The Winery Gazette – Martha’s Winery Information

Over 25-plus years as an govt in prime tech, promoting and different fast paced industries, Rebecca Haag helped become profitable for firms like IBM, Motorola, Financial institution of The united states and Normal Motors sooner than coming into the nonprofit global just about twenty years in the past.

“I like the self-discipline of commercial. I like the measurements that you’ve in trade, the place you’ll be able to display go back on investments,” stated Ms. Haag, who lives in Chilmark and because 2016 has implemented that very same self-discipline to her process as govt director of Island Grown Initiative.

Best the mileposts are other, she instructed the Gazette throughout a sit-down interview at her IGI administrative center in West Tisbury closing week.

“As an alternative of a go back on funding being benefit, it’s now a go back in your funding via neighborhood results,” Ms. Haag stated.

“That we feed other folks. That we train kids the right way to develop meals and devour wholesome food. That we’re dedicated to converting the way in which we do agriculture at the Island, to a regenerative method which can lend a hand seize carbon from the air and lend a hand mitigate local weather trade,” she stated.

“We will lend a hand feed other folks by way of being excellent businesspeople.”

The Winery Gazette – Martha’s Winery Information

Ms. Haag leads by way of cultivating partnerships all over the place the Island.

Jeanna Shepard

Ms. Haag got here to IGI after greater than a decade as leader govt officer of AIDS Motion Committee of Massachusetts, the place she signed on in 2003 for what used to be intended to be an period in-between duration whilst an everlasting CEO used to be sought.

“I stopped up in nonprofit paintings unintentionally,” she stated. “I had agreed . . . as a board member I’d step in and stabilize the group, with the intent that I’d be there for a 12 months, and I used to be there nearer to 11. However I cherished it.”

Nonprofit management supplies a way of project she hadn’t discovered within the trade global, Ms. Haag stated.

“For me, nonprofit paintings provides me the delight of understanding that I’m contributing to my neighborhood [and] contributing to the lives of people that want strengthen,” she stated.

A graduate of Wells School and the trade college at Boston College, Ms. Haag was a year-round Islander in 2015, after years of weekends and holiday journeys to her spouse Mary Breslauer’s house in Chilmark.

“I were doing the opposite travel from Boston for roughly 5 years whilst I endured to run the AIDS Motion Committee of Massachusetts, after which I merged that group with Fenway Neighborhood Well being Middle,” she stated.

“It used to be simply time to make the everlasting transfer right here,” Ms. Haag stated.

Offered to IGI by way of her buddy Mary Kenworth, an Island restaurateur, Ms. Haag quickly discovered herself the highest candidate to guide the group, the place she started paintings on Would possibly 1, 2016.

Over her first six years, IGI’s annual finances has grown from $750,000 to $3.2 million, with 35 staff and an increasing set of products and services becoming a member of its longstanding college lawn and gleaning techniques.

The Cellular Marketplace, presented in 2017, visits Island neighborhoods throughout the rising season with recent, affordably-priced native produce.

Additionally in 2017, Island Grown started a unfastened summer season lunch program this is anticipated to offer as much as 15,000 food for Island schoolchildren and their households this 12 months.

The Island Meals Pantry merged with IGI in 2021, expanding its grocery variety and relocating to the P.A. Membership in Oak Bluffs. Island Grown has additionally teamed up with Excellent Shepherd Parish to obtain bulk meals from the Larger Boston Meals Financial institution.

Different partnerships Ms. Haag has inspired come with meals waste assortment from native eating places, a venison donation program throughout deer looking season, and a community of borrowed business kitchens the place Island cooks flip gleaned produce and seafood into frozen soups, stews and child meals.

“We’re now generating 40,000 keen food, this 12 months,” she stated.

“We’re operating carefully with the well being care amenities to take a look at to create extra medically adapted food as we move ahead,” Ms. Haag added.

A lot of IGI’s fresh tasks and partnerships, starting with the summer season lunch and prepared-meals techniques, have come about during the Meals Fairness Community, a loosely arranged coalition of Island companies, nonprofits, neighborhood volunteers and IGI staffers Ms. Haag convened in her first 12 months at the process.

Farmers, grocers, fishermen, well being care employees and those who paintings with the aged have all taken section in community gatherings two or thrice a 12 months, environment new objectives every time.

“We referred to as other folks in combination and stated, ‘How are we going to paintings in combination to handle those unmet wishes?’” she stated.

At the turn facet of offering meals to the hungry, Island Grown has additionally pioneered food-waste pickups at native eating places, turning the scraps into soil-nourishing compost at Thimble Farm, the nonprofit’s farm and greenhouses in Winery Haven.

On Ms. Haag’s watch, the group has sponsored clear of its former hydroponic rising fashion, including soil-grown greens within the greenhouses and the use of regenerative farming tactics within the fields.

The tanks of rainbow trout also are long past, and with them the wish to squander power on cooling water inside of a heat greenhouse, Ms. Haag stated.

“There wasn’t a marketplace for trout on an Island, and so they like chilly climate,” she stated.

The next step for Island Grown, Ms. Haag stated, is so as to add worker housing — two two-bedroom gadgets and two one-bedroom gadgets, with denitrifying septic techniques, at the Thimble Farm assets.

“To be accountable employers on Martha’s Winery now, you wish to have to lend a hand discover a strategy to the housing drawback,” she stated.

An training and innovation middle on the farm could also be within the works, Ms. Haag stated.

“We deliver college children to the farm at all times [and] we don’t have a spot to collect,” she stated.

Already licensed by way of the Martha’s Winery Fee, the training middle can have indoor school rooms the place kids and adults can take courses in regenerative gardening and different food-growing tactics, Ms. Haag stated.

“Optimistically we’ll be capable of get started infrastructure manufacturing q4 and we’ll get started the real structures subsequent spring,” she stated.

A 3rd and bigger undertaking is at the horizon and rising closer, Ms. Haag stated.

“We want an Island meals middle. We want a spot the place we will have a business kitchen, the place we will have warehouse and space for storing, giant walk-in fridges and freezers,” she stated.

At this time, IGI has space for storing for not more than per week’s price of groceries from the Boston meals financial institution, Ms. Haag stated.

“If the elements will get dangerous or the ferries don’t run, we haven’t any backup device,” she stated.

“We’re operating now on how we’re going to position that in combination,” stated Ms. Haag, noting that the positioning will wish to be in a trade district and obtainable to Islanders of restricted manner or inconsistent earning.

“There’s numerous operating individuals who now and again want strengthen with meals safety,” she stated, bringing up seasonal employment that gives lower than a 12 months’s price of source of revenue.

A are compatible and vigorous 70, keen on swimming and tennis, Ms. Haag isn’t eyeing retirement within the close to long term.

“We have now numerous demanding situations, and I need to be a part of the answer,” stated Ms. Haag, including reward for the Island Grown workforce.

“I’m so fortunate. It’s later for your profession that you simply will have to be operating with younger, colourful people who find themselves passionate and dedicated,” she stated.

“We’re development leaders who will make a distinction at the Island for future years.”