When state Agriculture Commissioner Greg Watson made his swing through a series of Vineyard farms last week, there was detailed discussion about what constitutes organic farming.

Against that backdrop, two Vineyard farms are now federally certified as organic.

On Saturday all over the world, people will be celebrating the benefits of locally grown, unprocessed food as part of Food Revolution Day, an educational outreach championed by British chef and food activist Jamie Oliver. Here on the Vineyard, Island Grown Schools, led by coordinator Noli Taylor, is a shining example of how a community can promote healthy eating and support local agriculture, too.


A new grant landed by the Farm Institute in Edgartown will make it possible for Island farmers to experiment with innovative crops. The Pilot Parcels Project will make five one-acre plots available to both beginning and experienced farmers this summer.

Farm Institute executive director Jon Previant said this week it doesn’t matter how much experience the farmer has — only that they have a good idea.

“This project is aimed at increasing the amount of knowledge of alternative methods and alternative crops on the Island,” he said.


For those still trying to figure out what to do with all those leftover coffee grounds and egg shells, there is help. This weekend Felix Neck and the Polly Hill Arboretum are hosting a compost tea workshop with Ann McGovern, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s consumer waste reduction coordinator.

Wow, that’s a mouthful. Perhaps a bit of composting is in order for Ms. McGovern’s title. Like maybe, Lady Who Turns Garbage into Garden Gold. Yes, that’s more like it.

Living Local’s Meaty Side

The recent move by the Island Grown Initiative and the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society to form a partnership to consider construction of a facility where Vineyard farmers can have their sheep, cattle and pigs safely, humanely and cleanly converted to cuts of meat for sale and home use is encouraging.


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.