The largest independent moving company in North America announced at a Loudoun County event Thursday an innovative new charitable project – farming to feed community members in need.
Chuck Kuhn, president of Sterling-based JK Moving Services, said he has purchased a 150-acre farm in Purcellville, placed the land in conservation easement, and will use the property to grow food to be donated to struggling families in Loudoun and beyond.
The farm, located off Paxon Road in Purcellville, was previously owned by a family for three generations, and Kuhn said he is excited about preserving it and embarking on the new endeavor.
Kuhn said farm manager Mike Smith will produce 16 types of vegetables on four acres, and farmer Tom Nicholson will oversee the beef, pork and venison.
Kuhn estimates they will grow 53,000 pounds of vegetables and 40,000 pounds of meat to give back to the community – with an estimated value of $235,000.
There will be opportunities to volunteer on the farm, a CSA for company employees and workforce training for nonprofit partner clients. In addition to sharing meat and fresh produce, the JK Community Farm is also planning to host educational classes for nonprofit clients about cooking, gardening and nutrition.
“We put a lot of thought into this. We want to address providing food security. Over 40 million people in the United States do not know where their food will come from today, and one in six children will go to bed hungry,” Kuhn said.
Kuhn said the JK Community Farm will partner with Loudoun Hunger Relief to help distribute the produce and meat to the local community.
“What an exciting day for our neighbors in need. No one should be hungry. This is keeping the spirit of agriculture alive in Loudoun,” said Jennifer Montgomery, executive director of Loudoun Hunger Relief.
Loudoun Hunger Relief provided 1.2 million pounds of food to 11,000 Loudoun residents last year, feeding 1500 to 2000 people per week. Nearly half of the people they serve are children.
“Many people are making too much money to get government assistance, but not enough to meet basic needs. The people we serve are working and housing cost burdened,” Montgomery said.
Loudoun County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D) said at the event, “this is quite a blessing.”
“Today we only have 50 heritage farms left in Loudoun, and this is an amazing thing. As a mental health professional, we are aware that children perform better in school when they have food to eat. Thank you for providing for local families in need,” Randall said.
Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Tony Howard was also on hand for the announcement.
“This is a great day in Loudoun and exemplifies a business community that understands the impact a company has in that community,” Howard said.