Island Grown Initiative’s Farm Hub, a nonprofit farming and education resource, will see a change in management as director Keith Wilda leaves to take a job off-Island.

Longtime Land Bank property manager Matthew Dix will replace Mr. Wilda, according to IGI director Rebecca Haag.

Ms. Haag said the transition is both happy and sad.

“We are extremely sad to see Keith leave, but we are also thrilled that Matthew has agreed to come on board to succeed him,” she said. “If feels like that will be a seamless transition.”

Mr. Wilda will formally depart at the end of this month but remain with IGI as a senior consultant and will continue to work on projects that are in progress, the organization said. He will also help with the leadership transition over the summer until Mr. Dix joins the organization full-time in the fall.

Mr. Wilda transformed operations at IGI, Ms. Haag said. He joined the program about five years ago, as the organization was taking ownership of the former Thimble Farm. During his tenure he helped with a complete restoration of the greenhouse into a demonstration aquaponic and hydroponic facility, using tanks of rainbow trout to provide nutrients for plants. He also created several community initiatives with Island schools and farmers.

Mr. Wilda, who lives off-Island, told the Gazette that he plans to devote more attention to his three fish farms and alternative energy projects, though he will always be happy to come back to the Vineyard and help out at the Farm Hub.

“I'm only leaving as full-time status, that's the way I look at it,” he said.

Mr. Wilda said everything that's been achieved has been thanks to group effort.

“I can't say enough about the three staff members at the greenhouse,” he said. “And without the volunteers, there's no way we'd get half of what we got done. ”

Ms. Haag had praise for the departing manager.

“Keith just provided unbelievable strength and perseverance for the organization for the past five years,” Ms. Haag said. “He’s been willing to pick up whatever had to be done.”

“In many ways he’s an educator, he’s a doer, he did a phenomenal job getting that greenhouse up and running,” she said. “His real skill is to engage others, share enthusiasm and teach young people how to pick up new techniques. He will be very missed.”

Mr. Dix is a longtime resident of the Island and owns and operates North Tabor Farm with his wife, Rebecca. He has worked with IGI for years, overseeing the mobile processing unit.

Mr. Wilda said Mr. Dix was one of the first people he ment when he first came to the Island.

“He's a great farmer, a great guy, very personable," Mr. Wilda said. “I think it's awesome that he's willing to take this on.”

Ms. Haag agreed.

“Because he farms on the Vineyard himself, he has a real appreciation for ways IGI may be able to assist or help farmers with their own plans,” she said. “He will bring many new creative ideas to the Farm Hub.”

Ms. Haag said she looks forward to a smooth transition.

“I feel like I am very lucky this worked out the way it did,” she said.