Island Grown Initiative
Astrid was born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard. While a student at the Charter School, she began working with Island Grown Initiative through her Island Grown Schools Garden Educator, Sam Greene. In 2014, Astrid’s high school class helped to plant out a 2.5 acre orchard at the Island Grown Initiative Farm. One of the cherry trees she planted has just started to bear fruit.
As Astrid’s interest in the local food system grew, she chose a mentorship with Island Grown Initiative’s Program Director, Noli Taylor, and became a teen food system intern. Noli, Astrid and Charter School students drafted legislation to bring more statewide recognition to the importance of farm to school education, from garden-based learning to healthy food in cafeterias. To get this legislation passed, Astrid traveled to the State House and spoke passionately about the importance of farm to school, and organized other students from the Vineyard and beyond to do the same. Thanks to her efforts, the bill passed, making October Massachusetts Farm to School month every year, and laying the foundation for recently-passed legislation that devotes state funds to supporting farm to school efforts across the Commonwealth. Astrid was able to be at the Governor’s office when he signed the bill into law.
Astrid continued to work with Island Grown Initiative throughout her college career in a variety of capacities. On summer vacations, she deepened her connection to our food system by serving free lunches to food insecure members of the community, bringing a mobile farmer’s market into low income neighborhoods and, after graduation, serving as a School Garden Educator at the Charter School where she had been a student herself.
Astrid has now been promoted to being a manager at IGI, serving as our Gleaning Manager and integral member of our food equity team. Every year she organizes volunteers of all ages to harvest and distribute approximately 50,000 pounds of produce and protein, which is donated to our Island Food Pantry, local schools, Councils on Aging, and other food equity programs that help bring good nutrition to those most in need in our community. The food that Astrid and her team collect and distribute has truly changed food access for so many in our community, bringing delicious locally grown foods harvested with love to low-income people, the disabled, the elderly, the unhoused, and others who traditionally struggle to access high quality nutrition.
Astrid is exceptionally dedicated to supporting and enhancing the health and well-being of all members of our Island community and the environment. As an individual, she embodies this community care by always leading with an ethic of generosity. Her generous spirit is clearly apparent in the work she does as Gleaning Manager. On any given day she interfaces with so many members of our community of all ages. She approaches everyone, across lines of age, ability, ethnicity, and language, with kindness, care, patience, and a true spirit of giving.
She is also deeply giving of her time. Astrid will head to the Derby weigh-in at night to collect fish that can be donated; she will work alongside hunters on the weekend to process deer to be donated through our venison program; if a teacher at any Island school wishes to bring their students gleaning, Astrid will find a way to get them to our farm. She gleans on cold wet spring mornings, hot summer days, and the short dark afternoons of winter. Her dedication is moving.
Astrid is young, but her age has not prevented her from becoming a beloved and trusted leader in the Island’s food equity world, trusted by farmers, members of the Wampanaog Tribe, school cafeteria directors, teachers, faith-based and non-profit community leaders and more. She leads a large and mighty team of dedicated volunteers who value her hard work, dedication, and open heart. Astrid is also creative and scrappy–she identifies where there are opportunities to capture food products that may otherwise be wasted, and figures out how to connect those sources of nutritious food to those who need them.
As someone with long Island roots, whose family has been on this Island for many generations, Astrid has a deep love for her home place and its people. She is deeply curious about the Island’s plants and has learned so much about ethical foraging, collecting seeds, and approaching harvesting of all things with reverence and a spirit of reciprocity. This love of people and place animates her work and is so clear to all who have the pleasure of working alongside her.
Astrid displays a deep care for her community and for the environment in her day-to-day relationships with colleagues and community partners, with an unceasing attitude of kindness, joy, curiosity and collaboration, and inspires all she works with to do the same. Astrid leads by example to ensure a reality for our Island community in which all are well-fed, respected, and enriched by our relationships with one another and with our natural world.