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 spouse of Susan, father of Helen, son of Chris and Anne, brother of Adella and Zach, and Big Brother of Devonte.
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 Director of Development for Shalom Farms. With a passion for social justice and the environment, she is honored to be leading the fund development strategy for the organization. Sara has nearly a decade of experience in fundraising and communications at Richmond based nonprofits. After graduating from Hollins University with her BA in Art History, Sara began her fundraising career at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. She also served as the first Director of Development for Blue Sky Fund. Sara is a member of Impact 100 and a Board Member of the Virginia Association of Fundraising Executives. She lives in Church Hill with her wife, Tracy. Outside of the office you can find her cycling on the Virginia Capital Trail or visiting all 40 of Virginia’s State Parks.
Erin is excited to join Shalom Farms as the Director of Programs. She was formerly at Feed More as the Director of Agency Relations, and her prior work includes increasing direct market opportunities for farmers, providing technical support to food hubs, and teaching college courses on nutrition and agriculture. Her commitment to change leadership and culture shift informs her collaborative leadership approach and her work to increase community food access. Erin holds an MA in Social Ecology and Community Food Systems from Prescott College. Erin lives in Church Hill with her husband, teenage son, and the sweetest pit bull, and when she’s not cooking, talking about, or eating veggies, you can find her riding her bike around town, doing yoga, or playing guitar with her band.
Shane is the Director of Finance and Administration for Shalom Farms. Originally from Montana and educated at the U.S. Naval Academy, he has worked in financial, administrative, and executive roles at a church conference center, a church school, and a public botanical garden following his active-duty service in the Marine Corps. Long impressed with the work of Shalom Farms – its mission, proficiency, productivity, and heart – Shane is pleased to support the direct, concrete, and powerful ways the organization serves the community. He believes that growing and providing healthy produce to individuals who lack access is a good thing. He believes it is equally good or better to eliminate long-standing and unjust structural barriers to access.
Hannah Wittwer is the Volunteer and Education Manager 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 the Farm Manager at the Powhatan site and is pumped to be a part of another season at Shalom Farms. Focusing on hoop house production and produce distribution, Seyra loves systems and problem solving. She likes trying out new techniques for growing in the hoop houses and is always wanting to improve yields. When not at the farm, Seyra enjoys hiking, camping, swimming in various bodies of water, and cooking up a storm.
Amber is humbled to be working alongside volunteers and orchestrating harvests as the Northside Farm Manager. Amber graduated from the University of Connecticut with a dual degree in Agriculture & Resource Economics and Human Rights. Soon after graduating she joined the Peace Corps Food Security program in Madagascar and spent two years learning from and working with farmers, and singing much too much karaoke. Afterwards, Amber followed her passion for food justice by diving into a career in vegetable farming and hasn’t looked back since. Off the farm, you’ll often find her cruising around town on her bicycle, foraging for edible and medicinal plants, and relaxing with a nice cup of tea.
Alistar (he/him) is always eating, and he is our Mobile Market manager. Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Alistar brings with him a deep love for the natural world, shaped through the many formative experiences of mountains, rivers, oceans, orchards, gardens, wild places and diverse groups of people.
His work with Shalom Farms takes place at the nexus of improving food justice, advancing nutrition security, and reducing food apartheid for all Richmonders. Alistar is encouraged by the belief that no matter where one lives or how little money one has, we all deserve quality food at affordable prices. His past work includes owning and operating a small-scale, organic, mixed vegetable production farm, leading outdoor experiential learning programs for youth-at-risk across South Africa, and climate justice programming with subsistence food growers.
He makes a home and garden in Richmond’s Battery Park neighborhood with his darling wife, Rebecca and his two children, Georgia and Miles. Alistar is partial to crème brulee, foreign-language films, high-altitude hiking, and the joyous laughter of his two children.
After speaking to Jason, it will be immediately clear he is passionate about food. This passion was cultivated over several years, most of them right here in Richmond. After teaching in Northern Virginia for several years, Jason returned to Richmond with plans of finishing his degree. Instead, he found himself merging his passion for teaching with his knowledge of food. This led him to volunteer for several organizations around town before eventually becoming an AmeriCorps Vista in Greater Fulton. That experience emphasized the systemic issues in Richmond with food access. Recently, Jason has worked to use food as a vehicle for change by teaching cooking classes through his business, CHEW (Cooking for Health Education and Wellness). When he is not cooking or talking about food, you can find Jason making a music playlist, djing, or hanging out with his cats Butters and Munch.
