Food is at the foundation of everything, which enables Jones Family Teaching Farm to touch all aspects of students’ development and education. The nonprofit serves K through 12th grade students and their families in Birmingham, Alabama, where 30 percent of residents live below poverty level. Under the group’s flagship program Good School Food, Jones Valley instructors collaborate with teachers to design lessons across multiple subjects, expanding classroom learning and reinforcing state standards. In after-school and apprentice programs, students practice hands-on farming and bringing produce to market.
“In 2021, Jones Valley Teaching Farm completed construction of the Center for Food Education on our main downtown campus in Birmingham with the goal of connecting our resources with our larger community and state,” says Executive Director Amanda Storey.
Jones Valley Teaching Farm’s Work
Aside from operating seven Teaching Farms on local grade, middle, and high school campuses, Jones Valley runs additional programming:
Good School Food: A hands-on food education model that connects students to food, farming, and the culinary arts through standards-based, cross-curricular lessons. Subjects include math, science, English language arts, social studies, health, and art.
Farm Club / Culinary Club: After-school programs at K-8 partner schools make the connection between sustainable farming, culinary skills, and STEM learning, and social emotional growth.
Camp Grow: This program occurs during school breaks and K-8 participants build technical farming and culinary skills.
JVTF Apprenticeship Model: High School Internship and the JVTF Apprenticeship continue the education of students and graduates through on-the- job training, professional experience, mentorship, and pathways to employment and/or post-secondary education.
Free Food: Produce and seedling distribution strategically focuses on providing fresh produce to the highest need communities in our area.