Island Grown Initiative Brings in the Greens

Island Grown Initiative is one step closer to transforming Thimble Farm into a local food source for Island schools.

Keith Wilda Plans Future of Island Grown Farm

His passion is soil, but his career has been inside greenhouses.

Now, as the new manager of the former Thimble Farm property in Oak Bluffs, Keith Wilda will get to do both.

“I have the best of both worlds,” he said in a brief interview following a tour for Island farmers of the property owned by Island Grown Initiative.

Mr. Wilda moved to the Island full time two weeks ago with his wife and twin two-year old daughters to run Island Grown Farms.

Island Grown Farm Gets Mixed Reviews

A vocal gathering of Vineyard farmers heard about plans for a campus-style educational agricultural center during a tour of the former Thimble Farm property this week.

Sponsored by the Island Grown Initiative, which bought the 40-acre farm in the center of the Island last year, the tour sparked a lively discussion among some 30 growers about how best to encourage growth and also ensure survival for the burgeoning network of small farms on the Island that operate with little or no subsidy. Opinion was far from unanimous.

Island Grown Initiative Plots Next Chapter for Thimble Farm

Island Grown Initiative announced preliminary plans this week for a campus-style farm center at the former Thimble Farm Property, including a refurbished greenhouse, parcels of land for tenant farmers and a slaughterhouse facility. At the farm network’s annual farmers’ dinner on Monday night, executive director Sarah McKay laid out the organization’s initial plans for the historic agricultural property.

Thimble Farm Will Be Saved

Following a summer of uncertainty and dashed hopes, the future of the Island Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program was secured last week when a farming-friendly New Jersey resident announced that he will buy Thimble Farm — and keep it in active agriculture.

Eric Grubman, an executive vice president with the National Football League, will buy the 43-acre farm from Lawrence Benson for $2.45 million. The closing is expected before the end of the year.

Changing of Guard at Thimble Farm

Andrew Woodruff emerged from a tangle of tomato vines in the Thimble Farm greenhouse last Sunday morning, carrying the first ripe tomato of the season.

“I don’t know who to give it to,” Mr. Woodruff smiled. Standing in front of him were Sarah McKay, president of the Island Grown Initiative, Eric Grubman, the former owner of the property and Allan and Shelley Holt, who recently donated money to help IGI buy the farm and keep it in active food production for future generations.

Mr. Woodruff placed the red fruit in Mr. Holt’s hand.

News Update: Monday, June 11 - Thimble Farm Saved Again as Working Farm

Thimble Farm, 37 acres of fertile farmland in the center of the Vineyard that recently went on the market for sale, will be saved as a working farm thanks to generous donations from both the owner of the property and two seasonal Vineyard residents, the Island Grown Initiative has confirmed.

Plowing New Ground

Thimble Farm has been rescued once again from possible sale into private hands. And a collective sigh of relief went around the Vineyard farming and conservation community this week at the news that thirty-seven acres of friable farmland in the center of the Island will remain in active food production, hopefully this time forever.

Whippoorwill Farm Lease Gains Reprieve for Thimble Farm

The community group working to conserve Thimble Farm as perpetual farmland was granted a reprieve this week when the owner of the land renewed a one-year lease with current tenant Whippoorwill Farm.

Land owner Eric Grubman said yesterday the deal with Whippoorwill Farm owner Andrew Woodruff was a placeholder to ensure the land stayed active while organizers behind the Vineyard Farm Project, the coalition of farmers and conservationists seeking to preserve the land, crafted a plan.

Thimble Farm Sale Price Is $2.6 Million

Island Grown Initiative paid $2.6 million for Thimble Farm, registry of deeds documents show.