Apple CEO Tim Cook joins Birmingham civic leaders to launch “Ed Farm.” Here are the details.

Tim Cook. Photo by Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Apple CEO Tim Cook, along with Mayor Randall Woodfin and Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring, joined civic leaders throughout Birmingham to launch the Education Farm (Ed Farm)—a ground-breaking education initiative focused on innovative learning strategies.

Signature Programs

Showcasing three signature programs at its new downtown headquarters, Ed Farm will partner with educators in Alabama to increase educational equity, improve learning outcomes through technology and prepare the future workforce.

TechBirmingham President Deon Gordon. Photo by Nathan Watson for Bham Now

“What is the Education Farm/Ed Farm? Is it a coding initiative? Yes. Is it a workforce development place? It is that, too. But at the end of the day it is an idea—an idea as big as Birmingham’s founding. The idea that we don’t have to just survive this fourth industrial revolution—we can thrive in it as well,” declared Deontée Gordon, President of TechBirmingham.

Students participating in Ed Farm in Birmingham. Photo by Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Ed Farm will equip educators in schools and communities with innovative tools and strategies that support active learning for all students, including providing opportunities for students of all ages to learn to code using Swift, Apple’s easy-to-learn coding language. As part of its Community Education Initiative, Apple is providing Ed Farm with hardware, software, funding and professional learning support. Apple has granted Birmingham City Schools with more than 400 new devices being used in classrooms today.

Tim Cook meeting with Odessa Woolfolk, founding board chair of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Photo by Pat Byington

“Education is in Apple’s DNA,” said Cook in front of a packed room. “From our earliest days, we cared about making the best technologies to help students learn, and in the process learn about themselves and the people around them. Today is very special for me personally, because while education is in Apple’s DNA, Alabama is in mine. Alabama is my home, where I grew up, where I went to school and learned to be the person I am both inside and outside the classroom. So it means the world to me to be back here.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook. Photo by Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Partnerships are key

“Our partnerships with Birmingham City Schools and the Birmingham community on the Teacher Fellows, Pathways and Student Fellows programs have already produced successful results, and we are thrilled at this initiative’s potential as it continues to move forward,” said Chris McCauley, Ed Farm program director.

Anthony Oni, chair of TechAlabama, noted,

“With the support of Apple, the City of Birmingham, the school system and corporate partners like Alabama Power, we are experiencing a real and needed step change in educational outcomes.”

Game Changer

Mayor Randall Woodfin and Superintendent Lisa Herring learning how to code at Ed Farm. Photo by Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Mayor Randall Woodfin added,

“Through Ed Farm and TechBirmingham, we will be opening doors for our children as well as adults to explore technology, STEM and coding. This is a game-changer for workforce development in this city and community.”

Mayor Randall Woodfin and Apple CEO Tim Cook at Ed Farm in Birmingham, Alabama. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

This is a big deal Birmingham. To learn more Ed Farm, visit their website at: https://edfarm.org

Stay tuned to Bham Now for more updates about this cutting edge program.

  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.