IGS launched our preschool program in January 2012, bringing the Vineyard into the growing national Farm-to-Preschool movement. We now work weekly with nine island preschools: Island Children’s School, Grace Preschool, Martha’s Vineyard Community Services Preschool, Chilmark Preschool, First Light Child Development Center, Vineyard Montessori, Plum Hill School, The Rainbow Place and Project Headway. We bring garden-based learning and healthy food education to a total of 250 of the island’s youngest children. At this age level, we focus on introducing children and families to new foods, which we hope will lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating habits. We work to accomplish this through cooking in the classroom with whole, seasonal foods, which helps children develop healthy eating habits, improve fine motor skills, and learn about using new tools. We make everything from butter to pesto to salsa. In the garden, we plant, harvest, and care for the land, helping children learn about seeds and what plants need to grow. We also lead farm field trips, where students have the opportunity to learn about life on a farm and meet farmers and farm animals.