GBM encourages everyone to buy local when shopping for fresh produce. One source is the growing number of community gardens popping up around the metro area. Jones Valley Urban Farm, one of the first and largest, is located right downtown, providing a wonderful resource to families in the City Center. They have garden plots for residential use in both their Park Place and East Avondale locations. West End Urban Garden was developed in partnership between the residents of the community, Urban Ministry and the Community Church Without Walls . Both Jones Valley and West End are part of a collective of community gardens called the Community Garden Coalition for Birmingham. There are also farmers’ markets around the area. In addition to the large farmers’ market on Finley Boulevard, there are markets at Pepper Place (www.pepperplacemarket.com) and at East Lake United Methodist Church open on Saturdays during the harvest season. Angel Food Ministries, a national distributor of grocery foods for the poor, has distribution sites at many congregations in the area.
GBM also knows it is important to find sources of good, healthy produce for those whose budgets often jeopardize family nutrition. We have recently learned that Alabama is now participating in the national wave of Gleaning, the act of picking produce left in fields after harvests are brought in. While quantities left behind are greater on huge farms where produce is mass-harvested, the smaller farms of Alabama also have produce left in the fields. Volunteers are needed to glean the items remaining. Please visit endhunger.org and learn more about the Society of St. Andrew. This is a great volunteer opportunity that helps feed the hungry in the state.
GBM also tries to provide nutritious food to those who come to our door every Friday. We have received fresh produce over the years from the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, individual farmers, community gardens, interested congregations, and individuals. Now, thanks to a partnership with Grow Alabama, the dream of regularly providing fresh produce is becoming a reality.
Grow Alabama is a community supported agriculture (CSA) organization working with many farms around the state to increase local distribution and environmental sustainability. CSAs are popping up around the country and here in Alabama you can learn more here. Grow Alabama is joining with GBM to help feed Birmingham’s hungry while restoring local vegetable and fruit production to benefit Alabama farmers and their communities. By signing up through the GBM program, Grow Alabama will donate produce to match a 10% tithe. With your help, this project will secure a regular flow of fresh produce for GBM’s weekly food distribution. Click here to sign up. You can also download flyers and posters at www.gbm.org.
Find out more by visiting the Greater Birmingham Community Food Partners website at www.gbcfp.org.