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.
Sara Higgins is the first Director of Development for Shalom Farms. She has five years of fundraising experience at Richmond based nonprofits. With a passion for social justice and the environment, Sara is honored to bring her time and talents to Shalom Farms. She graduated from Hollins University in Roanoke, VA with her BA in Art History and began her fundraising career at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Most recently, she was the Director of Development for Blue Sky Fund, a small nonprofit providing outdoor education for urban youth. Sara currently lives in Church Hill with her wife, Tracy and their two dogs. Outside of the office you can find Sara cycling on the Virginia Capital Trail or hiking in the James River Park System.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Alistar is the Mobile Market Coordinator, a.k.a. the Produce Peddler for Shalom Farms. For the past seven years his work has focused on small-scale organic vegetable production, as the lead food grower at a six acre farm in Hanover County, Virginia. There he managed a large Community Supported Agriculture program and sold his produce at several of Richmond’s farmer’s markets. His interests in food production, agrarian reform, and food systems change is informed by an upbringing in a stone fruit and wine producing region, and his experience of witnessing the impacts of climate change on smallholder food producers in a drylands region of South Africa. Born and raised outside of Cape Town, Alistar has a background in horticulture, outdoor-based experiential education, and is a facilitator at heart. He is an avid mountaineer, yet enjoys the small pleasures of a game of petanque (French boules) with friends. He lives in Richmond’s Northside with his lovely wife and darling daughter.
Faisal is the Healthy Corner Store Specialist of Shalom Farms. Faisal has a Bachelor’s of Science from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business in Information Systems. Faisal is coming to Shalom Farms from the VCU Division of Epidemiology where he worked under Dr. Prom Wormley to collect and analyze baseline health data in the public housing neighborhoods of the East End of Richmond to develop targeted and data driven programming and also helped organize and steer the Health and Wellness Initiative which is a coalition of Richmond community and wellness organizations.
Faisal has a strong dedication to community work and self-improvement and is looking forward to learning more about food production, living healthy, and providing much needed service and value to his surrounding community. Faisal also has a background in technology and also works as a webmaster for VCU. He is a PC enthusiast and is also involved in Richmond’s Hip Hop and poetry scene.
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.
Amber is thrilled to be joining Shalom Farms as a Farmer in Residence for the 2017 season. She is looking forward to deepening her knowledge of vegetable production while being able to work with volunteers to facilitate a stronger connection to our local food system. Amber graduated from the University of Connecticut with a dual degree in Agriculture & Resource Economics and Human Rights. Soon after she joined the Peace Corps’ Food Security program and spent two years learning, working, and singing much too much karaoke in Madagascar. Amber has fostered her love of traveling while studying and volunteering on farms in California, Colombia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Belize. Off the farm, you’ll often find her biking, hiking, and exploring this area that she now calls home.
Kelly King Horne