Blueridgeleader.com,—The JK Community Farm, a 150-acre farm in Purcellville, Virginia that grows crops and livestock and donates them to nonprofits to alleviate hunger, has developed a food education curriculum, thanks to funding from Truist, Junior League of Northern Virginia and 100 Women Strong. The curriculum complements and enhances its current curriculum that is used with the farm’s field trip program.
“As part of our work to alleviate food insecurity, we are committed to educating people about food justice and healthy eating—starting with kids. By offering hands-on educational programs and field trips, we can share our passion for farming and help them understand the connection between soil, plants, people, and health,” explained Samantha Kuhn, Executive Director, of JK Community Farm. “Our new curriculum is an important and awesome tool to help us generate excitement and appreciation for nutrition, and we are grateful to our supporters for making this possible.”
The new curriculum, developed in partnership with FoodPrints DC, integrates gardening, cooking, and nutrition education into the current curriculum. FoodPrints embeds comprehensive food education in public elementary schools to improve health and academic outcomes for children and families. For JK Community Farm, FoodPrints adapted its standards-based curriculum for learning about gardens, kitchens, and food access to develop a curriculum specifically for the farm that will help students obtain a greater understanding of growing and eating nutritious, climate-friendly foods.
The curriculum works with the farm’s tailored programming used with field trips that are tied to Virginia Standards of Learning to teach about farming and nutrition. As part of the field trip program, the farm provides activity guides for each grade level and a food education workbook that can be downloaded from the farm’s website. The field trips help parents and teachers get their students outside to learn and provide hands-on activities to help students make connections between what they are learning in school and the natural world and understand more about food insecurity in the community.
The guides are tied into Virginia’s math, science, health, PE, English, and history/social science Standards of Learning. Examples of activities include finding Farmer Mike to learn more about the farm, going to the greenhouse and identifying the parts of a plant, and using the farm’s sundial to learn about time. Field trips are offered on Mondays. Thirty slots are available in hour increments from 9 am-12 noon. A minimum donation of $5 per student will help cover the cost of materials. Every $35 donation enables the farm to grow an additional two weeks of food for a person in need.
JK Community Farm, a 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 region by growing and donating chemical-free, healthy produce and protein to those struggling with hunger. As the nation’s largest community farm with 100% of its yield donated, the farm will produce more than 245,000 pounds of healthy food in 2023, which will be distributed by nonprofit partners: Loudoun Hunger Relief, Food for Others, Arlington Food Assistance Center, and DC Central Kitchen.