This time of year, we hear a lot about the importance of being thankful and giving back. Rarely, though, do you see an example as pure and perfect as that of ex-NFL star Jason Brown.

Brown, who hails from Henderson, N.C., played football at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and quickly was singled out as an all-star. In 2005, he went to play for the Baltimore Ravens before signing a five-year, $37.5 million contract with the St. Louis Rams in 2009. At the time, this deal made him the highest-paid NFL center of all time.

In his personal life, meanwhile, Brown struggled to locate the positive impact he was making. A man of faith, he decided that football no longer could sustain him, and, after making $20 million of his contract, walked away from the NFL.

“My agent told me, ‘You’re making the biggest mistake of your life,’” Brown told CBS News. “I looked right back at him and said, ‘No I am not. No I am not.’”

Brown decided his calling was in serving others and decided the best way to do that would be by farming (yes, you read that correctly). He bought a farm and began teaching himself how to cultivate crops on YouTube.

Along with his wife Tay and their four children, one of whom he recently delivered himself (he’s really going for Man of the Year here), he now calls a 1,000-acre farm in Louisburg, N.C., home. The farm, dubbed First Fruits Farm, donates the first harvest of each season to charity.

Brown with his wife Tay and their four children. (Photo: Newscom)

Brown with his wife Tay and their four children. (Photo: Newscom)

This year, Brown donated 10,000 pounds of cucumbers and 100,000 pounds of sweet potatoes to organizations such as the Society of St. Andrew, the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, and the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.

Despite being so busy, he’s not slowing down any time soon. Next year, he plans to plant twice as much acreage and plans to hold a Great Harvest Festival, inviting locals to enjoy fishing, hayrides, a corn maze, and live entertainment from local churches.

Originally published on America Within.