2021 goals nearly double to address escalating hunger in DMV
STERLING, Va. (December 14, 2020)—JK Community Farm (Farm), a 150-acre farm in Purcellville, Virginia, donated nearly 147,000 pounds of protein and produce to local food banks in 2020, exceeding its goal by 11,000 pounds in response to—and in spite of—the pandemic. Now the nation’s largest chemical-free community farm, the Farm’s donated yield translated to 117,258 healthy meals and was produced with the help of nearly 3,000 volunteers.
“Need grew exponentially this year, which challenged our efforts to grow more while keeping our volunteer workforce safe. We adapted by spreading out our volunteer shifts and pushed to increase yield to ensure more families had healthy meals on their plates,” explained Samantha Kuhn, Executive Director, JK Community Farm. “We plan to do even more this coming year to combat hunger.”
As COVID-19 emerged, the Farm had to pivot. In March, the Farm reduced its volunteer force to 10 people a shift to comply with the CDC’s social distancing guidelines and then increased to 40 per shift in July—well below the 100 per shift pre-COVID. To still meet and then beat its goals, the Farm hosted more shifts on more days to plant and harvest produce, such as lettuce, arugula, kale, broccoli, radishes, onions, swiss chard, spinach, cabbage, squash and zucchini. To continue its focus on food and health education, the Farm supplemented distance learning by creating a field trip program, enabling more than 1,000 students to take self-guided tours with tailored programming tied to Virginia Standards of Learning to teach about farming and nutrition.
In 2021, the Farm plans to produce 230,000 pounds of healthy food, increasing its donations to nonprofit partners—Loudoun Hunger Relief, Food for Others, and Arlington Food Assistance Center—as well as expanding distribution into DC. To nearly double production, JK Community Farm will plant on 14 acres—up from eight, as well as continue growing in high tunnels, greenhouses, and raised beds. The Farm will also increase its volunteer workforce by 33 percent to 4,000 to meet these lofty goals. In addition, educational programming will incorporate a bee hotel, beneficial insect habitat, pollinator habitat, flowers, bluebird trail, and a sensory footpath.
JK Community Farm, a 501(c)3 nonprofit started in 2018 with the support of JK Moving Services, seeks to have a lasting and healthy impact on struggling families within the Washington, DC metro region by growing and donating chemical-free, healthy produce and protein to those struggling with food insecurity. In addition to volunteer support, the Farm relies on donations. The Farm—which donates 100% of its yield—is efficient and can grow one pound of organic, healthy food for $1.18. Every $35 donation ensures an additional two weeks of food for a person in need.