Jones Valley Teaching Farm
Jones Valley Teaching Farm (formerly Jones Valley Urban Farm) is non-profit educational farming site at 701 25th Street North. The farm raises organic crops for local markets and restaurants while also hosts educational programs for public school children. The farm's operations are centered downtown, next to the Park Place housing development, but it also uses other urban lots used to grow organic products.
Jones Valley Farm was founded in 2001 by Edwin Marty and Allison Page. It began as an experiment with the Birmingham YWCA on a lot on 10th Avenue South to provide job training and to explore the viability of organic farming on vacant urban lots. In their first summer, the program was selling products at the Pepper Place Market and to local restaurants.
The East Avondale Community Garden is a collaborative project between the East Avondale Neighborhood Association, Youth Serve, and JVUF. The neighborhood uses part of the garden to grow their own produce, First Serve uses part of the garden to run their education programs, and JVUF uses another section for the production of organic produce and flowers for sale.
The farm's operations were moved to the Park Place site at 25th Street and 7th Avenue North in 2006. The 3.5 acre city block, called The Gardens of Park Place, was transformed into a model demonstration urban farm and community garden with assistance from the James Rushton One Foundation and designed by landscape architect Jane Reed Ross, with Land Ross Design. The Park Place site is also used for functions and meetings, and will be the site of Marty's 2009 wedding to Andrea Buchanan.
In 2016, Jones Valley Teaching Farm began construction of a "Center for Food Education" at their downtown location, replacing a smaller storage building. That project was delayed for several years, but resumed in late 2020 with the awarding of $7 million in New Markets Tax Credits. The $8.3 million facility was completed in fall 2022.
In 2023 JVTF was awarded $805,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds allocated by the Birmingham City Council to expand its "Good School Food" program with Birmingham City Schools, including field trips, week-long camps, and paid internships for students, as well as apprenticeships for recent graduates.
- Bruce, Taylor (May 2006) "Edwin Marty: Urban Farmer." Portico
- Guster, Chanda Temple (December 11, 2008) "Personal assistance companies come to rescue for small businesses." The Birmingham News
- Star, Letitia L. (March/April 2009) "America's Top 10 Urban Farms" Natural Home
- Natta, André (May 14, 2012) "New name. Still teaching. Still growing. The Terminal
- Van der Bijl, Hanno (September 23, 2020) "Jones Valley Teaching Farm plans new project downtown." Birmingham Business Journal
- Prickett, Sam (April 4, 2023) "JVTF Gets $805K From City to Teach Students About Farming and Food." BirminghamWatch