The Baker-Polito administration announced Friday $500,000 in grant money for Buy Local agricultural groups — groups across Massachusetts that promote the benefits of locally grown food. The Vineyard’s Island Grown Initiative (IGI), a Buy Local group since 2006, received $15,627.
“We receive this money every year,” IGI development and marketing manager Emily Armstrong told The Times. The bulk of IGI’s $15,627 will support three initiatives — continued support for the local farmers market, processing local food, and creating a concept for a fall farmers harvest festival on the Island.
“We’ll continue working closely with the farmers market,” Armstrong said. IGI helps with internal organization, staffing the information booth, and long-term planning for the summer West Tisbury Farmers Market.
“We’re also working on projects that process local foods,” Armstrong said. IGI’s Mobile Market takes something like squash, for example, and turns it into a soup for purchase.
“Some people don’t have the facility to cook,” Armstrong said. “Part of the grant was to research the best way to process food and turn it into something more useful for the community.”
IGI is also developing a concept for rebranding the annual Living Local Harvest Festival. “We’re working on what that would look like,” Armstrong said. “How to celebrate local agriculture and increase the visibility of local farmers.”
Other Buy Local groups that benefited from the Baker-Polito grant were Buy Fresh Buy Local Cape Cod ($68,500), Central Mass Grown ($100,000), Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture ($80,000), Northeast Harvest ($60,792), Berkshire Grown ($58,425), Sustainable Business Network ($47,154), and Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership ($69,500).