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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Farmers Agree on Slaughterhouse Plan
Remy Tumin

The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society and Island Grown Initiative have joined forces in a venture to build a slaughterhouse behind the fairgrounds in West Tisbury.

The project is still in the very early stages of discussion and no permits have been obtained, but preliminary talks between the agricultural society and the nonprofit IGI are under way to allow a slaughterhouse facility to be built behind the new barn on society land.

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Thimble Farm Is Saved By Two Large Donors, Island Grown Initiative Will Take Ownership
Remy Tumin

Thimble Farm, 40 acres of fertile farmland in the center of the Vineyard whose future has been uncertain for the better part of the last year, will be saved as a working farm.

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