Empowering a new generation of students to make healthy eating choices, learn to grow food and connect to local farms.
At Island Grown Schools, we bring garden-based learning, healthy, locally grown food, and hands-on farm experiences to almost every school-aged child in our community. We work with all seven K-12 schools on the island and with ten preschools, a total of over 2,500 students from 2-18 years old. We have installed and help maintain 16 school gardens, and lead over 1,000 classroom lessons and 75 farm field trips each year.
Last school year we led:
with children ages 2 through 18 years.
Every month we serve
to every student and school staff member.
IGS was launched as a program of Island Grown Initiative, a community non-profit dedicated to increasing the supply and demand of locally grown food on Martha’s Vineyard, in December of 2007. We knew that long-term food system change work needed to begin with children, but weren’t sure of the best way to create a farm to school program that would best suit our community. So we began with a series of monthly community meetings, that continued for over a year, bringing as many people from the island as possible together to share ideas about how to build this program.
Our meetings soon divided up into working groups, one for each of the seven public schools, and in the years since then, each school’s program has evolved individually and organically. As an organization, IGS moved from being an all-volunteer force to now having a part-time paid coordinator at each of our K-12 schools, one for our preschool program, high school work study students and one pre-professional interns. We now have a curriculum of core units for every grade level: garden and agriculture-based lessons that tie to national and state teaching frameworks available to download free. And we have a broad base of community members and island businesses who contribute to the program with their time, their skills, and their finances to ensure that this work can continue over time.