Island Grown Initiative Buys Dunkl Family Land in Chilmark
Remy Tumin

In an effort to protect a rare and pristine groundwater resource, the Island Grown Initiative will buy the Dunkl family property off Old Farm Road in Chilmark, leaders at the nonprofit announced Wednesday.

The 23-acre property sits at the head of the Mill Brook watershed and abuts the Roth Woodlands and Waskosim’s Rock Reservation.

Sarah McKay, president of IGI, said protecting the water source struck home with the sustainability aspect of the nonprofit’s mission.

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Keith Wilda Plans Future of Island Grown Farm
Remy Tumin

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.

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Island Grown Farm Gets Mixed Reviews
Remy Tumin

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.

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Island Grown Initiative Plots Next Chapter for Thimble Farm
Remy Tumin
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.
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Island Grown Initiative Unveils Plan to Build Slaughterhouse
Remy Tumin

The Island Grown Initiative, the nonprofit farm and sustainability network, announced an $800,000 capital campaign this week to build the Vineyard’s first U.S. Department of Agriculture permitted slaughterhouse.

In an interview with the Gazette this week, IGI president Sarah McKay and Island Grown Meat coordinator Richard Andre said the organization is considering two locations for a 3,500 square foot facility – Thimble Farm or behind the new barn at the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society in West Tisbury.

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IGI Organizes Summer Institute for Teachers

Island Grown Initiative has scheduled its first Summer Institute for Teachers, a three-day workshop for educators on the Vineyard interested in incorporating curriculum tied to farms and gardens into their classes.

The institute will run from August 11 to 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at a number of Island locations. Admission is free for Vineyard teachers, for whom professional development points will be available.

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Islanders Spring Out for Chicken Tips
Julia Rappaport

From backyard growers to full-fledged farmers, Island residents seem to have caught chicken fever.

The Island Grown Initiative hosted an all-day Vineyard workshop on the bird Saturday, which covered the ground from egg to plate.

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Island Grown Initiative Connects Farms to Schools

Island Grown Schools, the Island Grown Initiative’s farm-to-school program, is set to bring more local produce into school meals and snacks in 2009, developing a connection between cafeterias and farms that helps create a year-round market for locally-grown foods and a source of off-season income for Island farmers.

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Island Grown Initiative Lands Grant to Study Slaughterhouse
Mike Seccombe

Following on the success of the Island Grown Initiative’s mobile poultry processing unit, the organization has won a $40,000 federal grant to look at doing something similar with four-legged livestock.

The grant was announced on Friday, as officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture came to the Vineyard to school locals on how they might share in hundreds of millions of dollars available from the government.

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Island Grown Initiative Grows Good Eaters
Remy Tumin

Flowers come in all different shapes and sizes, but rarely do they come in the form of small children.

“Today you’re an apple flower,” Melinda Rabbit DeFeo, of Island Grown Schools, said as her student petals stood around her in Chilmark earlier this week. The Edgartown fourth grade had traveled to the home of Peter Norris to pick apples and learn how they grow.

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