JK Community Farm offers pandemic distance learning

Oct 08 | 2020

In September the JK Community Farm, a 150-acre farm in Purcellville, Virginia that grows crops and livestock and donates them to non-profit making organisations to alleviate hunger, has supplemented its distance learning by providing a field trip programme. Groups will be able to take self-guided tours with tailored programming tied to Virginia Standards of Learning to teach about farming and nutrition.

The field trip helps students connect what they learn in school with the natural world“We are excited to provide an active, hands-on educational opportunity that exposes kids to farming, nutrition and philanthropy,” explained Samantha Kuhn, Executive Director, JK Community Farm.  “It’s especially rewarding that our field trips give parents and students an alternative ‘classroom’ that can expand kids’ learning in a safe environment.”

As part of the field trip programme, the nation’s largest non-profit community farm is providing activity guides for each grade level and a food education workbook, designed by Jackson Walker Design Group and funded by the Junior League of Northern Virginia, that can be downloaded from the Farm’s website.  The field trips help parents 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.

The guides are tied into Virginia’s maths, 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. Activities will be updated for each season.

Field trips are offered on Mondays since Loudoun County and Fairfax County Schools are closed on Mondays during the pandemic for independent learning. A minimum donation of $5 per student will helps cover the cost of materials and support the Farm’s work.

JK Community Farm 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 100% of its chemical free, healthy produce and protein to those struggling with food insecurity. This year’s harvest goal of 135,000 pounds will provide the equivalent of 108,000 meals to those in need. Every $35 donation enables the farm to grow an additional two weeks of food for a person in need.

The farm distributes its food through non-profit partners: Loudoun Hunger Relief, Food for Others and Arlington Food Assistance Center. In addition to the 150 acres, the farm has two high tunnels for season extension and 12 biointensive raised beds.  The farm is also starting a herb programme, focussing on food and nutrition education programmes, and transforming its barn into an education centre, food prep and teaching kitchen.