2023-24 Fellow: Ashley Bonds

9-12th Grade Family Consumer Science Teacher in Mt. Vernon, AR – Mt. Vernon-Enola High School

2023-24 Fellow: Ashley Bonds is entering her fourth year teaching Family Consumer Science to 9th-12th grade students at Mt. Vernon-Enola High School. Prior to making the switch to Family Consumer Science, she was an elementary Library Media Specialist in an urban elementary school. There, she noticed the growing need for Food Education to combat food insecurity in her school’s community.

That experience gave her a strong desire to teach her students about food insecurity and what we can do about it. She’s been interested in food and cooking for her entire life. Both of her grandmothers taught her from a very young age how to prepare family favorites, and how to grow and preserve fresh fruits and vegetables from their garden. Since she began teaching Family Consumer Science, Ashley has been able to implement a hydroponics garden in her classroom. This allows her students to grow fresh herbs and vegetables to use in their food labs. Ashley’s main goal this year is to get her students involved in our school’s food pantry through volunteering in the pantry, and learning more about food insecurity in their local community. She’s incredibly excited to be a part of the Pilot Light Fellowship Cohort!

Favorite Food Education Standard: FES #1: Food Connects Us to Each Other.

In the South, food is a very big part of our culture. We feed each other at every occasion…weddings, funerals, new babies, good days, bad days. It is also my love language. If I hear of a need that someone has, my first instinct is to fix them a meal – usually one of my favorite comfort foods. Food is also the way my family celebrates. Most of our family gatherings center around a meal of everyone’s favorites. What those favorites consist of depends on the time of year or season. If we are celebrating with my son, my mama’s banana pudding is almost always on the menu. Those connections are special, and important.

A Favorite Food Memory or Recipe: 

One of my favorite gifts when my husband and I got married was from my grandmother. It was a cast iron skillet that was given to her by her grandmother when she married my grandfather. I’m pretty sure it was passed to her by another family member as well. It is my “cornbread skillet” now. It is thin and has a neat little lip along the bottom. I’ve never seen another one like it. It makes the best cornbread in the world, and nothing else gets cooked in that skillet.

Why I Became a Fellow: 

I’m so excited to share this program with my students. Just reflecting on the 7 Food Education Standards, and how I can incorporate them into my classes has given me so many new ideas, and I can’t wait to share them!

23-24 Fellow Ashley Bonds
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