By Ann Laurel Latimer (“Good School Food Instructor at Avondale Elementary”)
Thanks to the initiative of an ambitious high school Girl Scout, the Farm Lab at Avondale Elementary has a new, shaded outdoor classroom! Lia, a senior at the Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School, embarked on a project to earn the Girl Scout USA’s highest achievement, the Gold Award, and Jones Valley Teaching Farm’s Farm Lab at her elementary alma mater is the lucky recipient.
Lia spent over 50 hours researching, networking, planning, and executing a construction project with the ultimate goal of shielding our current teaching space in the Farm Lab from the sun and rain. A Girl Scout in the Avondale Community since first grade, Lia’s decision to choose a project to benefit the neighborhood was a logical decision. When she heard about the Farm Lab, she realized her project could be “a wonderful opportunity to be part of something that is so important for the future of the next generation.”
In addition to altering our existing space so that we can deliver curriculum lessons without the threat of bad weather, she also created new and long-lasting partnerships. On the day of construction, Lia brought in a crew of new faces to whom we were able to introduce the Farm Lab and our overall approach to food education (“Good School Food”). The crew included Will McEwen, Tom McEwen, Koko McCall, and other Birmingham Girl Scouts and supervisors – all of which made the full work day a joyful success! These ongoing connections contribute to a beautiful, expanding community and will serve as an inspiration for current students to recognize opportunities for giving back as they grow older.
As one of the Good School Food Instructors at Avondale Elementary, I am so grateful to have met each person who came to work and spend the day at Farm Lab. Everyone at Jones Valley Teaching Farm is in awe of the craftsmanship and intense effort which now results in a more beautiful space – a space that fosters discovery, hands-on learning, awareness, and gratitude. Our deep thanks to Lia for her vision and the entire crew for making this project a enjoyable learning experience.