Jones Valley Teaching Farm is kicking off Farm Lab today at Glen Iris Elementary, with around 100 students participating over the month of June. As part of Jones Valley’s Good School Food Project, Farm Lab is an on-site garden and outdoor learning laboratory where students learn about food and food systems as they help grow their own produce.
JVTF will also be piloting its classroom kit-based curriculum on food systems with these students, starting with “Grow” and “Harvest” this week and next. As rising kindergarteners and first-graders, these students are learning about food by getting in the dirt and seeing what science feels, smells, and tastes like. The kits are aligned with both Alabama course of study and national standards for science, so their time at Farm Lab during June fits into their classes during the school year at Glen Iris.
Farm Lab looks and feels like an outdoor ecosystem — the low and high raised beds have lettuces, green beans, eggplant, fruit trees, cantaloupe, and more growing at eye level for students. Old materials like car tires and bicycle wheels have been re-purposed into beds and trellises, all surrounding the Glen Iris playground.
Zoe Burgess and Stephanie Munkachy from Jones Valley will be leading the lessons in both the classroom and Farm Lab portions of the program. Glen Iris teachers will also participate and begin to implement these vibrant, inquiry-based classroom kits when school begins in the fall. We want to thank Glen Iris Principal Michael Wilson for his support for this project, as well as the staff of Glen Iris Elementary for their dedication to providing innovative, practical education for even the youngest of their students.