new mom she is, now more than ever, so excited to share her love for healthy cooking with the local students and Island community. 

Contact: gabrielle@igimv.org

Kat Soni

Program Manager

Kat studied Communication and Education at Umass Amherst. After graduating, she volunteered in New Zealand on a variety of farms, homesteads, and eco-retreat centers. She spent the last 3.5 years in Australia doing administrative work and exploring the beautiful and diverse natural landscapes. Kat is interested in leading a healthy, joyful lifestyle and learning how to co-create healthy, joyful communities that are regenerative and abundant in nature. 

Contact: kat@igimv.org

Board

We are grateful for the service of our wonderful volunteer board members!


Randi Baird

President

Randi is a Martha’s Vineyard based editorial and commercial photographer specializing in food, lifestyle and portrait work. To see her work click here. For over 25 years, she has used her photographs as a means for communication, education and social change. Her images have received worldwide attention and have been distributed by the Associated Press, United Press International, published in Food + Wine, Edible Manhattan, and Edible Vineyard. She is a regular contributor to Martha’s Vineyard Magazine. Her first Cookbook, Simple Green Suppers, published by Roost Books, is due out this year. Randi is a founding member of Island Grown Initiative and has been active with the organization since its inception. She lives in West Tisbury with her husband and two sons.

Simon Athearn

Treasurer

Simon Athearn Lives in West Tisbury in his Great Grandparents farmhouse, with his wife Robyn, and their children Rose and Ignatius who are the 12th generation of Athearn’s on the Island. Simon is the CEO of Morning Glory Farm, working alongside his parents, and his brother Daniel. Schooled first as a pastry chef, Simon left the west coast to return home to work on the family farm. Simon is an aspiring English tea rose gardener, vegetable fanatic, trumpet player, and enjoys spending time on the Tisbury Great Pond with his family.

Lynne Whiting

Clerk

In the 1970s, Lynne taught at the Island Children School. She worked for MVCS Early Childhood Programs in the 1980s supervising Family Day Care providers and establishing the then new Center. She also taught at the WT School and Chilmark Schools until 2001. In 2002, she began to establish programs for the Education Department at the MV Museum, including work on the whaling website: girlonawhaleship.org. Lynne has served as a Trustee of the WT Library, on the Board at the MV Historical Society (now MVM), as a patient volunteer for Hospice of MV and most recently as Vice Chair of the WT Library Foundation. Lynne lives on the Whiting Farm, where her husband Allen’s family have shepherded sheep for generations. She considers herself a backyard farmer tending their family garden, while her children have raised pigs and chickens.

Karen Davis

Board Member

Karen has been an educator for 40 years, starting at the Chilmark Community Center summer program in the 1970s. She has gardened & homesteaded for the last 36 years, and runs a small farm raising organic grass fed beef, hay and maple syrup in central Mass with her husband Dave. They come as often as possible to Martha’s Vineyard to see their son Jake, his wife and their children.

Lindsey Scott

Board Member

Lindsey is the Executive Director of MVYouth, a community fund established to support island organizations serving children and teens, and provide college scholarships to high school seniors. Lindsey brings a background in non-profit work, education and animal farming to IGI. Lindsey created Cinema Circus for the MV Film Festival, and established an elementary art program at the Charter School. She serves on the School Advisory Council for the Chilmark School and on the Board of the Chilmark Preschool. Lindsey and her husband Josh also run the animal enterprises of Beetlebung Farm with their two children. They raise local beef, pork and lamb.

Sarah McKay

Board Member

Sarah grew up in rural Northern Ireland and graduated first in class from the University of Ulster at Magee College with a B.A in Business Enterprise Development. As a Fulbright Scholar Sarah attended U’Mass Amherst and graduated with a Masters in Regional Planning. Her interest in community economic development led her to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission where she worked as an intern while completing graduate school. Sarah became involved in the local food system through her role as store manager for Cronig’s Markets for over 15 years. She is currently the Executive Director of the Martha's Vineyard Community Horse Center. Sarah lives in West Tisbury with her husband Tim.

Albert O. Fischer

Board Member

Albert is an 11th generation islander who grew up on a farm in Chilmark. Two years after graduating from the MVRHS, he was drafted and served in Vietnam. He was wounded three times while in combat, awarded a purple heart and two bronze stars. For a few years after the war he fished on commercial boats, dragging, lobstering and sword fishing. He has been an estate manager for the past 40 years. Albert is a gatherer at heart and loves living off the land, growing vegetables, hunting and harvesting fish and shellfish from the Island’s waters. He has four grown children and lives in West Tisbury with his wife. Albert is an avid photographer.

Mitzi Pratt

Board Member

Mitzi Pratt is a hand bookbinder from Aquinnah. She has been a key participant in a number of notable efforts to protect and improve Martha’s Vineyard’s fragile environmental, economic and social structure, including The Moshup Trail Conservation Project, the acquisition and restoration of the Vanderhoop Homestead, and most recently, the acclaimed relocation of the Gay Head Lighthouse. Mitzi is a current member of Aquinnah’s Housing Committee, Conservation Committee, and Community Preservation Committee. She has previously served on the Aquinnah Arts Council and the boards of The Polly Hill Arboretum, The Friends of Family Planning, and Conway & Pratt Projects Inc, based in New York City. A long time supporter of locally raised food with an abiding concern for social justice she is delighted to be joining the IGI team. 

