FALL & WINTER | 2020-2021
January 20th, 2021


Fifth grade students from both Avondale Elementary and Oliver Elementary met every Tuesday and Thursday. They grew kale, lettuce, and Asian greens at home and cooked delicious meals every week. We also learned about local farms around Birmingham and the country and how their work impacts their communities. We had great conversations and ate good! The recipe below is a club favorite.


Ready in 40 minutes
Serves 4

—2 tbsp oil
—1 onion, chopped
—1/2 butternut squash, chopped
—1/2 sweet potato chopped
—1 honey crisp apple
—2 stalks celery
—1 tbsp chili powder
—2 tsp ground cumin
—1/2 tsp ground sage
—1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
—1/2 tsp salt
—3 cups vegetable broth
—1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
—3 tbsp tomato paste
—1 15 oz can black beans
—1 15 oz can kidney beans

  1. Add the olive oil, yellow onion, butternut squash, sweet potato, apple and celery to a large stock pot and sauté over medium heat.
  2. Stir frequently until the mixture is very fragrant and the vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the spices (chili powder, cumin, sage, cinnamon) and salt. Continue to sauté for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the vegetable broth, apple cider vinegar, tomato paste and beans and stir well. Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil.
  5. Lower the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until vegetables have completely softened.
  6. Serve with sour cream or grilled cheese sandwiches for a cozy, delicious dinner.



The Center for Food Education is currently under construction on our Downtown Farm! The Center for Food Education will anchor Jones Valley Teaching Farm’s work and create a dynamic community hub that will allow us to reach more students, teachers, and community members than ever before. The Center will position Birmingham as a national leader and model for food-based education and workforce development.



As we welcome the long winter ahead, Glen Iris is full of crops from the brassica plant family. Right now we are growing:

  • Kale
  • Turnip Greens
  • Broccoli
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Collards


Students got to cook and grow with Farmers Jerick and Avant for the six weeks each Tuesday and Thursday. They planted seeds and grew kale, lettuce, and Asian greens to use in delicious recipes. Some of the students’ favorite recipes to cook and eat were homemade pizzas, veggie wraps, and carrot bacon. Students also earned Farm Club badges like, Water Wizard, Tool Safety Hero, and Food Critic!



Here in Birmingham, temperatures are dropping fast. You might wonder what that means for all our crops. During cold months, nearly all crops go dormant. Dormant means that instead of exerting energy and growing, they conserve it until warmer weather returns in the spring. Pretty cool right? Before the winter break, Farmer Shun met with Ms. Harrington’s awesome 5th grade class. They followed along and did an experiment to find out what plants need to grow. Students wrote a hypothesis and worked together to find out if they were correct. It was a ton of fun. Our 5th graders are ready to grow for the spring!


This winter you will find us harvesting brassicas, or leafy greens, and other cold-hardy vegetables like:

  • Collards
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Broccoli
  • Turnips
  • Lettuce
  • Radishes
  • Kale
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Kohlrabi



The temperature is dropping and a lot of our favorite vegetables don’t enjoy these chilly days. . . Except our lovely friends in the brassica family. Brassica is a genus of plants in the cabbage and mustard family. The members of the genus are sometimes known as cruciferous vegetables, cabbages, or mustard plants. Some of our students’ favorite are our collard greens and dinosaur kale! This year we wanted to maximize our growing during the winter, so we planted rows and rows of brassicas, over 300 plants! We are excited to share and eat these delicious plants throughout the fall and winter.


Ready in 30 minutes

—1 bunch collard greens (about 16oz)
—1 tbsp olive oil
—4 cloves garlic, minced
—1 red bell pepper, diced
—1/4 tsp salt or to taste
—1/4 tsp paprika
—1/4 tsp ground black pepper
—1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
—1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  1. Warm the olive oil in a wide skillet. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 90 seconds. Add the spices (salt through red pepper flakes), stir, and cook for 30 seconds more until toasted.
  2. Stir in the collard greens, coating them with the spices, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until softened and reduced in size by about half. Add the apple cider vinegar. Stir in well, and quickly cover the pan with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let steam, covered, for about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid and stir well. If needed, continue cooking until desired softness is reached. Serve warm.




Our Teaching Farms still remain closed to the public but we were determined to deliver a quality Farm Club experience to students. This semester, our Farm Club was held virtually. Jones Valley Teaching Farm Instructors and Graduate Apprentices teamed up to teach a variety of culinary and farm skills from the comfort of their homes. Just like in our in-person sessions, students earned badges such as Measurement Master and Transplant Expert. We discussed food justice weekly and highlighted Black-owned farm organizations from across the country. We could not be any more proud of our students and their creations like veggie pizza and stuffed bell peppers.


Our erosion lesson has always gotten students excited. Our Virtual Content Creator, Fernando, helped convert this classic lesson into an impactful virtual experience. Our Instructor, Shun, presented on erosion in the Teaching Farm at Putnam. Students lead discussions and identified examples of erosion in their world.



We are so impressed by this class of WHS Apprentices. Destiny and Yasmine have returned for their second year working in our apprenticeship program and we have also welcomed seniors Tyrone, Alisha, and Meliza to the team. They have been hard at work, while following our COVID safety protocols. It’s not easy farming in a mask, and they do it with a smile (we think). This fall, they planted collards, flowers, lettuce, and turnips. They harvested and washed summer and fall crops for Farm Club and community distribution. They weeded. They covered crops to protect them from the cold, even in a surprise snow one day! So far, they have had lessons on Irrigation, Soil 101, and Crop Planning. There’s plenty more to learn, and we are excited to experience it with them.


Did you know sweet potatoes are not actually potatoes? They belong to the morning glory family. Not only are they deliciously nutrient-dense for us, but they also increase soil quality for future plants!