What is Harvest of the Month?
Island Grown Harvest of the Month is a program that highlights a locally available crop each month of the school year in school cafeterias, restaurants, and grocery stores. The goal is to help children, their care-givers, and the broader community experience healthy, seasonal, whole-foods based meals, while supporting local and regional farmers. Following in the footsteps of school districts in California, Oregon, and other states, Martha’s Vineyard was the first school system in Massachusetts to pioneer Harvest of the Month in 2012-3, and is now working with the Massachusetts Farm to School Project to spread our model across the state.
How is Harvest of the Month implemented?
Participating school cafeterias highlight each month’s featured item at least twice in their menus. Island Grown Schools staff holds taste tests and leads lessons in classrooms and cafeterias to help students be open to trying these foods. IGS works with local artist Ashley Chase and Bluerock Design to create beautiful, original posters each month, and gives each school promotional posters to hang in the cafeteria. We also send home a featured recipe and nutritional information for families each month, and receive generous support from Mass in Motion-MV for printing costs. Harvest of the Month products are sourced from island growers as much as possible, and we look to regional farms to source what can’t be provided locally.
Island Grown Harvest of the Month doesn’t end in the school cafeteria. Local grocery stores and restaurants also feature the monthly crops, with Harvest of the Month signage, taste tests, and special menu items at restaurants and deli counters. Our partners the first year in the program were Cronig’s Market and State Road Restaurant. Our local paper, the MV Times, allows us to write monthly features on the Harvest of the Month, helping promote these foods to the wider community.
Participating Restaurants & Grocery Stores
State Road Restaurant
Tisbury Farm Market
Port Hunter Restaurant
Morning Glory Farm
The Farm Institute
Further Resources & Curriculum Links
Please search our blog posts for all past Island Grown Harvest of the Month recipes, posters, and newsletters. For more, check out Network for a Health California’s incredible Harvest of the Month resources,including curriculum for teachers around each of the featured crops.