December 7, 2015

November Happenings

IGS helps students take part in the season of giving

Every November the Vineyard Committee on Hunger pulls off an amazing feat, distributing the fixings for Thanksgiving meals to 225 families in need through their Family to Family program. Many island groups step up to help with donations of produce, grocery items and the labor to pack up the meals. This year one of our preschools donated all of the carrots they had grown at their school to Family to Family. We also led the Tisbury 8th graders on a gleaning field trip to Whipporwill Farm, where they harvested over 800 pounds of potatoes, half of which they donated to Family to Family.. These same students also came out for the actual food distribution, and helped families carry their heavy turkeys and groceries to their cars.

Farm to School legislative hearing

On November 9th, IGS Program Leader Noli Taylor and two high school teachers from the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School, Jonah Maidoff and Louis Hall, led 13 Charter School students to the State House to testify on the farm to school bill we wrote with our State Representative, Tim Madden, last year. This was the bill's first hearing, with two more to get through before being voted on by the House and Senate. If passed, the bill would declare October Massachusetts Farm to School Month, and would encourage three state agencies (the Departments of Education, Agriculture, and Public Health) to work together to spread farm to school programs around the state.

We are excited to be part of the movement to bring food education, healthy food in school meals, and school gardens to more of the children in Massachusetts. And it is wonderful for high school students to engage in policy in this way--feeling that their voices really matter in our democracy, and that they can shape the laws that govern where they live. And what better way to learn about the legislative process than to write a bill, advocate for it, follow its progress through the legislature, and, hopefully, be there when it gets signed into law!

Harvest of the Month

Thanksgiving may be over, but Winter Squash is one of our all time favorite vegetables to enjoy throughout the season.. At farm stands and the farmer’s market you can find green Kabochas, peach colored Butternuts, confetti colored Sweet Dumplings, or Long Island Cheese pumpkins shaped like a wheel of cheese. Each one has a flesh of different color and texture to be enjoyed in anything from soup to smoothies to pie to cornbread and beyond. Stock up on these squashes now, as their thick skin helps them keep in your pantry for many months.

This “Stewed Pumpkin” recipe is part of our Wampanoag & Pilgrim Food Traditions unit, which is on our curriculum toolkit under Grade 3 (make this a link!). It’s easy to make and is a great side dish.

Stewed Pumpkin, recipe from Plimouth Plantation


  • 4 cups of cooked (boiled, steamed or baked) squash, roughly mashed
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir and heat all the ingredients together. Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve hot.