STERLING, Va. – Starting today, JK Community Farm, a 150-acre farm in Purcellville, Virginia, has partnered with DC Central Kitchen to expand its food distribution to reach those facing food insecurity in Washington, DC with healthy, organic produce and protein. As the nation’s largest nonprofit chemical-free community farm, it will donate close to 230,000 pounds of food in 2021 throughout the region with 40,000 pounds of food—the equivalent of 28,000 meals—going to DC Central Kitchen to combat hunger.
“COVID challenged our efforts to keep up with demand, but we adapted our volunteer workforce and were able to increase yield to ensure more families had healthy meals on their plates,” explained Samantha Kuhn, executive director, JK Community Farm. “Our increased production is enabling us to grow our footprint, and we are excited that DC Central Kitchen is becoming a distribution partner to serve more with our healthy yield.”
Access to healthy, nutrient dense food is especially difficult to get in impoverished communities. The USDA reports strong correlations between food insecurity, and negative health outcomes including a higher probability of diet related chronic disease – cancer, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, kidney disease, and COPD. In Northern Virginia and DC, 160,000 people face food insecurity, and a large number of these are children.
An iconic nonprofit and social enterprise that combats hunger and poverty through job training and job creation, DC Central Kitchen will be picking up from the farm twice per month. The farm’s nutrient-dense food will be used in the kitchens at DC Central Kitchen which provide culinary job training and prepared meals to local shelters and emergency mobile feeding sites, as well as using the fresh produce in produce bags that they distribute across the city. DC Central Kitchen will also send groups of volunteers to harvest food at the JK Community Farm for distribution at DC Central Kitchen. Last year alone, DC Central Kitchen served 3.8 million emergency meals and brought healthy groceries to over 200 locations.
“DC Central Kitchen fights hunger differently, and we believe in the power of healthy food to create change. That is why we look forward to partnering with JK Community Farm to bring more fresh, local produce to our community. Since March of 2020 DCCK has distributed 3 million pounds of fresh produce to the community, and this partnership with JK Community Farm will help to continue to bring the benefits of fresh produce, volunteer opportunities, and food education to our partners,” said Amy Bachman, director of Procurement and Sustainability, DC Central Kitchen.
The farm’s other partners include Loudoun Hunger Relief, Food for Others, and Arlington Food Assistance Center. To nearly double production this year, JK Community Farm is planting on 14 acres—up from eight, as well as continuing to grow in high tunnels, greenhouses, and raised beds. It produces a variety of vegetables, such as lettuce, arugula, kale, broccoli, radishes, onions, Swiss chard, spinach, cabbage, squash, zucchini, and protein. The farm has also increased its volunteer workforce by 33 percent to meet its lofty goals. Other changes at the farm this year include enhanced educational programming by incorporating a bee hotel, beneficial insect habitat, pollinator habitat, flowers, blue bird 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. www.jkcommunityfarm.org.