Staff

Dominic Barrett

Dominic Gibbons Barrett came to United Methodist Urban Ministries of Richmond and Shalom Farms as Director in March of 2010. He was drawn to UMUMR by his lifelong passion for social justice, a desire to find sustainable ways to empower communities, and an obsession with all things food. He came to UMUMR from Palmetto Project in Charleston, SC were he coordinated their statewide Youth, Families and Schools Programs. Prior to that he worked in Washington for Ashoka’s Youth Venture, helping youth 12-20 start their own social ventures. He is a native of Lynchburg, VA and a graduate of Elon University where he was an Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellow. Outside of work he can be found on a basketball court or in a thrift store, usually with either his younger brother Zachary or his “Little Brother” Devonte.

Steve Miles

Steve Miles is the Farm Manager for Shalom Farms. He has over ten years of horticultural experience with his primary focus being on sustainable methods of farming both in greenhouses and in the field. With a Masters of Theological Studies from Vanderbilt Divinity School, he is especially passionate about the theological connections between food and faith, and he cannot imagine a job that more fully encompasses his interests. Steve and his wife Amanda have two boys, Eden and Asher, who love to dig in the dirt as much as he does. When he’s not on the farm, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, playing music that Amanda doesn’t really like, reading “good” books, and surfing the fickle waves of his beloved Outer Banks.

Claire Hitchins

 Claire Hitchins joined Shalom Farms in June 2013 as  Programming/Volunteer Coordinator. After first getting her hands dirty in the University of Virginia Student Community Garden she cultivated her love of growing and sharing good food as a full time intern at Shalom Farms during the summer of 2012 through a grant award from The Project on Lived Theology. She graduated with distinction from The University of Virginia in 2013 as a Kelly O’Hara Memorial Scholar. Claire grew up in Roanoke, Virginia where her proximity to beautiful Appalachia instilled both a deep sense of reverence for the created world and a painful awareness of the great suffering of both human and non-human members of that creation. She couldn’t imagine a more perfect way to pursue her two passions – social justice and environmental justice – than in her work with Shalom Farms. Claire loves mountainous views, shared meals and group music-making.

Melissa Newman, 2014 Farmer in Residence 

Melissa comes to Shalom Farms after spending two seasons working on an organic farm in Culpeper Co. Virginia where she learned the tenants of being a good steward of the land. It was there she came to understand she finds the most joy working outside under the hot sun, with hands stained in perma-dirt for half the year. Not satisfied with simply growing good food, she hopes to learn how to use agriculture as a tool for social and individual change by getting her boots on the ground, rather than forever in the closet. She is a true believer that nature can answer any question we as people have about ourselves. A native of Washington State, where she learned being outdoors in the rain makes you tough, she graduated from The Evergreen State College where she focused on how to create change within communities and within oneself. While not on the farm she can be found taking too many walks, canning anything she can get her hands on, making bad puns and eating lots of veggies….and chocolate.

Megan Holland, 2014 Farmer in Residence
Megan grew up as a Navy brat who spent most of her childhood exploring different places with a home-base in Arlington, VA. She loves people, especially those who challenge the status quo. After having graduated with a Bachelors degree in International Relations she realized that she needed a way to link all individuals of the world. She decided that one method for developing the human connection was through ecology. She put her love for the environment & people into practice by working with kids at an outdoor educational facility in Fauquier County, VA while simultaneously developing her interpersonal skills in the restaurant industry. That’s when she decided she couldn’t love food more. Better late than never – it took Megan some time, some traveling, and a lot of thinking, to realize that food, people, and environmental justice can all be linked in sustainable farming. For Megan, working on the farm as a Farm Apprentice with Shalom Farms is the beginning of a new adventure to bettering the world.