The mission of Shalom Farms is to work with communities to ensure access to healthy food and the support to live healthy lives.
Through sustainable food production and hands-on experiences at the farm and in the city, Shalom Farms provides thousands in Richmond with access to healthy food…and healthy lives.
Shalom Farms is a regional food access and community development project started in 2008 by United Methodist Urban Ministries of Richmond (UMUMR). The concept grew out of conversations with Camp Westview on the James and other community partners, who recognized the need for broader food justice work and a desire to use Westview’s rural resources to better serve urban Richmond. Interested in what’s on the horizon? Click here.
Dominic Gibbons Barrett is the Executive Director of Shalom Farms. He was drawn to the work by a passion for social justice and a belief in the transformative power of food. He came to Shalom Farms from Palmetto Project in Charleston, SC where he ran their statewide Youth, Families and Schools Programs. In addition to providing leadership on a number of local and regional food access initiatives, he served on the Governor’s Transition Council on Agriculture and Forestry and is on the board of the Virginia Food System Council where he works to develop statewide strategies to improve the food system in ways that benefit the most poor and marginalized communities. In 2010, Bread for the World recognized Dominic as one of the “the best and brightest young advocates” on issues of hunger. Other recognition include Style Weekly’s Top 40 Under 40, The Valentine’s Richmond History Maker award for social justice, and Style Weekly’s Power List. He is most proud to be the son of Chris and Anne, brother of Adella and Zach, Big Brother of Devonte, and spouse of Susan.
Steve Miles is the Director of Farm Operations for Shalom Farms. He has over fifteen 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 three boys, Eden, Asher, and Ezra. 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 the Outer Banks.
Hannah Wittwer is the Volunteer and Education Coordinator at Shalom Farms. After finishing college, Hannah spent 5 years teaching preschool, milking cows and working on an organic vegetable farm. She earned her Master of Science in childhood education and NYS teaching certification in 2015, and is thrilled to join Shalom Farms in a role that allows her to facilitate exciting learning experiences on a working farm. She hopes to contribute to a more just food system by supporting the development of positive attitudes towards sustainable agriculture and healthy food. Off the farm, Hannah can be found knitting, baking, playing with clay, and hiking with her terribly cute and terribly behaved hound dog.
Analise is the Program Director at Shalom Farms. She is passionate about supporting communities in working towards social justice, and loves every opportunity to bring people together around food and good conversation. She comes to Shalom Farms after studying human development at Virginia Tech and earning her Masters of Social Work at VCU. In that time, she was actively involved in getting students thinking about and engaged in social change at the community level. Outside of Shalom Farms, she is usually eating tacos, drinking coffee, or baking for friends.
Dannon Wilson is the Healthy Retail Specialist for Shalom Farms and manages our work on Richmond’s Healthy Corner Store Initiative. She comes to Shalom Farms after working as a community health worker for the Healthy Start/Loving Steps program based out of the Health Department in Petersburg, Virginia. Dannon holds a bachelor’s in psychology from the College of William and Mary with a minor in sociology. She is interested in a holistic approach to health and wellness and ways to eliminate health disparities in communities of color. Outside of Shalom Farms, Dannon enjoys learning how to cook, familiarizing herself with the great outdoors and writing poetry.
Lynne Wachter is the Business Manager, and joins the Shalom Farms team excited to combine her two totally different skill sets of growing things and business management. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Virginia and an Associate’s degree in Horticulture from J. Sarge. After spending 10 years working as a gardener at Agecroft Hall in Richmond, Lynne returned to the office environment and has worked as in the financial field for several non-profits in the Richmond area. When not working at Shalom Farms, Lynne enjoys the great outdoors by hiking and camping, caring for her large vegetable garden, and playing soccer. She lives in Goochland County with her husband, Monk, and her daughter, Erin.
Dennis Williams II joins Shalom Farms as the Mobile Market Manager after serving as Project Manager at Tricycle Gardens, a non-profit based in Richmond, VA whose mission is to grow a healthier local food system. As a Project Manager at Tricycle, Dennis designed the first USDA-recognized, church-owned urban farm in the nation. He also managed vermicompost production, gave tours, and lectured on topics including environmental sustainability and social equity. Receiving his Masters in Art History in 2014 from Virginia Commonwealth University, he is interested in the intersections of African American history, visual culture, social justice, and community building. In 2015, he began a Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College to gain in-depth knowledge of organic horticulture techniques. Dennis has had the privilege to work on many significant projects while residing in Richmond for nearly a decade. Most recently, he served as Lead Builder for Performing Statistics, a city-wide collaborative project connecting incarcerated teens, artists, and Virginia’s top legal experts to transform the juvenile justice system. One of Dennis’ current projects is his collaboration with VCU professor Dr. Melanie Buffington where they co-teach a course titled Visual Culture and Social Justice at the Richmond City Justice Center.
Seyra is excited to be a part of Shalom Farms as Assistant Farm Manager. She comes to the farm from an outdoor industry background, and is ready to be engaged with the soil while enjoying being outside every day. When not digging in the dirt, Seyra is probably off scouting boulders, checking the weather, and creating elaborate meals with as few ingredients as possible. To a happy and healthy season!
Arin was drawn to farming through her desire to combine her love of mother nature with her passion for food. In 2014, she graduated from VCU with a dual bachelors degree in Spanish and International Social Justice- where she focused her research primarily on food justice. Having grown up in the city of Richmond, she feels a particular commitment to increasing opportunities and improving the health of residents in urban communities. Arin worked as a volunteer for the Richmond Department of Social Services assisting Spanish-speaking residents in applying for government aid. She has also worked on farms in Virginia, New York, California and Mexico. In her spare time she can be found cooking up something spicy, listening to flamenco music, kayaking the James River, baking challah bread or dreaming up her next adventure abroad. Arin is excited to join Shalom Farms in celebrating the history and culture of food while giving concern as to how it is grown, prepared, and shared among her community.
Chad was raised in a family of farmers and gardeners and comes from a community of people deeply committed to their place on the plains of western Minnesota. Chad spent two seasons at the Easy Bean CSA near Milan, MN and more than six years working in corn, soybean and sugar beet production. He served 5 years in elected office as a member of the Sacred Heart City Council as well as county level involvement with economic development. As a member of the Land Stewardship Project, Chad has advocated for beginning farmers in Washington D.C., spoken to members and state legislators about the importance of high quality affordable healthcare for beginning farmers, and served on the board of directors from 2012-2016. Chad has an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Southwest Minnesota State University and is currently working toward a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning at VCU focusing on rural communities, agriculture policy, and how the “public interest” is defined within the planning profession. Chad and his wife Cynthia live in rural Goochland County and are expecting their first child in July.