Jones Valley Teaching Farm is excited to announce Amanda Storey as our next Executive Director. Amanda served as JVTF’s Director of Partnerships over the last year. Coincidentally, it was the organization’s most successful annual fundraising campaign to date.
Amanda is an effective and thoughtful leader. She has an impressive track record of leading people and organizations through the process of meaningful, long-lasting community development work while balancing the ambitions of a nonprofit seeking to address major social issues through education. Amanda has previously served as the Assistant Director at the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama and the Assistant Vice President for Community Health & Wellness at the United Way of Central Alabama. As Executive Director, Amanda will lead a team of 25 educators and farmers who are teaching and farming daily in Birmingham City public schools.
We asked Amanda 3 questions as she steps into this new role.
1. Why do you want to be the Executive Director at JVTF?
Jones Valley Teaching Farm has been the catalyst for my personal and professional journeys as it relates to food. Through my connections to the farm, I’ve grown in so many ways, met incredible people, and learned more than I ever wanted to know about how to cook a Hakurei turnip. I’m honored to serve as Executive Director at JVTF because I believe in what we do and I’m excited to work at an organization that is focused solely on encouraging students to become critical thinkers and change makers. I’m thrilled to work alongside incredibly talented staff while challenging ourselves to dig deeper, continually grow, adjust, and evolve, and to make true, lasting impact on the students who continue to challenge and inspire us regularly. I have young children of my own, so being able to be at an organization that lifts young folks’ dreams, thoughts, and ideas to the forefront, is exactly where I want to be.
2. Change is inevitable. What changes do you anticipate at JVTF over the next 12-24 months?
Over the next 12-24 months, I anticipate JVTF will build a teaching kitchen and classroom on our downtown farm. This will anchor our work and create long-lasting infrastructure in downtown Birmingham so that we can strengthen our work in Birmingham City Schools and reach more students across the metro Birmingham area through programs at our flagship urban farm. We will strengthen the impact of our Good School Food program in our 7 partner schools. We will watch the 2-acre urban farm behind Woodlawn High School flourish and launch a student-run food business from a high school campus. Jones Valley Teaching Farm will continue to connect with community partners and advocates, students, students’ families, and the many different people that make up our partner schools. Birmingham City School students and JVTF’s Good School Food program will be recognized nationally for the work we do, the impact we have, and the partnerships we foster. We will grow and evolve as people and as an organization.
3. The word around town is that you love Dolly Parton. Why is that?
Let me start with a quote from Dolly: “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” For me, Dolly Parton is an example of a strong, smart woman – a community advocate – a business leader – a creative genius – and someone deeply aware of her strengths and flaws and makes no apologies for any of them. She has a unique way of staying true to who she is, maintaining control of her business and reputation, while giving so much back to communities. She is a force to be reckoned with and an example of someone who lets her heart and mind lead the way. I love how honest she is – no matter who might be listening. As she says, “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” That’s my goal. I’ll keep working on it.