Last Chilmark Community Lunch Celebrates Bountiful Harvest, Summer Songs

Connected. Privileged. Honored. Thankful. Full.

Those were a few of the words the Chilmark School fourth and fifth grade class used in their class blessing at the school’s community lunch Friday afternoon. The lunch was the last of the school year in a series of gatherings organized by Island Grown Schools and volunteers.

Grade Schoolers Learn to Love Asparagus

Robin Forte, Island Grown Schools’ Harvest of the Month guest chef for the Edgartown School, moved through the lunch room with a tray of asparagus roll-ups for students to try. As she moved from table to table she saw a pattern emerging, one that has become familiar through the course of this first year of our Harvest of the Month program. The children at first would politely say “No, thank you” to the taste test. Then one student would venture, “I’ll try it,” and then each person in turn around the table would say the same thing.

Schools Go Green for Harvest of the Month

Spring is here at last, and Island Grown Schools celebrates the appearance of the first spring greens in school gardens across the Island.

We dedicated April to greens in our Harvest of the Month program, with taste tests at every school and school meals featuring local and regionally grown greens at least twice throughout the month.

Winter Squash Transposed for Spring

As we wait for the first crops of the new growing season to appear in school gardens, Island Grown Schools’ Harvest of the Month program celebrates winter squash, one of the best storage crops to help sustain us through the long months between fall’s bounty and the first crops of spring.

Cookbook Collaborators Aim To Give Parents Sweet Relief

Thanks to a collaboration between Vineyard Nutrition and Island Grown Schools, Island families have seen their resources for healthy eating multiply in the past few months. With funding from a Mass in Motion grant, registered nutritionists Prudence Athearn Levy and Josh Levy co-wrote Vineyard Family Cooking, a booklet featuring recipes that are easy to prepare, tasty and healthy. The grant also covers the cost of a family cooking class series, taught by Mr. Levy and featuring recipes from the booklet, that began last month.

Orange, Purple, Sweet or Stamps, Island Grown Puts Potatoes to the Test

“What is it?” a student asked at an Island Grown Schools taste test this month. “It’s a potato,” said the IGS school coordinator, who was giving out little samples of roasted potatoes with rosemary for the students to try. “A what?” asked the student. “You know, French fries are made out of them,” said his friend standing nearby. “Oh, French fries, I know French fries,” the young student said. “Would you like to try it?” asked the coordinator. “No, no,” said the student, shaking his head decisively.

Island Grown Brings Farm-to-School Message to Cape Cod

A principal from Nauset Regional Middle School was looking for fund-raising ideas for a new greenhouse. School garden coordinators wondered how to keep their plots going during the summer months. A parent spoke about how to create better snack options during school hours.

And they all looked to Island Grown Schools, the Vineyard’s farm-to-school network, for answers.

Harvest of the Month: Food from the Sea

On one of the calm, unseasonably warm early December days we had last month, my husband Isaac took our three-year-old son Emmett and me scalloping in Menemsha Pond for the first time. With each dump of the drag on the culling board we were amazed by what we found — tiny sea robins and flounder that Emmett put in a bucket on the deck, jellyfish, eel grass, and an incredible bounty of bay scallops with their beautiful fan-shaped shells.

IGS Cultivates Crop of Month Program

Island Grown Schools coordinator Kaila Binney is especially excited about January.

“I have this crazy idea,” she said. “I want to get conch in the schools. It’s the biggest export on the Vineyard and nobody eats it.”

Ms. Binney, along with IGS director Noli Taylor, is launching a new program called Harvest of the Month designed to introduce Vineyard students to a new locally-grown crop each month.

Farm to School Primer

Farm to School Primer

Noli Taylor, Aquinnah resident and program coordinator for the Island Grown Initiative, will discuss the Island Grown Schools program and ways for Vineyarders and visitors to get involved on Thursday, August 21. Island Grown Schools, part of the national farm to school movement, seeks to increase the amount of Island-grown foods served in Vineyard schools, develop school gardens at every school here, increase in-class agricultural education, and strengthen ties between Island family farms and schools.