Martha’s Vineyard’s Farm-To-School Program
Island Grown Schools empowers a new generation of children to make healthy eating choices, learn to grow food, and connect to local farms.At Island Grown Schools, we bring garden-based learning, healthy, locally grown food, and hands-on farm experiences to almost every school-aged child in our community. We work with all seven public schools on the island and with nine preschools, and reach more than 2,300 students from 2-18 years old. We lead over 1,000 lessons each year through in classroom learning, local farm field trips, and through the 15 school gardens IGS maintains throughout the year.
Building a regenerative, equitable food system on Martha’s Vineyard that engages, informs and integrates our community
A framework designed to help our students grasp the key concepts by the time they graduate from high school.
Recipes created by local chefs that highlight seasonal and locally available crops throughout the year.
Our most popular IGS lessons adapted to use at home as well as resources for starting your own garden.
Our Program has Four Main Components
We work with cafeteria directors and their staff at all K-12 schools to increase the amount of locally grown foods used in school meals. By sourcing produce, meat and fish locally in school cafeterias, school scan help maintain the vibrant agricultural and fishing heritage of Martha’s Vineyard while paving the way for life-long healthy eating habits for our students.
We work at every grade level to integrate food, farm and nutrition-based learning into classrooms. We collaborate with teachers to identify curriculum connections, and have found that every subject can be taught through the lens of food and agriculture. We also see that students with different learning styles, who do not necessarily thrive in a traditional classroom environment, often shine in hands-on lessons in the school gardens
We have established gardens at all seven K-12 schools and at nine preschools, and work with our students, teachers, school staff, parents and community volunteers to maintain them. We see our gardens as outdoor classrooms, where students not only have the opportunity to learn their school subjects, but where they are also able to deepen their connection to nature, and understand the roots of their food system.
Each year we bring students of all ages to our working island farms. This gives our farmers an opportunity to pass some of their wisdom on to the next generation, and helps our children have a deeper understanding of where their food comes from. Through experiential, hands-on projects, gleaning and farm tours, these visits also help students appreciate farming as a demanding, admirable, rewarding profession that they can aspire to when their grow up.