Island residents flocked to the Climate Action Fair at Agricultural Hall Sunday afternoon to learn how they could lower their own carbon footprints.

The fair, hosted by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission’s climate action committee, had the theme “Reduce, Reuse, Renew” and showcased dozens of Island organizations committed to boosting the Vineyard’s climate resiliency.

“This year was all about, ‘How can we support our community with the skills and knowledge to take action?’” organizer Giulia Casalino said. “Every little bit makes a difference.”

The fair celebrated the commission’s climate action plan and groups had tables set up to encourage and teach Vineyarders how to mend their own clothing, compost more efficiently and trade their plastic takeout containers for reusable tins.

Laurisa Rich of the beach cleanup group Beach Befrienders showed onlookers how to make an “eco-brick,” a densely packed brick made from littered plastic and disposable water bottles that can be used for building.

“It’s one way to repurpose soft plastic,” she explained. “Wrappers, bags, just stuff them solid, absolutely compact inside a water bottle, and then you use it like a brick.”

While the eco-brick hasn’t yet caught on in Vineyard construction, Ms. Rich said the method is well-established in other countries and it is just one creative solution to repurpose litter. On top of hosting monthly beach cleanups, the organization is also planning workshops with local artists and Pathways Arts Center to find other ways to upcycle plastics.

“The goal is really just to get it off the Island before it becomes microplastics,” she said.

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) highlighted its work planting 20,000 beach grass stems at Lobsterville Beach last month. The tribe also recently finished drafting its own climate action plan after five years of work, environmental programs coordinator Beckie Finn said. The tribal council is set to vote on the plan soon.

“We have a very small but incredibly active department,” Ms. Finn said.

Polly Hill Arboretum encouraged residents to look at climate solutions in their own backyards. The arboretum’s program MV Wildtype collects seeds of native plants around the Vineyard, and sells them at the arboretum’s plant sales. The idea is that native plants that come directly from the Island are more evolutionarily equipped to work with their environment.

“When you use native plants in your garden, it’s boosting the resiliency of the whole Island ecosystem,” curator and assistant director Emily Ellingson said.

The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society, a cohost of the event, and the food security nonprofit Island Grown Initiative sat at neighboring booths to demonstrate the ideal local food production loop of farm to table to compost bucket.

As part of the commission’s climate action plan, the agricultural society is working with local farmers to establish sustainable farming practices, 4-H program coordinator Lucy Grinnan said. In turn, those practices impact Island Grown Initiatives’ goal of providing locally grown, healthy meals to food insecure families.

IGI senior director of programs Noli Taylor said that as climate change is inextricably tied to food insecurity, and as it begins to compromise global food economies, Islanders will increasingly depend on locally grown food sources.

“We saw this with Covid when so many grocery shelves sat empty,” she said. “We know we have to strengthen local food production and regional food sourcing.”

Collaboration rang out as a fourth theme for the day, and Ms. Casalino hopes to continue that at future events. She pointed to the agricultural hall’s long history as a place to learn skills and share practical knowledge, from canning parties to mending workshops.

“We want to bring back more community engagement and skill-sharing events like those,” Ms. Casalino said. “That’s so important to staying resilient.”

The MVC’s climate action committee is also partnering with events like Beach Road Weekend and the 2024 oyster festival to establish sustainable event guidelines, she said.

Ms. Casalino emphasized that Sunday’s event was meant to be an Islandwide group project. She encouraged people to reach out and provide their feedback.

“We’re all in this together,” she said.

Readers can learn more about the Climate Action Plan at or reach out at