Jones Valley Teaching Farm breaks ground on new Center for Food Education site

Left to right, Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, Mayor Randall Woodfin, JVTF Director Amanda Storey, Birmingham Superintendent Dr. Mark Sullivan and Councilor Hunter Williams at the October 21, 2020 groundbreaking for the Center for Food Education. Photo City of Birmingham Government Facebook page

Want evidence Birmingham is becoming the culinary hub for the South and the nation?

The Magic City is home to James Beard Award winners, the “Oscars in the culinary world” and Food and Wine Magazine, one of the country’s most respected foodie publications.

And now, thanks to Jones Valley Teaching Farm (JVTF), we are establishing a world class center for food education in downtown Birmingham.


Jones Valley Teaching Farm staff and supporters at the October 21, 2020 groundbreaking for the Center for Food Education. Photo from the Jones Valley Teaching Farm Facebook page

This week, JVTF held a groundbreaking ceremony at their downtown farm (701 25th Street North) the site of their new $7.5 million Center for Food Education.

Scheduled to open in fall 2021, the multi-use facility will anchor Jones ValleyTeaching Farm and create an inviting permanent infrastructure that will reach more students, teachers, and surrounding community members—locally, regionally, and nationally. 

Jones Valley Teaching Farm Center for Food Education. Photo via ArchitectureWorks

In keeping with Jones Valley Teaching Farm’s mission, the Center for Food Education will serve as the hub for academic exploration, personal growth, and pathways to leadership and employment through food, farming, and the culinary arts. 

The Center for Food Education will increase their capacity to serve our community and will be home to:

  • Daily field trips and Good School Food instruction for more students
  • Community gardening and culinary programming
  • Professional development and training for educators
  • Increased employment opportunities for graduates of Birmingham City Schools

Financing the Project + Ready to Grow Campaign

Preparing vegetables to giveaway to the community. Photo courtesy of the Jones Valley Teaching Farms

The project is financed, in part, with a New Markets Tax Credit allocation provided by Hope Enterprise Corporation (HOPE) and by investor Wells Fargo Bank. 

In an effort to secure the remaining funds needed to construct the center, JVTF is launching the Ready to Grow capital campaign co-chaired by Pardis Stitt, Co-owner of Bottega, Bottega Café, Highlands Bar & Grill, and Chez Fonfon and JVTF Board of Director Nick Willis, PNC Bank Greater Alabama Regional President.

Birmingham Alabama
Bottega Restaurant – Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

“As co-chair of this campaign, I have had the unique honor of seeing firsthand our local foundations, donors, and community members’ generosity,” said Stitt. “Their belief in Jones Valley Teaching Farm and their intentionality to see food as a foundation for our city, means so very much to me personally.”

The Ready to Grow campaign will start in 2021.

Design and Construction

Jones Valley Teaching Farm Center for Food Education. Photo via ArchitectureWorks

A community-wide effort, JVTF has also chosen two local firms to head up the design and construction of the new center – ArchitectureWorks and Hoar Construction.

“ArchitectureWorks is honored to be a part of the tremendous work Jones ValleyTeaching Farm so passionately pursues within Birmingham City Schools,” said Jay Pigford, Partner at ArchitectureWorks. “Following almost 15 years of partnership with Jones Valley Teaching Farm, we are excited to revisit the original downtown site and break ground on this expansion.”

Learn More About Jones Valley Teaching Farm

Jones Valley Teaching Farm in Woodlawn. Photo courtesy of the Jones Valley Teaching Farms

Over the years Bham Now has written numerous stories about the Jones Valley Teaching Farm, most notably their work at Woodlawn High School and Putnam Middle School.

Read about this special organization in Birmingham that is changing our community and the world.

We look forward to seeing the campus downtown and the program grow.

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Pat Byington
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.
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