Start Date: Summer, 2015
End Date: Summer, 2016
Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2002, Jones Valley Teaching Farm (JVTF) began with a simple mission to grow and provide access to fresh produce in low-income, urban areas. In 2007, their major milestone was the transformation of a three-acre vacant downtown property into an urban farm.
In 2011, board leadership and staff strategically reexamined the organization's position within the community, with the goal of identifying ways to increase its long-term impact on students in the Birmingham City School System. As a result, their mission and programs were refined. First step in this process was to increase reach through hands-on science and nutrition education program on an urban teaching farm (Seed to Plate). Since 2012, this program has expanded to reach over 15,000 pre-K-8th grade students across the city.
In addition to Seed to Plate, JVTF made immediate strides to work more deeply and directly in schools in the Birmingham City School System. During the 2012-13 school year, JVTF established a Good School Food (GSF) partnership with Glen Iris Elementary. Since then, GSF has grown to 5 elementary and middle schools in Birmingham. These schools, in the Woodlawn community, form a unique feeder pattern leading into Woodlawn High School, where JVTF will establish a second urban farm in the Fall of 2015. As a result of this feeder pattern, JVTF is uniquely positioned to work with students throughout their elementary, middle and high school experience.
As a whole, the GSF program model is designed to address critical health and student achievement gaps through innovative, hands-on food education. By taking a community-focused, long-term approach, JVTF seeks to build a school culture where students, teachers and families have high nutritional literacy through constant exposure to healthy food and by connecting standards-based education to real-world food issues.
Fellows who work with JVTF spend a year of service at a specialized organization fighting systemic issues connected to poverty. Specifically, our primary focus is on food and health disparities and educational achievement in urban public schools. JVTF is seeking highly motivated, talented individuals to collaborate with our staff to support the following:
· Good School Food. GSF is a suite of programs with the centerpiece being a Farm Lab, which is both an outdoor classroom and a small farm on school campuses. Through this hub, we teach standards-based lessons, and explore and address critical issues around food and farming. Farm Lab is also in many ways the focal point of the Fellows’ experience, where Fellows teach JVTF-designed curricula and lead Project Based Learning experiences for students. Fellows are responsible for the implementation of lessons and for the care of the space as a team. First-year Fellows are mentored by second-year Fellows. Both Fellows are responsible for developing and maintaining positive, productive relationships with students and staff at our GSF partner schools and have instructional and logistical responsibilities at their school sites. Over time, you will likely become as much a part of the school community you work in as you are a JVTF staff member.
· Seed to Plate. The Seed to Plate program transforms our urban teaching farm into a learning laboratory where students explore, investigate, and inquire about where food comes from and why it matters to their long-term health and well-being. The Seed to Plate program has served as the foundation for our newer school-based work (Good School Food) and through this program, thousands of children, classrooms and families engage in conversations about health and sustainable food systems in our city long after the field trip is over.
· Urban Teaching Farm Site. JVTF’s urban teaching farm is the center of our work and mission. Therefore, the quality of the farm’s development is directly correlated to the quality of our education programs. Fellows will gain invaluable skills and knowledge in sustainable farming and agriculture working directly on the farm, helping to prepare soil, weed and harvest produce. Fellows will have the responsibility of applying the skills and knowledge obtained while working on the farm to our on-site education and school-based programming.
· Volunteer Recruitment and Management. Teaching Farm Fellows will recruit volunteers, including local college and university students, to support and expand the reach of JVTF’s mission. Fellows will be placed in a leadership role as they will be responsible at times for supervising and guiding the volunteers on the urban farm site through direct farming activities or on-site educational programming.
What JVTF Looks For:
o Believers in the power of education and food
o Self-direction with an openness and drive for learning, assessing and improving their work
o Undergraduate or Associates degree (preferred)
o Leadership experience teaching in a classroom or leading outdoor education(preferred)
o Ability to be flexible and handle multiple projects at one time
o Ability to do physically demanding work
o Strong communication skills
o Strong attention to detail
o Ability make change at JVTF and bring us something new
What Fellows Receive
· Professional Growth: This is a true opportunity for on-the-ground/hands-on experience working at the community level with teachers, students, parents and an awesome team from JVTF. You will be making real decisions that impact the growth and development of a nonprofit with ambitious goals. Through this Fellowship, you will have an immediate platform for fast yet thoughtful professional and personal growth.
· Culture: We take care of one another at JVTF. At JVTF, you are not expected to be anyone but yourself. We call it “The Farmily.”
· Good Food: You have access to fresh, organic produce all year long. Your office is across the street from one of the most robust and productive urban farms in the country.
· A service stipend: First year Fellows will receive an AmeriCorps VISTA Allowances Package. Second year Fellows will receive a more competitive JVTF stipend.
The Teaching Farm Fellowship is a collaboration between Jones Valley Teaching Farm and the AmeriCorps VISTA program through the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Please send current resume, cover letter and unofficial transcript(s) to email@example.com