However, I wanted to take a minute to talk about my trip to Alabama and a cool little side trip that I went on while I was there. Base camp for the conference was Camp McDowell, which is a lovely spot with a dynamic program and lovely, lovely staff that showed first rate hospitality and tons o' fun. Mark and his crew were spectacular and we had a great time. I'm sure that Rowdy and one of the camp dogs, Beans,would have had a great time hanging out together.
My friend Teri and I took an afternoon hike together to enjoy some of the sights (and thrills, right Teri?) from Camp McDowell's swinging bridge.
These photos don't really do any justice to how wide the river is, how swingy the bridge is or how steep those steps are! What a great afternoon.
While at this conference, participants have the opportunity to take an afternoon field trip and I was super pumped to find that one offering was to the Jones Valley Urban Farm. I was really inspired by the mission and work done by the staff of the farm. They established themselves in a food desert in downtown Birmingham and work to provide a variety of resources and programs to promote healthy eating in the city.
The farm has several individual garden plots that nearby residents without yards can rent and use to grow their own fresh produce.
The farm also provides education programs to local school students and school food service managers about the importance of balanced nutrition and fresh fruits and vegetables in a balanced diet.
Oh, you know, just a field of winter greens right next to a major highway, no big deal.
Jones Valley Urban Farm also provides locally grown produce and herbs to local chefs who help promote the farm's mission and education programs. On top of all that, they have a summer farm stand! Busy, busy farmers over there.
I cannot mention my trip to the farm without mentioning this ugly creature that I met there.
It's a TURKEN! It's 2/3s of a turducken, but ALIVE! This charming character is a crossbreed between a chicken and a turkey. Who knew those even existed? This guy was seriously ugly with his half bald turkey neck, and was kind of a farm yard bully. Meeting him was a definite highlight. I just couldn't leave him out.
My point is this, if you're ever in Alabama, stop by Camp McDowell and the Jones Valley Urban Farm. Lots of good work is being done down there! Enjoy!
(sorry about the cell phone photos, I do what I can...)