An Evening with Schoolyard Roots at Black Warrior Brewing Company

Augustus Barnette, Staff Reporter

For the second annual “A Moveable Feast,” establishments across the city of Tuscaloosa sold menu items made with local ingredients in order to support education non-profit Schoolyard Roots.  

A Moveable Feast” is a six-day-long “celebration of local food and farms,” according to the organization. Featuring an online silent auction and a plant pull, the goal of “A Moveable Feast” is to raise money for Schoolyard Roots, all while allowing the city of Tuscaloosa to feel good, and to eat and drink items with locally grown ingredients. This year’s “A Moveable Feast” brought in over $40,000 for garden education.  

Schoolyard Roots is a non-profit that aims to educate elementary-age students in and around Tuscaloosa about plants, gardening, health and nutrition, as well as tying in a student’s core curriculum in accordance with the state’s academic standards.  

“They’re on site at the schools. Every garden has about 12 to 14 raised beds that are eight by four feet, and so, we grow a ton of stuff. Right now, we’re planting fall crops; collard greens, carrots, lettuce, kale, radishes are all things that will fare well in the cold weather, and then we’ll do another round of planting in the spring,” said Nicole Gelb Dugat, the executive director of Schoolyard Roots.  

As for how Schoolyard Roots intertwines education and gardening, Dugat said it works rather seamlessly, and the connection between standard courses comes naturally.  

“Gardens are such a natural area with so many academic subjects. I like to say that anything you can learn in a classroom, you can come out into the garden, and we can make a connection there,” Dugat said. “So, for math, we might measure the perimeter of a garden bed, or we might make a graph that tracks the growth of a plant over time … English and reading, we do poetry in the garden, we write garden haikus, we do a lot of observing, and writing in garden journals.” 

Since its inception in 2012, Schoolyard Roots has partnered with 11 schools in the Tuscaloosa area.  

According to the Schoolyard Roots 2021 Annual Report, the program has benefited over 10,000 students, with “100% of partner teachers” agreeing the garden program impacted students in socializing, trying new things and more.  

Among the establishments that participated in “A Moveable Feast” are Alcove International Tavern, Black Warrior Brewing Company, Chuck’s Fish, DOMO, Druid City Brewing Company, FIVE Bar, Monarch Espresso Bar, River, Turbo Coffee and Southern Ale House 

“A Moveable Feast” also featured produce from five local farms and was sponsored by over 30 unique local businesses. 

“This is our second year doing it, and one of the things that we were really excited about was that it was an opportunity to highlight our local restaurant partners and all these local farms,” Dugat said. “All week long, people can go to any of our 10 partner restaurants and try a special, which will feature local produce either from a local farm or from our garden.” 

Unique menu items were available at each location, including small plates, entrees and specialty beer at Druid City Brewing Company and Black Warrior Brewing Company.  

Schoolyard Roots also held “An Evening with Schoolyard Roots at Black Warrior Brewing Company,” on Thursday, Sept. 29 in order to mingle with member of the Schoolyard Roots organization, listen to live music, and try Black Warrior Brewing Company’s limited edition Roasted Carrot Märzen, crafted with carrots grown by Schoolyard Roots. 

A portion of sales went to support Schoolyard Roots. Those who were unable to attend this year’s “A Moveable Feast” can donate to Schoolyard Roots on their website. Volunteers are also always welcome at Schoolyard Roots.