JK Community Farm hosted its annual Intern Day for area companies on Friday.
Businesses were invited to send teams of interns to the farm for teambuilding as well as a chance to give back to the community. Five companies—Infinitive, Northwest Federal Credit Union, Pine Ridge Landscaping, CapRelo and JK Moving—sent around 30 interns for a day of harvesting and caring for crops.
Samantha Kuhn, executive director of the JK Community Farm, met the volunteers with lunch before the heavy lifting began.
She said intern day was an opportunity for the companies JK Community Farm partners with to better understand the impact their support makes on the farm throughout the year.
Friday also happened to be National Intern Day.
Kuhn said just before the interns arrived, a team from Loudoun Hunger Relief was picking up a load of cabbage to clear out the containers so they could add what the interns harvested today.
It was their second pick up of the week and according to the Kuhn they were completely out of cabbage after their Monday pickup.
“It was a ton of cabbage, a literal ton,” Kuhn said.
According to Kuhn, each partner food pantry has a specific day to pick up the fresh produce. She said they usually pick up about 5,000 pounds at a time. Loudoun Hunger Relief picks up twice a week because they are so close to the farm.
“Everything is grown beyond organic. We follow regenerative agricultural practices which means we are putting everything back into soil that we are taking out, that way we can keep growing on this land. And we aren’t stripping the soil of its nutrients, so we can provide the most nutrient dense produce to the food pantry’s,” Kuhn said.
She said they are always grateful for the volunteers, like the interns who came out today to help.
“The need is so high, so we are so grateful for the volunteers who can help us make sure the food pantries stay stocked with this fresh food,” said Kuhn.
Lauren Kourie is an intern with CapRelo. She had never harvested vegetables before but did plant some a few weeks ago at JK Community Farm. She said harvesting is fun, but hard work.
“It’s kind of like a workout,” she said between bending over and cutting the stems of cabbage and wiping sweat from her brow.
Eduardo Ramirez and Sergio Terra are accounting interns with Northwest Federal Credit Union. They spend most of the summer inside working with numbers. They said it was good to be outside doing some heavy lifting and helping those in need.
“It’s satisfying, it’s fun, its different. Everyone loves to be outside,” Terra said.
Connor Lawson, HR Specialist at JK Moving, helped put the day together. He said it’s the last event they do with the interns.
“We like the interns to get acclimated to what we like to do for the community, so we invite them out to the farm,” he said.
This is Lawson’s second year volunteering and he said it’s his favorite part of the summer intern program.
JK Moving has interns from universities all over the country and a several from local schools.
Jessica Probst, a marketing assistant at JK Moving, helped plant seedlings in May during the farm’s plant-a-thon. She said to be back at the farm now at the end of July to harvest what they planted was really satisfying.
“It’s a full circle feeling to see the product and then find out how many pounds of food that is and how many meals that equates to, and it really reinforces the impact that JK Community Farm is making to give back to the community and areas around it,” she said.
The interns were able to harvest 5,097 pounds of cabbage, sweet corn, and watermelon by the end of the afternoon.
The nonprofit farm provides chemical free, healthy produce and protein to those struggling with food insecurity in the region. As the nation’s largest community farm with 100% of its yield donated, the farm plans to produce more than 230,000 pounds of healthy food in 2022. The farm donates what it grows to nonprofit partners including, Loudoun Hunger Relief, Food for Others, Arlington Food Assistance Center and DC Central Kitchen.
JK Community Farm is located at 35516 Paxson Road south of Round Hill. For more information go to JKCommunityFarm.org.