Art and agriculture combined to close the gap between farm and table as creative young people were recognized at the Alabama Farm-City Awards Luncheon April 5 in Birmingham.
Students from Autauga, Barbour, Coffee, Houston and Marshall counties were presented medals and cash awards for earning top honors in the state Farm-City poster, essay and multimedia contests.
“The creativity and talent of these young people is inspiring,” said Alabama Farm-City Committee Chairman Jeff Helms. “Our judges could tell these students researched the topic and took time to produce compelling and informative artwork, videos and essays. Their parents and teachers should be proud, and we all should be encouraged about the future of our state and industry.”
Autauga County seventh-grader Audrey Teaster won first place in the seventh- through ninth-grade division of the essay contest while Barbour County senior Lauren Garlits took top honors among 10th- through 12th-graders. Each received $300, as did their schools, Autauga Academy and Garlits Homeschool. Second-place essay winners were Fayette County High School ninth-grader Alisha West and Autauga Academy 10th-grader Emma Wendland. They and their schools each received $200.
All student prizes were provided by the Alabama Farmers Cooperative (AFC), which serves farmers, gardeners and homeowners through about 80 Quality Co-op stores.
A highlight of the luncheon was viewing the first-place multimedia video entry of Marshall County senior Kaleigh Backstrom. About 400 Alabama Farmers Federation Women’s Division members and Farm-City volunteers perched on the edge of their seats as Backstrom illustrated this year’s theme of “Agriculture: Food for Life.”
Backstrom and her school, The Way Home Christian School, each received $300 from AFC. Second place went to Ty Rickard of Rehobeth High School in Houston County. He and the school received $200.
The most popular youth Farm-City competition was the poster contest. Third-grader Zayden Merry of Montana Magnet School in Houston County won first place in the kindergarten to third-grade division, and fifth-grader Bowen Lee Jones of Zion Chapel School in Coffee County placed first among fourth- through sixth-graders. Each received $200 from AFC, as did their schools.
Second place winners and schools received $100. They were Lineville Elementary School second-grader Hudson Foster of Clay County and sixth-grader Hannah Lee, who attends Baldwin Arts and Academics Magnet School in Montgomery County.
The 2019 Alabama Farm-City Calendar will feature the artwork of 10 honorable mentions from the poster contest. Each student was awarded $50 by AFC. They were; Yaley McClendon of Pike Liberal Arts School in Pike County, Sophie Novalee Knight of Haleyville Elementary in Winston County, Lyric Antone of West Point Elementary in Cullman County, Braden DeLoach of Fayetteville School in Talladega County, Emma Shelton of Pickens Academy in Pickens County, Jordan Renee’ Dukes of South Lamar School in Lamar County, Anna Grace Black of Hatton Elementary in Lawrence County, Lily Gracelyn Moss of Horseshoe Bend School in Tallapoosa County, William Thornton of Heard Magnet School in Houston County and Alana Smith of Ariton Elementary in Dale County.
Photos of the Awards Luncheon and winning posters are available on the Federation’s Flickr page and Facebook. Backstrom’s video can be viewed on the Federation’s YouTube channel.