Fishing and farming on Martha’s Vineyard

Kat Soni of the Island Grown Initiative will be speaking at the Chilmark library's November speaker series on farming and fishing on Martha's Vineyard. — Stacey Rupolo

The Chilmark library focuses on local food and the people who supply it on Wednesdays at 5 pm throughout the month of November. The stories and experiences of local fishermen and farmers will be featured in four events, according to a press release from the library.

The series begins Wednesday, Nov. 1, with a talk, “Tales from Island Farms, Fishermen, and Farmers,” by Linsey Lee, oral history curator at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. Ms. Lee will present the oral histories and video interviews that she has collected over the past 30 years, with a focus on local fishermen and farmers.

On Nov. 8, Shelley Edmundson, Ph.D., the executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust, will talk about lobster fishing in the waters around Martha’s Vineyard. Local fishermen will share their experiences catching lobster and working in the trade. Chris Fischer, who won the James Beard Award for his “Beetlebung Farm Cookbook,” will demonstrate a few lobster recipes.

On Nov. 15, Rebecca Gilbert from Native Earth Teaching Farm will talk about her experiences with farming, community connections, and fiber arts. Native Earth Teaching Farm is a small-scale family farm open to the public for tours and educational and recreational activities. The farm is known for its pygmy goats and Berkshire pigs, rare breeds of ducks, and natural dye gardens. Ms. Gilbert will demonstrate the stages from sheep to wool garment, share her philosophy, and answer questions.

On Nov. 29, Sophie Abrams and Kat Soni from the Island Grown Initiative (IGI) will talk about food equity on the Island. One of IGI’s newest programs is the Mobile Market, a truck stocked with reduced-price fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, stopping at low-income, elderly and disabled housing in order to help provide access to fresh food to communities that otherwise might not have access to it.

All events begin at 5 pm, and admission is free. Programs are sponsored by the Friends of the Chilmark Public Library. Call 508-645-3360 or email Alexandra Pratt at for more information.