On Wednesday, September 18, some of the SFA staff had the pleasure of attending a Twilight Supper at Jones Valley Teaching Farm (JVTF) in Birmingham, Alabama.
In addition to running a working urban farm, where students from Birmingham public schools visit on field trips, JVTF is bringing agricultural education into local classrooms. This year, they’re piloting a series of investigative learning kits in Birmingham elementary and middle schools. Each of the kits focuses on one segment of the food cycle, starting on the farm and ending one step beyond the dinner table (recycling, composting, and disposal). The kits includes lesson plans and assessment ideas for teachers as well as interactive materials for group learning—one kit, for example, features a modified BINGO card with different colored markers for processed and whole foods.
Earlier this summer, the SFA worked with Jones Valley farm to adapt some of our oral histories for students in grades K-2. We chose individuals whose work coincides with “Farm,” “Box,” “Truck,” “Market,” and “Table,” and created cards with a portrait of each subject on the front and a brief profile on the back.
This collaboration marks the first time that the SFA has partnered with an educational organization on a multiple-school scale. We were delighted (and, frankly, quite moved) to see our work included in the elegant, thoughtful kits designed by content specialist Zoe Burgess, graphic designer Anna Lea Jenkins, and industrial designer-builder Will McGarity.
We can’t wait to hear how the kits are received by the first cohort of Birmingham students, and we hope this is the beginning of a long-term educational collaboration with JVTF.
After checking out what JVTF has in store for the classroom this school year, we were able to taste the fruits (actually, the vegetables) of their labor on the farm. Each of the three dinner courses consisted of a meat prepared by the Fatback Collective, paired with a vegetable from JVTF. We enjoyed whole red snapper with corn and tomato salad, porchetta with black-eyed peas, and roast chicken with pickled collard greens.
We are privileged and proud to call JVTF our partner, and we look forward to continuing our work with them. To learn more about the organization, visit the Jones Valley Teaching Farm website.
— Sara Camp Arnold, Southern Foodways Alliance