Island Grown celebrates employee housing

Phoenix and Jasmine Carvalho help cut the ribbon on new employee housing for the Island Grown Initiative. - Courtesy South Mountain Company

After over 5 years of planning, designing and construction, Island Grown Initiative of Martha’s Vineyard unveiled new employee housing this week with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The new development includes four housing units — two, 1-bedroom and two, 2-bedroom — on Stony Hill Road in Vineyard Haven. The project was done in collaboration with South Mountain Company. The units will be occupied year-round by four IGI employees and their families.

IGI food equity assistant Nicol Carvalho will be living in one of the units, and she was on hand for the celebrations with her two daughters, Phoenix and Jasmine, who helped cut the ribbon.

“The fact that we have housing, and they [my daughters] can finally start roots on Island is overwhelmingly exciting,” Carvalho said.

Island Grown officials and other housing advocates were on hand for the ceremony.

“Our mission is to create a regenerative and equitable food system on the Island. Our staff works day in and day out, to achieve that mission and to achieve all the goals we set for ourselves,” IGI Executive director Rebecca Haag said, kicking off the event. “[In years past] We were experiencing a loss of employees with great experience — they couldn’t find a place to live.”

“We made a commitment to raise the capitol and build employee housing.”

Haag was followed by Island Housing Trust executive director Philippe Jordi, who detailed the need for housing on the Island.

“Since [2005], the Island housing crisis has only deepened as housing prices have increased over nearly 500 percent,” Jordi said.

“In order to attract and retain the workforce, we need to sustain the Island community. We need stable year round housing that is affordable to own and rent a living wage,” Jordi added. “We hope in a future that provides possibilities for those who want to work and participate in all aspects of our community, that they can have a safe, stable and secure year.”

South Mountain CEO Deidre Bohan reflected on working with IGI. “We are grateful for the trust IGI put in us to create a secure future for their staff, and we are delighted to have IGI as a partner with their incredible mission, community service and outreach.” she told The Times.

IGI’s Education Director Emily Armstrong, one of the housing recipients, spoke to her personal experience with housing insecurity on MV.

“I fell in love with this work and everything we do […] but like so many Islanders, my partner and I were doing the ‘Summer Shuffle,’ moving between seasonals and rentals,” she said.

“I hope that this housing will give our employees stability […] to be able to stay on this island community, which is really our home.”

The housing development plan was originally approved by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, in March of 2022.


  1. More great news about new affordable housing that was achieved in response to the needs of the community. This was done without a new tax on Vineyard Homeowners and the creation of a bureaucracy to determine who gets the housing. The housing bank bill is unnecessary. It will create unsustainable development and contribute to overpopulation. Just say “no” to the housing bank bill. Keep Our Island Green

    • Dan I love how you stay on point and hope more like you will come to the same thinking. More taxes is never the answer as they do not go away. The problem is being worked on and we are doing it with many more units of housing to come in both OB & Edgartown.

      • What should Island taxes be?
        “Edgartown has the lowest property tax rate in Massachusetts with a property tax rate of 2.52.”

  2. The Times does a great disservice to our community by not fact checking the subjects of their stories. Philippe Jordi states that housing prices have increased 500% since 2005. That’s just not factual. The median price for a home in 2005 was $905,000. Today it’s $1,492,000. About a 64% increase over 19 years So roughly 3 percent a year. That’s by no means an unreasonable increase in price. Considering our population has increased more than 25% during that period and our schools are at capacity ( Chilmark building a new preschool because of school overcrowding) I seriously question if we have this affordable housing problem. ( It’s not a problem for those who do the work to make it happen)

    • Excellent points and I wonder if Jordi would care to explain how he came to his conclusion. It certainly helps to solidify his need for a job by inflating the actual issue. Does the Times editorial board agree with John’s conclusion and feel the need for a correction?

    • “It’s not a problem for those who do the work to make it happen”
      Ask any family of four living on two, one point five times, minimum wage.
      35% of that is $2520 a month.
      How many minimal two bedroom houses are available, on Island, for this price?

      “Ten and 15-year snapshots are even more dramatic: a house that sold for $1 million in 2014 is worth $2.4 million today, while a house that sold for $1 million in 2009 is worth $2.61 million, the index report shows.”
      That’s 140% over ten years, if you trust the Vineyard Gazette.

      Fact checking is expensive. Philippe Jordi numbers are close enough for purposes of comment and discussion. 14% per year versus 26%.

  3. John–I will not take the time to fact check your claim.
    But you mention the median price. I wonder if you would look
    the average price, which is of course quite different.
    Perhaps the average price has increased that much ? I don’t
    know– you tell me.

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