The Birmingham City Council has allocated $805,000 toward increasing the Jones Valley Teaching Farm’s presence in Birmingham City Schools.
The money will go toward the nonprofit’s wide-reaching Good School Food educational program, which is intended to foster skills in and appreciation for farming and the culinary arts in BCS students. The new funding will expand the JVTF’s capacity to host field trips and weeklong camps and will expand JVTF’s internship and apprenticeship programs.
Jones Valley Teaching Farm was founded by Edwin Marty and Allison Page in 2001. It opened a new, $8.3-million Center for Food Education last fall.
“We are overwhelmed by this opportunity,” JVTF Executive Director Amanda Storey told the council Tuesday. “What we believe is, in order for us to fix a broken food system, which we all can agree is broken, we have to reconnect young people, specifically, to their source: what it means to grow your own food, to cook your own food and have the choices available to them in order to make different (dietary) decisions … . We’re creating a different way of living in Birmingham … and if we start with young people, we believe that we will see long-lasting change.”
The new city funding will expand JVTF’s paid internship program to include all Birmingham City Schools and will allow for the expansion of the farm’s apprenticeship program for recent high school graduates, which offers full-time, salaried positions with benefits.
The majority of the money comes from American Rescue Plan Act funding earmarked for healthy food, while the rest comes from ARPA funds allocated to individual council districts: $30,000 from District 2, $25,000 from District 4, $80,000 from District 5, $50,000 from District 6 and $80,000 from District 8.