December 17, 2018
At a time of the year to count blessings, I am blessed to count many. I work with a dedicated and talented staff that inspire me, as do the hundreds of volunteers and donors who make our work possible. This is indeed a special community but one that faces challenges of equity and access and that’s where Island Grown Initiative seeks to contribute. And in 2018, we indeed did more.
This year the Community Lunch Program served 3200 meals to children and their families. Those lunches also strengthened community and a sense of belonging. More than 100 volunteers cooked, delivered or served lunches, many of them grateful for the experience and opportunity to give back.
Our Mobile Farmers Market brought fresh, local produce to six Island neighborhoods. Volunteers in our Gleaning Program harvested over 30,000 pounds of produce, some of it becoming soups and stews to be delivered to those homebound this winter.
Our Island Food Rescue Program collected 130 tons of food waste that would otherwise have gone to mainland landfills. That waste will now become compost and enrich the soil at our Farm Hub. And we’ve introduced food waste curriculum through Island Grown Schools.
In 2019, IGI plans more innovation, expansion and new partnerships:
- Through one generous donation, we have new equipment that will enable us to triple our food waste pick-up. The truck itself is impressive but the addition of an in-vessel composting system will process more waste and faster. That means more organic matter for our Island farms and gardens.
- We are building and strengthening partnerships with key health care providers to educate their patients about the benefits of eating healthy, local foods. Wellness and prevention are critical in reducing disease and health care costs and IGI is committed to playing a role in improving access to healthy food for some of our most vulnerable neighbors.
- To that end, the Island’s public health nurse is working with us to deliver food to her patients this winter, and next summer she will run neighborhood clinics alongside our Mobile Market.
Truly, none of this would be possible without your generous support. We would be grateful for an end-of-the-year gift to support our goal of a regenerative and equitable local food system for ALL Islanders. On behalf of IGI, I wish you and yours a happy holiday and a New Year filled with love, joy and laughter. Many thanks and all the best.
Rebecca Haag, Executive Director