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

Eunice Youmans

Eunice came to the island as the General Manager for the Trustees of Reservations where she managed a $2.7 million portfolio of 8 properties on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket including The FARM Institute where she worked closely with IGI. Prior to the Trustees, she was the Director of External Affairs for the internationally recognized climate change think tank, The Woods Hole Research Center. There, she wrote about the climate impacts of competing land use choices on a global scale and advocated for climate smart and more sustainable land use choices.

Eunice leads the Martha’s Vineyard Food Waste Initiative - a collaboration with IGI, the Fink Family Foundation, the Island Organics Committee and the Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellowship. Betsy and Jesse Fink are deeply committed to food waste and are the founders of the nonprofit ReFED, an organization dedicated to eliminating food waste in the U.S. by 50% by 2030. Their report, The Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste identifies opportunities to prevent, recover and recycle food waste and is the model for our food waste work. The goal of the Martha’s Vineyard Food Waste Initiative is to achieve a 50% reduction in food waste on Martha’s Vineyard by 2030.

Eunice sees Martha’s Vineyard as a model for food waste management and hopes to demonstrate that being smart about food waste is not only the best financial choice but is the key to a vibrant, sustainable and resilient Island food system.

Eunice has a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University and lives in a house made of recycled telephone poles on Chappaquiddick with her children and other animals.

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

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

Tim Connelly

Island Grown Schools Program Leader

Tim graduated from Union College in 2011, and began splitting his time between farming and outdoor education programs around Massachusetts. He moved to Martha's Vineyard in 2013 to become a Farm-Based Educator at The Farm Institute, and served as TFI's Education Director through 2016. He has worked on a variety of farms around the island, and is excited to continue his work connecting the island's youth to their food.

Contact: tim@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

Katie Ruppel

Food Equity Program 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

Olivia Rabbitt

Program Coordinator

Olivia spent time learning about agriculture, food, regenerative design, and community in New Zealand, Hawaii, and Costa Rica. After graduating from Connecticut College with a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Economics, she moved to Martha’s Vineyard. Olivia worked at the Farm Institute and at Tea Lane Farm before finding her way to the Island Grown team. She believes in the healing power of food as medicine and that every person should have access to healthy, affordable food and the knowledge of how to nourish themselves and the Earth!

Contact: olivia@igimv.org

Brandee Kitzmiller

Up-Island School Coordinator

Brandee was born and raised in the blue ridge mountains of the Shenandoah Valley. She graduated from George Mason University in 2015 with a degree in community health and nutrition. She then accepted a position with FoodCorps, an Americorps partner program, and served two years in New London, CT. During this time she helped develop a district wide farm-to-school curriculum for K-8 teachers. She also worked on local farms teaching about locally grown produce. Brandee especially loves to teach hands-on outdoor lessons in the garden space.

Contact: brandee@igimv.org


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

Lynne Whiting


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.

Mary Kenworth

Vice President

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


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.

Greg Martino


Greg Martino is an entrepreneur with co-ownerships in Cottage City Oysters and A2D Productions, LLC. He also works alongside treasurers and board of directors to track and maintain finances for non-profits and for-profit businesses. He currently practices as a part-time EMT in the town of Tisbury.

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 Carney

Board Member

Allen is a marketing executive with publishing and high technology experience, and is currently a business consultant. He and his wife, Maura FitzGerald, live in Aquinnah and have hosted two friend-raisers for IGI over the past 2 summers. Allen currently serves on our Finance Committee and was engaged in the strategic planning process. He has been working with Matthew on business planning for the Farm Hub. Allen is also member of the board of Common Impact, the leading non-profit for skills based volunteering, and he has done pro-bono work with Community Servings, a Boston area non-profit offering medically tailored meals. 

Lily Walter

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.

Claudia Ewing

Board Member

Claudia planned to visit friends on Martha’s Vineyard for a few weeks during the summer of 1980 and she ended up staying for a lifetime! One of Morning Glory Farm’s first employees, she worked there for eight summers. Upon graduation from New York University in 1984 with a degree in education, she moved to Martha’s Vineyard year-round and taught at Island Children’s School for several years. Claudia was a founding member of the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School where she worked for over 20 years and served as the school's Assistant Director until her retirement in 2017. She lives in Edgartown with her husband Steve, and is the bookkeeper and office manager for the family business, Aquamarine Dock Builders. Their son Arno is a year round commercial fisherman in Edgartown and their son Niko divides his time between working for Aquamarine Dock Builders and farming on his in-law’s organic permaculture farm in New Zealand. Claudia enjoys spending a lot of time with her three beloved grandchildren. She is pleased to be given the opportunity to contribute to the objectives of IGI.

Terry Dangel

Board Member

Mark Chung

Board Member

Elio Silva

Board Member

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