30 year-old Jason Brown is man to whom money really is not a driving force. He's not the type of story that NFL fans have become accustomed to hearing; he's a story of doing good for others.

Brown, a former lineman for the Baltimore Ravens and St. Louis Rams, left behind his $37 million contract last spring in order to do something he has never done before: he become a North Carolina farmer, and now is on a mission to feed the state’s residents who are hungry.

Brown purchased 1,030 acres of farm land near his home town of Louisburg, NC and has started growing crops like sweet potatoes and cucumbers. Since he had never actually farmed a day in his life, Brown learned the tricks of the trade like anyone else learning a trade in the 21st century...he watched videos on YouTube. When they heard of Brown's goals, others lent a hand to help him learn. Local farmer Len Wester lent his expertise; the potato plants, called slips, which are shoots that grow from mature potatoes to form new potatoes, were donated after David and Allen Rose of J.B. Rose and Sons in Nashville learned Brown was giving away his harvest.

He says he wants to see his farm do good things.


I want to help people,” the former offensive lineman said while overlooking a field where a wild turkey unfurled its feathers in a showy display for other nearby birds.

Brown decided to call his endeavor the “First Fruits Farm,” because, as part of his plan, Jason is donating the first fruits of every harvest to area food pantries. He just recently finished his first harvest of a five acre plot of sweet potatoes; a whopping 100,000 pounds of food, which he donated to the needy.

When he sees the ponds, he envisions dozens of youngsters learning to fish. He hopes the fields one day will be dedicated to providing fresh produce to shelters and food pantries. He imagines school groups coming to behold the scenery and watch deer and turkeys and perhaps even see the nesting eagles and long-legged egrets.

Jason Brown - Kansas City Chiefs v St. Louis Rams
Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Muscadine grapes have been planted and orchards of apple, pear and plum trees have been laid out. In the season of thanksgiving, Brown is counting his blessings and planning to help more. Brown hopes to plant at least twice as many acres of sweet potatoes next year, and he envisions a harvest celebration.

Brown has the view of his dreams on his farm, but finding his niche of service is taking more time. During this season of thanks, the former lineman is thankful for what he has been given and looking forward to what he hopes to do.

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