The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources has awarded Island Grown Schools $12,000 in grant money. The grant is part of a larger $200,000 awards program doled out to seven “buy local” organizations across the commonwealth, and will be used to support Island Grown Schools’ efforts to bring more fresh, healthy and locally produced foods to school cafeterias.

Island Grown Schools coordinator Noli Taylor said a portion of the grant money will be used to preserve Martha’s Vineyard–grown food picked in the summer months, so that it may be used in school meals throughout the fall and winter. Additional funds will be used to source locally grown meat, eggs and dairy for school lunches, and to support from-scratch cooking in the new meals program planned for the Chilmark and West Tisbury schools next year.

“We are honored and thrilled to be a part of this important effort by the state to support food grown here in Massachusetts,” said Ms. Taylor. “It is wonderful that the Department of Agricultural Resources recognizes the importance of introducing children to eating locally produced foods and understands the opportunity to create new markets for local farms and support local economies by building relationships between farms and school cafeterias.”