Gleaning – the act of collecting leftover crops from a farmer’s fields after the harvest – goes back centuries. DC Central Kitchen relies on our local farm partners, including Dreaming Out Loud, Potomac Vegetable Garden, and the Franciscan Monastery, among others in the National Capital Region, to prepare and deliver nutritious meals to community partners throughout DC. Over the summer, we added The JK Community Farm, located in Purcellville, VA, to our growing list of gleaning partners.
JK Community Farm is a “150-acre working farm practicing regenerative, sustainable, chemical-free four-season agriculture.” The four-year-old non-profit donates 100% of their harvest to organizations, like DC Central Kitchen, serving communities battling food insecurity. In addition to raising grass-fed cattle and free-range chickens for organic eggs on the farm, the 20-acre produce plot boasts three greenhouses and fields of crops ranging from melons to peppers to sweet potatoes that will ultimately yield over 230,000 pounds of food for families in need this year.
The community farm’s two employees, Samantha and Mike, rely on the help of volunteers and interns to glean the fields for donations. This past week, with the help of 39 volunteers from Epsilon Sigma Alpha, Williams Mullen, USI Insurance, and St Jane DeChantal School, DC Central Kitchen harvested 2,548 pounds of peppers, tomatoes, sweet corn, carrots, and watermelon for deserving families in the region.
Check out the photo album from this trip.
Produce from gleanings like this week are vital contributions to the Kitchen, with fresh ingredients popping up on menus for community meals and healthy school foods every day. With indoor volunteer activities continuing to be suspended due to COVID-19, our gleaning trips have become a popular, safe way to stay connected to DCCK. While our remaining gleans for the season are currently fully booked, interested volunteers are invited to email us at email@example.com to be added to the waiting list in case spots become available.