Allen Rugg

Board Member

Allen Rugg practiced law as a civil litigator and trial lawyer in Washington, DC and Boston for over forty years. Allen and his wife, Suzanne Boyer, live in Aquinnah with their golden retriever, Henry. They have an adult daughter, Aubyn, son in law, Andre, and two grandchildren. Allen sits on the Finance Committee of Aquinnah.

Jessica Roddy

Board Member

Jessica works full-time from Martha's Vineyard as in-house counsel to a company in California. In her spare time she is an enthusiastic gleaner, delivers Meals on Wheels, serves on Chilmark's affordable housing committee and plays her cello in various island groups. She also started the Community Groceries Program which has donated over $20,000 worth of food to the island food pantries. She has two children who graduated from MVRHS and are off to college and two dogs who intend to stick around.

Mary Kenworth

Board Member

Mary co-owns and operates State Road Restaurant in West Tisbury and Beach Road Restaurant in Vineyard Haven. Both restaurants are dedicated to supporting the local food shed and sourcing from Island farmers, fisherman and food artisans. Mary lives in Vineyard Haven with her husband Jackson and their two Irish Terriers, Berto and Daphne.

Juliana Germani

Board Member

Juliana is a native Brazilian who moved to the island in 2014.  She graduated from the University of Sao Paulo with a BA in Portuguese Studies and a minor in English as a Second Language (ELS). She is a Portuguese language teacher at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School. She also serves as a liaison and advocate for the Brazilian English Language Learners students.

Juliana is also the Brazilian Columnist for the Martha’s Vineyard Times and in 2016 won the New England Newspaper and Press Associations award for Racial and Ethnic Reporting for her profile of a jailed Brazilian man facing deportation.  She is the ESL teacher for the Brazilian Baptist Church in Vineyard Haven.  In her free time she volunteers with the Martha’s Vineyard Museum and Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival.

Lily Walters

Board Member

Lily grew up in Atlanta, but her family moved to Martha's Vineyard in 2003.  She graduated from Dickinson College in 2008 with a degree in Anthropology and Women's Studies. After stints in California -- where she worked on a backcountry trail-building crew -- and Georgia -- where she worked for the Department of Natural Resources on a prescribed fire team, she returned to MV to be the field crew manager at Morning Glory for two seasons. 

In 2011, she started Slip Away on a leased one-acre parcel from the Farm Institute, delivering produce to 10 CSA members on Chappaquiddick and selling at the West Tis Farmer's Market. In the fall of 2012, the farm moved to its current home on Chappaquiddick, on land jointly owned by the MV Preservation Trust and the MV Land Bank.

After six years, the farm now operates a 65 family vegetable CSA, a 30-member flower CSA, a weekend farm stand and continues to sell at the West Tisbury Farmers Market as well as several Edgartown restaurants. Along with her co-farmer Collins, Lily became the volunteer Farmer's Market Manager last fall. 

Carla Giles Cuch

Board Member

Carla was born and raised on Martha's Vineyard and is a member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, Aquinnah.  Carla is co-owner of a seasonal gift shop at the Gay Head Cliffs that her mother started over seventy-five years ago. Having grown up in a large extended family who lived off of the natural resources of fishing, whaling, hunting and gathering, she values this way of life and wants to see these traditions continue for all generations to come. Currently, Carla serves on the Tribal Human Service Committee. Carla is a Mother, Grandmother, and Tribal Elder.


Founding Executive Director


Ali Berlow

Ali Berlow is the founding executive director of Island Grown Initiative. She resigned in January 2011 to return to food writing.

Ali's first book, The Mobile Poultry Slaughterhouse: Building a Humane Chicken Processing Unit to Strengthen Your Local Food System, was published in 2013 by Storey Publishing. Temple Grandin wrote the foreword. It is a step-by-step practical guide depicting IGI's poultry program. It addresses the scarcity of humane slaughterhouses available to small-scale farmers in the US and how to overcome the barriers to building one.

Her most recent book, The Food Activist Handbook; Big & Small Things You Can Do to Help Provide Fresh, Healthy Food for Your Community, also from Storey Publishing, is described as the 'Our Bodies Our Selves' of food activism by New York Times best selling author, Alice Randall, in the foreword. Additional praise comes from Michael Pollan who tweeted "Just what the food movement needs now: The Food Activist Handbook, for anyone hoping to build a local food system, by @AliBerlow. Well done!" and Civil Eats named it one of the Best Food and Farm Books of 2015

Ali is the co-publisher of Edible Vineyard magazine with her husband Sam Berlow. She is a co-host of WCAI's Local Food Report and is launching The Gleaning - a radio focused multi-media production company about food. She lives in West Tisbury, MA and Putney, VT.

Ali is a sought after speaker about food activism, humane slaughter and what we can do to help create a just, equitable and fair food system for all. Visit her website for all speaking engagements.

Contact: ab@aliberlow.com