Friday, October 10, 2014

Playing a Teeny Part

Anna June's school is sometimes on the news. Mostly, it is for good things.

This month, the school has been on our local news a couple of times because of its partnership with Jones Valley Teaching Farm.

Get to know these folks. They are here to stay.

Partnering with Avondale as part of the Woodlawn Innovation Network with their program called Good School Food, JVTF does a few great things:

1. Comes into the school and teaches the children.
2. Builds "Farm Labs" - giant gardens at the schools.
3. Has produce stands to more effectively deliver their products to the school/community.
4. Teaches cooking classes (The Family Kitchen) at the Southern Living test kitchen to show families how to eat better, locally.

Currently, Avondale is in the process of building its Farm Lab. It is due to be completed in the next few weeks. We got a sneak peek at it at the PTA Cookout last week. There will be a pond and a storage shed. The children will be growing "winter crops" like broccoli and cabbage in raised beds. We can't wait.

Although our farm is not yet producing, 5th grade students are running a produce stand on Wednesdays at school dismissal time. The produce comes from the downtown main location of the farm. The kids are learning about marketing, sales, and about the products themselves. A student told us about persimmons when we went on Wednesday.

So we played a teeny part in the project by spending a few dollars on some locally grown fresh produce.  We got lettuce and persimmons this week, and took some to my grandfather down the street. He thinks this is a great idea, by the way - teaching kids that food comes from the ground and not from a store is vital.

Here's the story that ABC 33/40 ran.

And here's the story that Fox 6 Birmingham ran.

Families will soon be selected for Avondale's turn at The Family Kitchen, with lessons on Tuesday nights in November.

JVTF has been in other schools in Birmingham, including Glen Iris Elementary, where this style of project-based learning has been a huge success. As I type this, their principal, Michael Wilson, is on the roof of the school to raise $20,000 to have their very own kitchen lab installed at the school.

Just because these videos were so meaningful for me, I am listing some more links below. As my friend Bethanne said on Facebook, they "might make you get something in your eye."

This one is about JVTF.

This one is about the Good School Food program as a whole.

This one is the story of one of the teaching fellows at JVTF, Lucy.

This one is about the transformation of children into lovers of learning. 

I am so glad my child has the opportunity to be a part of this.

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