Intro background

Food Security

The actions in this focus area strive to ensure that all people always have reliable access to - and a sufficient quantity of - affordable, nutritious food that meets their preferences and needs. Actions also focus on increasing locally-produced and regionally-sourced foods. 


Progress Toward Our Goals

Many actions are underway in this thematic area from various partners but here are some highlights.

  • IGI has secured a location in Oak Bluffs for a permanent home for the Food Pantry with warehouse space.  Move in date is 2024 with plans for solar and battery back-up for energy resilience
  • Native seeds are now incorporated into the Community Seed Library! 
  • Grants in 2022/23 allowed the MV Fishermen's Preservation Trust to purchase, process, and donate over 4,600 lbs of whole fish, 75 lbs of sea scallops, 110 lbs of lobster, and 760 clams to islanders in need.
  • The MV Tick Program is compiling training materials for new hunters and in collaboration with IGI donated and distributed 10 deer amounting to ~400 lbs of venison through the Island Food Pantry and other local food equity providers in the 2022 hunting season.
  • For more updates, take a look at our 2023 Progress Report!

Four people working on a row of crops in a farm field.

Island Food Security

Our Main Challenges

Disruption of the supply chain from the international to the local levels. Shipping, trucking, and ferrying food to the Island is becoming increasingly unpredictable, as are national and international food availability and prices.

Increased demand for local food as the climate changes will be constrained by lack of affordable housing and access to affordable land.

Growing inequity among food-secure and food-insecure populations, as climate change increases the cost of food, stresses supply chains, and increases climate-driven immigration.

Island Food Security

Food Sustainability

Watch this video as we dive into what a sustainable food system means to islanders in the face of a changing climate.

Child holding blue lunch tray of healthy foods.

Island Food Security

Growing Insecurity

Food insecure households are growing on the island, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the island’s deepening affordable housing crisis.

  • The Island Food Pantry saw a 103% increase in child visits and an 84% increase in elder visits between 2019 and 2021.
  • These numbers are continuing to climb: there was a 40% increase in Pantry visits between February 2021 and February 2022.

Goals and actions will focus on ensuring all people have access to healthy and nourishing foods on a regular basis and during emergencies. Actions also aim to provide our indigenous population with greater access to lands for ceremony and food gathering practices.

Island Food Security

Food Security During Emergencies

There is a 2-day supply of food on Island to meet community food needs, putting our food security at risk if we’re cut off from the mainland for prolonged periods of time.  Climate change could disrupt our supply chains.  To minimize these potential impacts, actions focused on ensuring there is a 2-week supply of food available, improving local food production, and building regional-based product supply chains.

Person in full wet suit and fishing gear walks towards the ocean.

Island Agriculture

Local Food

Part of our work to improve food security will include supporting the existing agricultural operations while encouraging new aquaculture and fishing on the Island. There are already 32 land-based farms and 14 aquaculture farms on the Island that provide our community with fresh, local food.

Check out this interactive map of local farms!


Thematic Working Group Members

Liaision – Island Grown Initiative
(Noli Taylor)

Lyndsay Famarris

Alison Custer

Sebastian Hiatt

Jen Randolph

Merrick Carreiro

Steve Bernier

Anne McDonough

Dan Martino

Emma Green-Beach

Eric Glasgow

Shelley Edmundson

Pete Lambos

Carole Vandal

Naji Boustany

Beckie Finn

Leah Palmer

Amira Madison

Meg Athearn

Carla Cuch

NaDaizja Bolling

Tysonnae Aiguier-Bolling

How You Can Help

Take Action to Improve Our Food Security!

Keep an emergency kit in your house with shelf-stable food for at least three days for all of those in your household.
Volunteer or donate to support Island food security.
Volunteer to support the Island Grown Gleaning program
Young man in hat picks an ear of corn in a farm field.