By Toni Stauffer
Citizens of Phenix City and other Alabama towns depend on rural farm communities to provide food, fiber and forest products for daily living. Numerous workers play important roles to get those goods to the people.
Farm-City Committees have hosted educational events for the public since 1955 in order to give city folks an inside look at how the farm-to-table process works, as well as to foster a deeper understand between farmers and those who buy their goods.
Farm-City Week is celebrated the week of Thanksgiving, when K-12 students are encouraged to enter posters, essays and multimedia projects to three contests based on the Farm-City theme. Also, there is the Farm City Awards, a contest for Farm-City Committees, and the Farm of Distinction, a contest for farms. The contests are sponsored by the Farm-City Committee of Alabama in cooperation with Alabama Ag in the Classroom and Alabama Farmers’ Cooperative.
Last year, the Committee sold 2018 Alabama Farm-City Calendars that featured the winning artwork of students. It’s that time of year again, and the new contests have begun. Student winners of this year’s contests will be featured in the Alabama Farm-City Committee’s 2020 Farm-City calendar.
Farm-City has three contests for K-12 students: poster, essay, and multimedia; the 2018 theme for all three contests is “200 Years of Alabama Agriculture” to commemorate the state’s bicentennial. The poster contest has two categories of competition, one for kindergarten through third grade, and the second for fourth through sixth grades; the essay contest has two divisions, one for grades seven to nine and the second for grades 10-12. The multimedia contest is open to all Alabama students in grades nine through 12.
In the Farm-City Awards for which Farm-City committees can apply, submissions are judged by several different, detailed areas of focus, such as structure and support, farm tour report, program content, and others. Farm-City Award winners will be announced at the Farm-City Awards Luncheon and Program in Birmingham on April 4, 2019.
The last contest is for the Farm of Distinction category for which farmers can apply. Application to this contest leads to consideration for the Sunbelt Ag Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year. Criteria for farm eligibility is that the farm must provide a major source of livelihood for the farm family; farm owners must strive to be sustainable businesses that exercise sound management, environmental practices, and strive for innovative approaches to farming and stewardship; lastly, the farm operator must live on the farm.
The statewide deadline for all contest submissions is February 8, 2019.
For rules and forms, go to the alabamafarmcity.org website. You may also visit, or call, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System office for more information. The Russell County office is located in Phenix City at 508 14th St, and their phone number is (334) 298-6845. Winners will be notified no later than March 8, 2019.