The Alabama Farm City Program

The Alabama Farm City Program is a chance for young writers from all grade levels to write an essay on the theme “Agriculture: Stewards of a Healthy Planet.” Winning essays will be posted on the Farm City website and awarded a cash prize. First-place winners and their schools receive $300, while second-place winners take home $200 dollars for both the writer and their school. Students can also participate in the poster contest or multimedia contest.

Essay entries should be 500 – 1,000 words, typed, and double-spaced. Essays will be judged on content, title, mechanics, and organization, and must have the required information form attached.

The poster contest is open to all students in grades K – 6 and must be the original work of the student. Posters must relate to the theme, and they should be on display during the month of November in a shopping mall, library, or retail business.

For the multimedia contest, teens in grades 9 – 12 are challenged to use a video or slide presentation to communicate the Farm City theme. Presentations are limited to five minutes, and may be created in PowerPoint, Keynote, or any video editing software. Entries must be uploaded to YouTube with a link included in the application form.

Deadline for entry at the state level is February 17, 2017. Winners will be notified by mail no later than March 17, 2017. Award winners will be announced at the Farm City Awards Luncheon and Program in Birmingham on April 6, 2017.

School Garden @ BTWMHS

Booker T. Washington Magnet High School’s School Garden sits at the southwest corner of the campus. Since the soil is not exactly planting material, those partaking in the garden got creative, building makeshift beds, a compost pile, and using pots to let their plants grow. The completely organic garden gets all of their plants from Harwell’s Green Thumb Nursery.

2016-10-18-07-58-42Foster Dickson, both the Creative Writing and English 12 teacher, has founded the garden in the winter of 2015, and the garden has had five growing seasons in the span of a year and a half. The School Garden’s “staff” is made up of a ragtag group of mostly tenth grade students who joined for reasons like “It looks interesting,” or “Why not?”

Samantha Ammeter, whose been a worked on the garden staff for a little more than a year, started on unintentionally. “My friend needed help, and I was asked to help weed and sheer pumpkins.” She enjoyed gardening, so she stuck around.

2016-10-18-07-49-23When asked why he started the garden, Mr. Dickson responded, “Mainly, I enjoy it, but I [also] wanted to show young people, who didn’t know, that you can grow your own food in a small plot.”

The planting season was “delayed due to record the record heat… the whole state of Alabama has been in a drought. We held off so that the fall and winter crops wouldn’t burn.” But as of Tuesday they began their planting of: Georgia collards, Jade Cross brussel sprouts, pac choi, Fast Vantage cabbages, and a variety of beets. 2016-10-18-07-58-38