Spring arrived early, and island farmers and gardeners are anxious to dig in the earth. Over the past several years, there has been a resurgence of interest in home, school and community gardening, and a number of island farmers are making a living by growing food for their neighbors.
The Island Institute is pleased to be able to support these island agricultural endeavors through the second round of Four-Season Island Agriculture Fund awards, a small-grant program made possible through the 1772 Foundation.
This spring, the Island Institute is pleased to announce awards supporting 13 farming and gardening projects, totaling $10,000.
The fund seeks to support farming and gardening projects that contribute towards increasing the amount of locally produced food, and/or raising awareness about island-based agricultural efforts and heritage. Since its launch in May 2009, the fund has supported 25 agricultural projects, totaling $20,000 in awards, distributed to year-round, unbridged island communities along the coast.
Receiving grants of $400 to $1,500 each, spring 2010 award recipients include:
Chebeague Island: Chebeague Island School to acquire a greenhouse to support school gardening activities, curricula and increased local food production.
Cliff Island: Cliff Island School to acquire a greenhouse to support school gardening activities, curricula, and increased local food production.
Frenchboro: To support The Garden Project to acquire a greenhouse to extend the growing season and increase the amount of local, nutritious food available on island.
Islesboro: Islesboro Central School horticulture program to support the purchase of a greenhouse to increase the amount of local food available in the school lunch program; and MacOlivers Farm to support the purchase of a hoop house to increase the amount of year-round food production on island.
Monhegan: To support the Island Chickens Project for additional infrastructure to increase the availability of local eggs on-island; and the Island Farm Project to support the purchase of additional gardening equipment used to bring land under cultivation and to help realize a community vision for increased local food production.
Peaks Island: Peaks Island School to support school gardening activities and curricula.
Vinalhaven: Island Village Childcare to support gardening activities and curricula for island youth; Fox Island Farms Initiative to support school composting and community farmers market infrastructure; an unnamed farm to acquire efficient irrigation systems to increase productivity; and Peaceful Harbor Farm for infrastructure to increase greenhouse capacity and extend the growing season for CSA customers.
For more information about future programming to support island agriculture initiatives please visit http://www.islandinstitute.org/islandagriculture.php
Shey Conover is senior programs director at the Island Institute.