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A feeding lifeline: The Jones Valley - Woodlawn garden

Updated: Jun. 22, 2021 at 2:54 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - What started out as a great hands-on educational tool for Woodlawn High turned into a lifeline feeding the community.

We talked to five interns who are now graduates of Woodlawn High who pretty much kept a two acre farm on the school grounds viable.

They are Alicia Moultrie, Destiny Nelson Miles, Yasmine Weaver, Tyrone Bolden and Meliza Francisco.

Kelly Baker, the instructor for the Jones Valley-Woodlawn garden, said, “These five are special because they come out here every single day. They get to see every season, everything they plant they get to see it grow, harvest it, they get to see it distributed.”

The farm is in the middle of a food desert, and thanks to a local church, distributed more than a thousand pounds of food in all since January. All of the sudden these seniors were partially responsible for getting food to people who were desperate during the pandemic when people couldn’t work or were laid off of their jobs.

Woodlawn High valedictorian Destiny Nelson Miles has worked the farm for years now and said, “I am very honored to be able to help my community, doing a good deed being able to help support other families, and understand that I was in a position to help others is really inspiring.”

Also, she is grateful for what she’s learned from the farm about eating nutritious foods. Kale is now her favorite.

Mohamed Jalloh the farm apprenticeship manager said, “We have over a 100 different crops, over 100 variety of crops that we grow.”

When you talk about farm to table it doesn’t get any fresher than this.  Jalloh names a few of the vegetables growing on the farm, “We have beans, green beans and the purple beans. We have squash, we have the yellow squash, we have zucchini, right next to it we have our cucumbers.”

Jalloh himself is a graduate of Woodlawn High school as well. He said, ”I remember food, it would be the topic, and to know the students can know where the food comes from and know the value of it when they see it instead of picking up a tray and saying, “I don’t like it,” and just throw it away. Getting students into the garden cuts down on food waste.”

He says the farm will be producing even more food this summer.

Miles, who is not just valedictorian but an Early College Program graduate at Woodlawn, and entering college as a junior this fall, says she will also spend her summer working on the farm.

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