Working a bustling street market may not sound like an ideal Saturday to most high school juniors and seniors, but Woodlawn High School students leap at the opportunity.

At almost every Woodlawn Street Market, seven to nine students participating in an internship program at Jones Valley Teaching Farm take shifts vending seasonal fruits, vegetables and flower bouquets grown on a two-acre site in the northwest corner of the school’s campus.

“Woodlawn Street Market gave us an opportunity to see what a real, vibrant street market feels like and what a real, intense business looks like,” said Program Director Scotty Feltman.

Students are required to take one of two shifts at the market, but students usually volunteer for both, Feltman said.

“They’re excited to do it because they have so much fun doing it, which is great,” he said.

Market cofounder Bekah Fox says the farm and its students were early Woodlawn Street Market participants.

“It’s been really exciting to see Jones Valley Urban Farms continue to grow within our community,” she said. “They do an excellent job of nurturing kids in consistent and creative ways.”

One of those ways is making sure they gaining real-world customer services skills.

“The kids get a chance to answer questions that are coming at them, to make quick calculations and meet members to the community and to let them know what’s happening out here,” Feltman said. “It’s not a formal environment, but you’re representing a business, you’re representing a company and we treat it like that.”

They also learn more about product viability.

“When we go to Woodlawn Street Market, we better make sure we have flowers, we better make sure we have collard greens,” he said. “Those are things that are important for any business, kind of knowing what your market wants and what they’re going to buy. These are all really great things for them to see if they ever have any inkling in the future to do something like this.”

Don’t miss the next market on Saturday, Aug. 10! Learn more here

Students get to demonstrate the agricultural skills they’re learning.

“There’s more of an interest and engagement for them to be like, ‘Yeah, this is what we have, this is what we grow. This is what we did to grow it,’” Feltman said. “They’re getting to see a business owner’s view of selling a product.”

Fox says she remembers feeling proud of the students after the farm’s crops produced enough food to sell at the market.

“I think Woodlawn is fortunate to have an opportunity like JVTF for students to be a part of if they choose,” she said. “I think we are fortunate when they can make it to the market. Every time they take a new step, I feel like we all win!”

That pride is mutual.

“[The students] always sell everything and they’re always grinning ear to ear the whole time,” Feltman said. “I’ve been proud every single time we’ve done it. They’re the best representatives of our organization that I can imagine and for this community.”

The teens are essentially the ones running the booth.

“They’re the ones that are handling all the money, they’re the ones that are wrapping everything up, they’re the ones that if they’re running low on $1 bills, they have to figure that out, and they always do,” Feltman said.

Jones Valley Teaching Farm, in turn, gets to solidify its presence in the community. That exposure helps drive people to the farm’s weekly sales.

“We’d meet them at market, they’d buy produce from us and come to our pop-up tent that we have here every week because of the relationship we’ve built and the quality of our product,” Feltman said. “Woodlawn Street Market gave us that introduction.”

Feltman said that overall he and the students enjoy the atmosphere of Woodlawn Street Market.

“I think there’s a really good vibe at Woodlawn Street Market, there’s a really good mixture of people,” he said. “You get a lot more representative of not just this community but surrounding communities. That’s not something you get at other markets.”

Related News

  • Why your voice on historic preservation is essential

    Filed Under: Front Page, Get Involved, Historic Preservation, Residential

    President and CEO of REV Birmingham David Fleming writes about the importance of historic preservation and highlights the advocacy efforts that saved the French Quarter in New Orleans and the Forest Park neighborhood in Birmingham. The article concludes with a call to action, urging for new leaders and the implementation of various strategies to protect and celebrate Birmingham’s historic buildings and places.

    Read More

  • It's show time at the Woodlawn Theater!

    Filed Under: Filling Vacant Spaces, Front Page, Small Business, Woodlawn, Yaysayers

    Lights, Camera, Action! The rebirth of the Woodlawn Theater is happening this weekend in the heart of Woodlawn. The theater is opening its doors to the public with two extraordinary opening events that are FREE to the public. The 1400 square foot venue has a wide range of amenities and even has a full-service bar. Because of the Mason Music Foundation, this venue is filling a much needed resource for local musicians to perform. Keep reading to discover how the theater came back to life and its impact on the community.

    Read More

  • What Stallions cornerback, Brian Allen loves about Birmingham

    Filed Under: Downtown Birmingham, Events, Front Page, Yaysayers

    Brian Allen, a talented cornerback, has made the remarkable transition from a small town in Texas to the vibrant city of Birmingham. Choosing Birmingham for his football career for two consecutive seasons, Brian’s unwavering dedication and exceptional skills have made him a standout figure in the world of football. To dive deeper into Brian’s journey and discover his genuine appreciation for the city, watch this video with the link below!

    Read More