Small Nonprofits Doing Big Things in Birmingham

Birmingham, Alabama, JVTF
Twilight Supper fundraising dinner for Jones Valley Teaching Farm (by Cary Norton)

Birmingham’s entrepreneurs aren’t the only ones changing the city!  Thousands of nonprofits are making their mark on Birmingham and we wanted to highlight some small ones that are doing big things. See how you can get involved today!

Urban Avenues

Urban Avenues is a collective of individuals who want to use their talents to connect disconnected neighborhoods in Birmingham.

We bridge the gap between communities and classes in Birmingham by creating a common space for them to meet.

-Liz Rodell,  event director

Birmingham, Alabama, Urban Avenues
A Five Loaves pop up dinner via Urban Avenues’ Instagram

Businessmen, chefs, filmmakers, leaders, entrepreneurs, photographers, and pastors all partner with John Lankford and his team to impact Woodlawn High School students through their two main initiatives.


Fish Camp Films
Birmingham, Alabama, Urban Avenues
Via Urban Avenues’ Facebook

A venture of Urban Avenues, Fish Camp Films apprentices Woodlawn High School students for three years and teaches them the discipline and freedom of film.  Birmingham filmmakers and creatives from all different walks of life teach students about film technique, production, and story formation.

Birmingham, Alabama, Urban Avenues
Via Fish Camp Films’ Instagram

Fish Camp Film enhances students’ perspective of the story of their own lives, their purpose, and of their community through the apprenticeship and mentorship it provides.

Learn how you can get involved here!


Five Loaves

Urban Avenues’ second initiative is called Five Loaves.  Five Loaves seeks to forge new relationships between distant neighborhoods in Birmingham by creating a dinner experience that brings people together.  Birmingham chefs, like John Hall (owner of Post Office Pies) and Zebbie Carney (owner of Eugene’s Hot Chicken), create and teach students menus which they prepare and serve at beautiful dinner gatherings.

Birmingham, Alabama, Urban Avenues
Via Urban Avenues’ Instagram

Each meal thoughtfully opens up a dialogue between students’ stories and guests all in the midst of amazing food, intentional friends, music, art, and enriching conversation.

 I want students to leave the program knowing what their passions are and why they are here.  I believe that when purpose and passion overlap, big things happen.

-Liz Rodell, event director

Urban Avenues’ programs develop character and confidence in students with fragile backgrounds and bring communities that rarely cross paths together


Benefit Urban Avenues by buying VIP tickets to Arc Stories‘ next event on June 10th!

Birmingham, Alabama, Urban Avenues
Via Arc Stories’ Instagram
Get a glimpse of their amazing dinners in these videos.
Interested in learning how you can help?  Contact Urban Avenues here.

Jones Valley Teaching Farm

I first came across Jones Valley Teaching Farm last year but met them (and bought their lettuce!) at the Woodlawn Street Market in April. JVTF has three main teaching farms which equip different schools and areas of Birmingham.

Their downtown urban farm provides Birmingham with over 200 varieties of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. The downtown farm welcomes community gardeners, school groups, and volunteers to help them manage their one city block home.  See for yourself-they’re selling their produce every Saturday at Pepper Place.


Birmingham, Alabama JVTF
Via JVTF’s Facebook

JVTF also has Farm Labs which give elementary school students hands-on lessons relating to their core subjects and teach them how to manage a garden.

Farm Labs are innovative outdoor classrooms and food production spaces, designed and built on school campuses to engage students and teachers with fresh food every day.

Birmingham, Alabama JVTF
Via JVTF’s Facebook

Their Good School Food curriculum develops engaging programs utilizing their state-of-the-art teaching farms which provide children with access to healthy food and improves their learning.

Birmingham, Alabama, JVTF
Via JVTF’s Facebook

Jones Valley Teaching Farm has partnered with Woodlawn High School to create a student-managed urban farm on campus.  The Farm challenges them to solve real-world food problems, teaches them to cook, and even develops their STEM skills.


These outstanding nonprofits are shaping a brighter future for Birmingham by bridging the gap between communities and teaching students the value of their stories.

 What organizations do you think are making Birmingham better? Let us know!