Team effort helps grow Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School garden

Chef Chris Fischer worked with Culinary Arts students to prepare last Wednesday's meal. — Photo by Kaila Binney

Island Grown Schools (IGS) hosted a gourmet three-course dinner Wednesday evening, April 4. The event raised money for a new garden at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) where students can grow fresh food to be served in the school cafeteria. IGS, which promotes locally grown food in Island schools, is part of Island Grown Initiative, which supports local, sustainable agriculture.

“The purpose of the MVRHS garden is to establish an outdoor classroom and learning lab that engages students in natural cycles and the process of growing food,” wrote Kaila Binney, the IGS coordinator at MVRHS and the Oak Bluffs School, in an email. “The garden is a school-wide collaboration between classroom teachers, student groups, Island Grown Schools, and the Vocational Education program. It will transform an unused courtyard into a beautiful and productive growing space, and will provide endless opportunities for the school community to be involved, through a wide range of curriculum connections, student-grown food in the cafeteria, and service learning projects for students.”

After the 60 or so diners got comfortable in the MVRHS Culinary Arts Dining Room, Ms. Binney introduced the program and her three high school mentorship students: Natalie Poole, Caitlin Serpa, and Alyssa Adler. Caitlin told the crowd how excited they were about the garden and a bit about its purpose, and then the girls headed into the kitchen to serve dinner.

Chef Chris Fischer, of Beetlebung Farm in Chilmark, worked with Culinary Arts students to put together the meal: a local green salad with green garlic vinaigrette; roasted FARM Institute chicken stuffed with watercress and sautéed greens with ramps, roasted potatoes, and squash, and Mermaid Farm Yogurt granita with cilantro honey. Farms who donated to the event were The Allen Farm, Beetlebung Farm, Mermaid Farm, The FARM Institute, and Our Honey. The MVRHS Horticulture program also contributed greens.

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