Island Grown Initiative to launch mobile farmers market

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The Island Grown Initiative will be launching a mobile food market, stocked with reduced-price locally grown produce, in July. —MVT file photo

Island Grown Initiative was awarded a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to launch a mobile farmers market on Martha’s Vineyard in July. The grant, awarded earlier this month, will bring locally grown produce to low-income neighborhoods, according to a press release from the organization.

The grant will be used to purchase a truck that can house the market, as well as equipment needs, but doesn’t cover operating expenses.

The mobile market will be a truck stocked with reduced-price locally grown produce, traveling to neighborhoods that have low-income, elderly, and disabled residents, including Morgan Woods, Hillside Village, Woodside Village, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Oak Bluffs Public Library.

Rebecca Haag, executive director of Island Grown Initiative, has found that it’s logistically challenging and unaffordable for most of these families to access the West Tisbury Farmers Market or the many farm stands around the Island.

Hours of operation will be in the evening for working families, and the market will be stocked with local produce that is purchased at wholesale prices and sold with a small markup to cover operating expenses. There are currently two suppliers participating in the program.

During the pilot year, the organization plans to sell only fruits and vegetables, but hopes to expand to eggs, dairy, meat, and locally sourced prepared foods in future years.

The launch comes during the first year of the Healthy Incentives Program, operated by the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance, which allows Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries to get up to $80 a month of additional benefits when they buy locally grown produce.

For more information, please contact Sophie Abrams at sophie@igimv.org.