Young artists, writers and volunteers from around the state were honored April 2 at the Alabama Farm-City Awards Luncheon in Birmingham.
This year’s theme for the poster and essay contests, “Harvesting Healthy Choices” supports the National Farm-City Council’s strategy of addressing one potentially divisive issue each year.
“Harvesting Healthy Choices” gives the agricultural community a chance to talk about the health benefits of locally grown produce and dispels the myth that modern agriculture is to blame for America’s expanding waistline.
The poster and essay contests received a strong response from students, with 130 total entries at the state level. Students qualified for the state awards by winning first place in their counties.
In the poster contest, McKenna Myrick of Jefferson County took first place in the Kindergarten-Third Grade Division, while Stephen Aldridge of Dale County took first place in the Fourth-Sixth Grade Division. Second place in the Kindergarten-Third Grade Division went to Makayla Delvecchio of Houston County, and Jaylen Deveridge of Pike County placed second in the Fourth-Sixth Grade Division. First-place winners in the poster contest each received $200, second-place winners each received $100, and each winner’s school received matching contributions.
Taking top honors in the essay contest were Victoria Booker of St. Clair County in the Seventh-Ninth Grade Division and Libby Harrigan of Clarke County in the 10th-12th Grade Division.
Meanwhile, Zach Hurst of Clay County took second place in the Seventh-Ninth Grade Division, and Sarah Swain of Calhoun County took second place in the 10th-12th Grade Division. First-place winners in the essay contest each received $300, with second-place winners each receiving $200. Each winner’s school received matching contributions.
The winning posters will be featured in the 2013 Alabama Farm-City calendar, along with the artwork of 10 other students, who received honorable mentions for their entries. Those students were: Anna Walling, Chilton County; Samuel Corson, Clay County; Cherokee McShane, Clay County; Carter Gay, Cullman County; Kelsey Young, Etowah County; Courtney Breeding, Lawrence County; Dylan Seth Brewer, Limestone County; Keaton Grace Gunter, Marengo County; Jamie Moore, Marengo County; and Teri Kim, Montgomery County.
The Farm-City Committee of Alabama sponsors the annual awards program in cooperation with Alabama Farmers Cooperative and Alabama Ag in the Classroom. As a way to help bridge the gap between rural and urban residents, Farm-City Week is observed nationally each year the week before Thanksgiving.
Top Counties, Volunteers Honored
County volunteers who excel in fostering understanding and cooperation among rural and urban residents also were honored during the awards luncheon.
Coffee County won the award for the Best Farm-City Committee in the state. The county was recognized for the Best Scrapbook, Best Farm-City Dinner and the top award for counties in Division I (population 35,600 or more).
Other winners in Division I were: Etowah County, Best Farm-City Tour; Lawrence County, Innovative Idea Award; Cullman County, Best Media Coverage/Proclamation, Target Award and Runner Up Best Farm-City Committee in Division I; Houston County, Best Civic Club Activities; and Jefferson County, Best Special Activities.
Franklin County took top honors in Division II (population less than 35,600). The Franklin County Farm-City Committee also won the Best Farm-City Dinner, Best Special Activities and the Target Award. Other Division II winners were: Cherokee County, Best Farm-City Tour; Randolph County, Best Scrapbook Award; Cleburne County, Innovative Idea Award; Pickens County, Best Media Coverage/Proclamation Award and Runner-Up Best Farm-City Committee in Division II; and Henry County, Best Civic Club Activities.
Coffee and Franklin counties also received plaques from the National Farm-City Council for winning their respective divisions.
In addition to recognizing outstanding county Farm-City committees, the 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Caroline Batcheldor of Russell County.
A volunteer for more than 50 years, Batcheldor was nominated by more than a half-dozen of her peers and fellow Farm-City Committee members, largely due to her work with Russell County’s Farm-City Breakfast.
In addition to the breakfast, Batcheldor provides leadership for compiling the county’s scrapbook and is instrumental in constructing the Russell County Farm-City Exhibit each year.