Reducing food waste through recovery, redistribution and recycling; and increasing access to healthy, fresh food for all islanders.
Food waste and hunger are two issues that are inextricably linked. Nationwide, 40% of the food that is grown is never eaten, yet 1 in 6 Americans suffer from food insecurity. Food scraps are being thrown into the trash and hauled to landfills, yet farmers and gardeners purchase compost and animal feed produced in other communities. The solutions to these issues for Martha’s Vineyard are incubating in Island Grown’s Food Equity and Recovery initiatives.
food waste through consumer education and expanded island-wide composting
edible food for those that need it by expanding our Gleaning program
organic materials such as shells and food waste to create healthy soils and ponds for a robust food system
In 2009, we began a Gleaning program to capture crop waste and unsaleable produce from local farms. This fresh produce is then donated to social service agencies serving the elderly, youth and families facing food insecurity. Learn more on our Gleaning page.
Massachusetts passed a Commercial Organics Ban in 2014, which prohibits businesses and institutions that produce more than a ton of food waste a week from throwing it away. As a result, in 2016, a food recovery pilot began picking up food waste from restaurants to be composted at local farms as a part of an island wide composting feasibility study. This initiative has since joined Island Grown, to learn more visit the Island Food Rescue page.
In 2017, in an effort to make healthy food accessible for all islanders, we launched a Mobile Farmer's Market and a Summer Food Service Program.