March 27th, 2020

RAINBOW RATATOUILLE: PreK students learned the importance of eating colorful foods to ensure they have the necessary nutrients to be happy, healthy, and strong. Using ingredients from all the colors of the rainbow, students helped prepare a ratatouille by slicing orange and purple carrots, and tearing green and purple kale.

STONE SOUP: This winter, 2nd Grade got cozy to read Stone Soup. In this story, two weary travelers are denied food from villagers. The travelers then convince the villagers that they can make a fantastic soup for all to enjoy: a stone soup. Of course, the magical ingredient is sharing. Students pitched in to help make their own stone soup with veggies from the Teaching Farm!

WINTER ON THE TEACHING FARM: If you have been to any of our Teaching Farms when the temperatures dip below freezing, then you may have noticed a white cloth covering some of the vegetable beds. This is frost cloth; it is used to protect our more tender crops from freezing weather while still giving the plants plenty of sunshine to grow. Unlike cold-hardy plants like cabbage, collards, and spinach, some winter crops need to be tucked-in under a blanket. Crops beneath the frost cloth include lettuce, cilantro, flowers, and even new baby cold-hardy plants. While our plants have been weathering the cold, the farmers have also been hard at work in the greenhouse to get spring crops ready.

HONEY HARVEST: Our busiest farm team members—honey bees—spend all year pollinating our plants and producing honey. This winter, we harvested 17 pounds of honey! We saved enough to keep the bees fed and healthy and then got to enjoy the rest with JVTF staff!

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Ever wonder what professional development looks like for farmers? Our Downtown Campus crew enjoys traveling to farm conferences in the winter to refresh their skills and connect with other farmers. Some of our staff members attended the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network (ASAN) Food & Farm Forum. We learned from a wide variety of experts at informative sessions and enjoyed some much needed farm fellowship. Two of our staff members led educational sessions to other farmers and food enthusiasts; Jesse (Senior Farm Manager) spoke about seed saving and Jessica (Downtown Campus Farm Manager) spoke about flower farming! Some of our staff attended Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group’s (SSAWG) Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. There, we got to learn more about farms and techniques from all over the south. Our farmers presented on their favorite topics to the rest of the staff at our February staff meeting!

SPRING SOWING: When most people think of winter on the farm, they imagine dormant plants and slow work days. While the farm might appear to be less active, our winter produce continues to grow and our farmers spend time in the greenhouse on the Teaching Farm at Woodlawn High School sowing seeds for the spring. So far, with help from Graduate Apprentices, we have sown collards, kale, chard, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, flowers, and more! The greenhouse helps us create the perfect conditions to grow strong seedlings. We give each seed a nice warm home in trays filled with soil that we water and watch until they sprout and are big enough to plant in the field. Soon, we will transplant these seedlings for spring and summer harvesting and eating!

MEET FARMER JERICK: You may have noticed that there’s a new farmer on the Teaching Farm at Glen Iris! Farmer Jerick worked on the Teaching Farm at Woodlawn High School before graduating in 2018. He then joined Jones Valley Teaching Farm as a Graduate Apprentice serving many of our sites. Jerick looks forward to maintaining the farm space and building new relationships with the school!

RAINBOW RATATOUILLE: In December, Pre-K students used their senses to make their very own Rainbow Ratatouille Pasta! They saw and identified the colors, felt the squishy noodles, smelled the ingredients, heard it cook and crunch, and tasted it! Did you know that eating many colorful foods helps your body get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber it needs?

TERIYAKI VEGGIES: This recipe is delicious with carrots and broccoli or any of your favorite vegetables! It is easy to adapt to your liking and the seasons.

— 4-5 medium carrots, diced
— head of broccoli, chopped
— 3 cloves garlic, minced
— 4 Tbsp soy sauce
— 1 tsp ginger
— 1 Tbsp cornstarch

1) In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine all of the ingredients for the teriyaki sauce. Stir occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Set aside.
2) Add carrots and broccoli to the saucepan. Coat with sauce and cook until tender, about 5-6 minutes.
3) Serve over rice or noodles and enjoy!

RATIO STIR FRY: Mrs. Hopkins and her 7th graders for used math in the kitchen to make a delicious stir fry out of cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, & cabbage from the Teaching Farm! Students used what they learned about ratios to adapt a recipe in order to cook enough stir fry for the whole class. Stir fry is a perfect way to use up hardy winter veggies!

TASTES ABOUND: Mrs. Boglin, Mrs. Miley, Mrs. Stitt, and Mrs. Toni made space in their 1st grade classes for students to learn about where food comes from and the four different tastes. Students went on “tastes abound” and tasted different foods. They voted on whether they were salty, sour, sweet or bitter.

SCIENCE STIR FRY: Fourth grade students learned the three heat transference methods– conduction, convection, and radiation. They rotated through activity stations to see them each in action. Then they used these methods to cook a tasty stir fry!

SOUL FOOD: Fifth grade students learned how history has influenced some of the foods we eat today. This lesson always sparks meaningful dialogue about food and culture. We ended the lesson by preparing collard greens and grits, using a recipe from Bryant Terry’s cookbook, Afro Vegan.

WINTER PRUNING: Did you know that the Teaching Farm at Oliver Elementary has more than 30 fruit trees? We have peaches, plums, pears, and more! Each winter, while our trees are resting, Farmer Joi and our Downtown Campus crew prune all of the trees. Pruning is when we trim a tree, shrub, or bush by cutting away dead or overgrown branches. Pruning helps stimulate new growth by helping the tree access the moisture, sunlight, and nutrients it needs to grow and produce delicious fruit. Keep an eye out for new growth as spring starts!

SILK ROAD: Mrs. Herring’s 8th grade social studies class traveled back in time to trade spices, technologies, and ideas along the Silk Road which ran through Rome, India, China, and Arabia. On day 1, students encountered difficulties like getting the bubonic plague and losing goods in sandstorms. On day 2, students chopped vegetables from the farm and used the spices they traded, such as garlic, turmeric, and coriander to make a tasty Veggie Curry.

RATIO STIR FRY: This Winter, Ms. Leonard’s 7th grade math students explored ratios and put their math skills to the test. They learned that we use ratios to create a lot of our favorite foods. To make the perfect stir-fry, students chopped veggies and multiplied ratios to create slurry. Slurry is a mixture of flour and water that is used as a thickening agent for stir fries, soups, stews, and sauces.

MACROS SALAD: Mrs. Timmons’ freshman biology students prepared vegetables for a salad to review the functions of macromolecules in both plants and people. It included carrots (carbohydrates), peas (protein), and a vinaigrette (lipids).

NATURAL POETS: Can you describe the taste of a fresh carrot? Mrs. Delehanty’s 11th grade English class harvested and tasted carrots from the farm, described their experience, and created poems centered around natural imagery.

FARM FRESH JAMBALAYA: In November, Coach Beautiful’s Health classes visited the farm to cook a jambalaya with onion, peppers, greens, and parsley from the farm. Students developed posters about the nutritional values of these different veggies.