A confession: We food people preach a big game about local ingredients. We shop at local farmers’ markets and think you should too. We source humanely raised meat and fish caught using sustainable methods. Whatever your politics, local simply tastes better because it’s usually fresher than ingredients shipped across the country. Let’s face it, though, this stuff can be expensive and sometimes difficult to access for even the most intrepid cook. And what about kids? How do they learn to make healthy choices too?
Enter Jones Valley Teaching Farm.
In the December issue Editor’s Welcome letter, editor-in-chief Lindsay Bierman wrote about our partnership with Jones Valley Teaching Farm (JVTF), a downtown Birmingham institution and quite possibly the most dynamic urban farm in the country.
This month, we’re partnering with JVTF on the second iteration of The Family Kitchen, a four-week hands-on cooking and nutrition program that “empowers local families to cook healthy, affordable meals at home, using fresh ingredients that students have grown and harvested from the soil at JVTF,” as Lindsay wrote.
Based on the strength of the pilot program this spring, we’ve doubled the size of The Family Kitchen and joined forces with Cooking Light to share our stoves and cooking knowledge with 10 families from nearby Oliver Elementary School. That means that every Tuesday night in November, we’re bringing our Quick-Fix Supper pages of the magazine to life. Last night, the families cooked White Lightning Chicken Chili, sautéed kale, and Skillet Cornbread.
Nothing fancy, just honest home cooking, but you should see the looks on the faces of these families as they cook and sit down to eat at one big table. Something magical happens. A lightbulb goes off. An instant connection is made at the dinner table between a farm and a family.
JVTF is planting seeds in the city of Birmingham by teaching children to make their own smart choices. Help them grow.
To learn more about JVTF and The Family Kitchen and how you can get involved, go to http://jonesvalleyteachingfarm.org/donate/