When Rebecca Haag retires as executive director of Island Grown Initiative this spring, two experienced staffers will jointly take over leadership of the 18-year-old food systems nonprofit.

The Island Grown board of directors this week announced that senior director of programs Noli Taylor will become executive director of programs and outreach, with managing director Michelle Gittlen the executive director of operations.

“I’m really excited about this co-leadership model. Being an executive director can be lonely work,” Ms. Taylor told the Gazette Wednesday.

One of Island Grown’s first paid staffers, Ms. Taylor has been with the organization since 2006, the year it was founded as a resource for local farmers and gardeners.

“Everybody was a volunteer at that time,” she recalled.

Island Grown Schools, which fosters gardens and gardening lessons at every Island campus, arose from a Vineyard Vision Fellowship awarded to Ms. Taylor in 2007.

She also was instrumental in founding programs such as Island Grown Gleaning, which collects and redistributes surplus farm and garden produce, and the Mobile Market, a grocery truck that visits low-income Island neighborhoods with affordably-priced fresh foods.

Last year, Ms. Taylor was awarded a second Vineyard Vision grant, which she has used for training in nonprofit management with Dave Chase, a Maine-based consultant who has been working with Island Grown for more than 10 years.

“He is an invaluable resource [and] has really given me confidence I can move forward in leadership,” she said.

Ms. Gittlen, a seasonal-turned-permanent Vineyard resident who joined Island Grown about a year ago, is an attorney with a background in nonprofits and charitable giving.

“I worked with a lot of athletes around their philanthropy,” she told the Gazette.

As Island Grown’s first managing director, her role has been chiefly behind the scenes, handling matters like contracts, human resources, insurance and employee housing — “all the things that keep an organization moving forward,” Ms. Gittlen said.

The two co-executive directors are well matched to lead Island Grown Initiative, Ms. Taylor said.

“We can do the pieces that we love the best, [and] there’s built-in support for each other, that makes it what we hope will make it a sustainable and rewarding job for us both,” she said.

The new leaders will have a road map to follow: Island Grown is preparing to release its recently-completed strategic plan, Ms. Taylor said.

“It’s been such a big period of growth at IGI,” she said.

“We’re about to open employee housing at the farm [and] it’s beautiful,” Ms. Taylor said. “We have two families moving in and two single staff members.”

In addition to employee housing at the nonprofit’s farm in Vineyard Haven, Island Grown is preparing to move the Island Food Pantry to a permanent location in Oak Bluffs, the Island Food Center, expected to open in June.

“Those are two really big steps,” Ms. Taylor said.

Island Grown also will continue working with Vineyard schools, practicing regenerative farming practices and producing meals from its commercial kitchen in Vineyard Haven, she said.

“There’s a lot that we have under way, and a lot more exciting things on the horizon,” Ms. Taylor said.

Ms. Haag, who was named executive director in May of 2016, told the Gazette last month that she plans to step down once the employee housing and Island Food Center have opened.