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Sponsored Post: Spotlighting 6 Nonprofits That are Fueling Change

Learn more about some of the great nonprofits that are participating in the Fueling Good contest.

When it comes to driving change, CITGO is helping nonprofits through their Fueling Good program. With a commitment of $120,000 in 2011, the company will reward thousands of gallons of gas to charitable organizations. Whether it’s a bus delivering new books to underserved families or a food pantry helping feed a community, nonprofits can team up with CITGO and show how one gallon of gas can fuel change in many different ways. Learn more here about how worthy charities can enter to win.

This post is in partnership with CITGO

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Nonprofit Spotlight: Farming in the Heart of a City

Located in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, Jones Valley Urban Farm offers fresh vegetables and health education to an area known for its food deserts.


This post is in partnership with CITGO

Wander downtown on any given day in Birmingham, Alabama, and in the heart of the bustle of the busy streets you can see small groups of school children marveling over vegetables like radish or spinach grown on Jones Valley Urban Farm's 3.5 acres.

The children are participants in Seed 2 Plate, a K-8 healthy food curriculum program aimed at counteracting "food imbalance" and educating children about where their food comes from.

Birmingham, Alabama's largest city, contains some 43 square miles of neighborhoods categorized either as "food desert" or "food imbalance."

Food deserts are defined by The Urban Food Project as communities where it's difficult to find a grocery store that offers fresh produce or healthy food choices. Stores in food deserts (gas stations, liquor stores) tend to offer foods that also fall under the definition of food imbalance: instead of healthy options, the offerings are only high fat, high salt, candy, fried food or fast food.

The food desert/food imbalance areas of Birmingham are home to more than 88,000 residents, 23,000 of whom are children. Lack of access to convenient fresh produce and healthy food choices is directly related to such health crises as obesity, diabetes, and premature death, according to studies conducted by the Urban Food Project.

Jones Valley Urban Farm was started in 2001 as the antidote. The farm was created on a vacant lot in the middle of the city. The current iteration is housed on 3.5 acres in downtown Birmingham adjacent to mixed-income public housing, an essential component to the farm's public education programs.

The farm has created a wide range of programs, from selling at farmers' markets to sourcing produce to high-end Birmingham restaurants. Grant Brigham, executive director of JVUF, intends to increase the focus on the public-health education component.

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