Jones Valley Teaching Farm
DescriptionIn 2007, the founders of Jones Valley Teaching Farm transformed three acres of vacant downtown property into a budding urban oasis, driven by the singular mission of making our community a healthier place. In no time, the Farm was teeming with organic produce, to the delight of local restaurants and citizens alike.
Since then, Jones Valley has become so much more than a place where delicious food grows—it’s a place where young minds blossom. Today, our greatest focus is education: connecting people to their food, and helping them understand where it comes from and why it matters. We’re focused on teaching future generations in our Birmingham community to eat smarter, think healthier, and live better.
Our downtown urban farm has been JVTF’s home for seven years, and it remains the most recognizable face of the organization. As we’ve focused our efforts on education, we’ve consciously grown our urban farm into a “teaching farm,” gearing our production and our site to serve on-site and in-school food education programs.
The farm sits next to the neighborhood community of Park Place, with a view of the downtown skyline, the train, and the interstate; just being on the farm is part of transforming traditional understandings of where learning happens and where food comes from.
We offer access to fresh, affordable produce in an area with limited access to fresh food. We run an on-site produce stand open five days a week for community members to buy fresh, affordable produce, and we host a community garden with 38 plots.
Seed to Plate, our on-site education program, teaches students where food comes from and why it matters. Students don't just watch. They learn by doing—getting in the soil, picking fresh veggies and preparing healthy snacks. We have an average of six Seed to Plate programs each week, and in 2013, 80 different schools and organizations brought more than 5,000 students to the farm.
While the farm is a teaching space first, it’s also a place where Birmingham gathers. Our urban farm has been a part of the revival of downtown Birmingham, exposing thousands of visitors, event guests, classes, and volunteers to good, local food right in their backyard.
-Story contributed by Chris I.