Early in 2021, Lauren Lynch received a text asking if she would be interested in applying for the position of executive director at the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society. She thought the request must be meant for someone else. Three years into her new life as a Chilmark resident, she wondered what a woman with a 15-year career in New York city’s finance industry could offer the Island’s farming community.

But on April 1, 2021, Ms. Lynch began her new job, leading the 163-year old organization.

“Among my concerns coming in was that I’m not from here, and I didn’t have experience with farms and animals,” she said in a recent interview with the Gazette. “But it became apparent that those are some of the reasons why the farmers like me. I have a fresh set of eyes and see the organization independently. I don’t have pre-conceived notions.”

Ms. Lynch’s journey to Panhandle Road began her first summer out of college, when she and her boyfriend-now-husband, chef Charles Grandquist, lived at his family’s Chilmark home. Ms. Lynch worked at Donaroma’s and toyed with the idea of being a landscape designer. Returning in the fall to Rumson, N.J., she commuted to Manhattan by ferry and worked at investment firms and hedge funds even though finance was never her passion.

In 2018, she found herself without a job after organizational restructur ing. She and her family decamped to Chilmark with the plan to seek jobs in Boston. “Charlie and I had always talked about moving here,” she recalls. “But I came from a traditional background and expected a job offering health insurance and benefits. I could never envision what I would do here.”

As the couple decided to remain on the Island, that question resolved. She met other people who had similar pathways of working in very different fields during their off-Island lives and who came to the Vineyard and began new ventures. She works with philanthropist Sam Feldman as his executive assistant and was hired by Martha’s Vineyard Bank to consult on projects including processing financial aid loans during the pandemic.

And then the Agricultural Society opportunity arose.

As the society’s executive director, Ms. Lynch is putting her organizational, administrative and people skills to work. She sees the organization’s job as being a core support system for farmers. To do that, she needs to understand what they’re going through. Much of her initial work was about getting to know the farmers and listening to their needs.

“It’s an interesting landscape for farming on the Island right now. It has such a long history here; it’s a big part of the heritage, way of life and day-to-day commerce. Recently, there have been such big changes in the number of farms and the approach to farming. There’s some tension there. I’m trying to figure out how they co-exist. My goal is to get everyone sharing again.”

She said she feels supported by the society’s active corps of volunteers who help out with everything from fundraising to marketing to organizing the Agricultural Fair. She’s quick to remind people that until recently, the Agricultural Society was run completely by volunteers.

“People are so proud of the history here — and they should be,” she said. “It doesn’t take much to get them talking. We have an amazing resource in our former trustees. They still want to be in there and share what they know.”

That friendliness has been important during her first year. Particularly last year. She was six weeks into the job when the board announced that it would hold the fair, which it had previously been announced as canceled for 2021.

“It became overwhelmingly apparent to the board that the community needed the fair,” she recalled. “When we realized we could do it safely, we made it happen — very quickly. I’m proud of how it turned out. Some of the changes we made enhanced the overall fair experience.”

She said she is looking forward to being able to implement this year’s fair in a more thoughtful and controlled way. The 2022 fair is scheduled for August 18-21.

Ms. Lynch’s work of shaping the society’s focus and identity will continue even as the fairgrounds are cleaned this weekend to prepare it for a busy summer season. She is working with David Chase of Maine, a consultant who works with a lot of Island organizations.

“We’re asking the question of what is agriculture on Martha’s Vineyard,” she said.

The goal is to create a five-year strategic plan for the society.

“We are more than just the fair. I want to strengthen people’s awareness that we are here to provide a service to farmers and the agricultural community as a whole.”