Arin is our Volunteer and Education Coordinator. She has worked on and off with Shalom since 2016 when she started as a Farmer in Residence. During the seasons she wasn’t working with Shalom, she was traveling through Europe and North Africa where she eventually settled for two years in the south of Spain. During her time abroad, she taught full time in a public school and spent her free-time volunteering at a nearby vegetable farm and farmer’s market. She is so excited to combine her passion for social justice, her love of growing food and her latest teaching skills in this new role. When she’s not dreaming about vegetables or far away lands, she can be found soaking in the James river, carving crooked wooden spoons, reading in Spanish to her two precious nieces, burning something in her kitchen or perusing Richmond’s many thrift stores for the perfect vintage jeans.
Sara Darland is the Development Coordinator at Shalom Farms. Sara started her career working with the Virginia Association of Biological Farming and Broadfork Farm, and worked as Shalom Farm’s Volunteer and Education Coordinator from 2015-2017. She will soon graduate with her Masters in Strategic Fund Development and Philanthropy from Baypath University. When not working at Shalom on or her thesis, Sara enjoys cooking (and never following the recipe), doing yoga, visiting the river, reading books, and spending time with her husband, Jeff and their sweet tabby cat, Claude.
Cheyenne is excited to be the Northside Assistant Farm Manager for the 2021 growing season. Cheyenne started with Shalom Farms as a Farm Intern in 2019 before becoming one of our Powhatan Farmers in Residence in 2020. Previously a barista and bookseller at Barnes and Noble just a few minutes from the Powhatan site, a coworker suggested she apply and the rest is history. Her favorite farm tasks include pruning and clipping tomatoes and her favorite vegetable is tatsoi. In her free time she likes to hike, camp, and hoolahoop in the sun.
Josh is the Packing Coordinator for the Powhatan Farm. His degree in Industrial Design from Virginia Tech has contributed to a systems-thinking mindset and joy for creative problem solving. A longtime restaurant worker, he is ever curious about food and it’s role to nourish, heal, and interconnect people. His agricultural journey began while backpacking in New Zealand as a WWOOFer, traveling and working on a variety of farms and experiencing rural lifestyles. Upon moving to Richmond in 2009, he was determined to explore the local food scene and dedicated himself to supporting locally grown and crafted food. His curiosity drove him to work at Origins Farm, earn his Permaculture Design Certificate, intern at Les Jardins de la Grelinette, and co-create a small urban farm in Richmond. He lives in the East End with his partner, Katy and their two dogs, Brutus and Jack. When not at the farm or in the garden, Josh is experimenting in the kitchen with fermentation and other traditional food preservation techniques.
Marc is so happy to be joining the Shalom Farms team as a Farmer in Residence this season – they truly haven’t stopped smiling since stepping onto the farm. Having studied Sociology and Environmental Science at William & Mary, they believe that all forms of social injustice manifest within our food systems and want to be a part of building alternative systems that are rooted in justice, community well-being, and a mutually beneficial relationship with the earth. Marc’s favorite things are well-loved couches, long hugs, sunlight shining through the leaves, and staring at the moon. At any given moment, you can probably find them dyeing their hair bright colors, searching for Richmond’s best lavender latte, or laughing with volunteers on the farm in Powhatan. They love people and the earth, and see their work at Shalom Farms as a wonderful way to be caring for both.
Bryce is thrilled and grateful to be joining the Shalom Farms team and the Powhatan farm staff. He has been involved with Shalom for four years, working his way from volunteer, to intern, to now as a Farmer in Residence for the 2021 season. With a passion for serving others and providing welcoming spaces for people to connect, Bryce is looking forward to providing food for people to enjoy with others. Off the farm, affectionately referred to by his family as the human garbage disposal, Bryce is passionate about cooking and eating food! When he isn’t in the kitchen, you can find him playing soccer or a variety of sports, activating the dreamatorium, or enjoying a drink with friends. He is looking forward to meeting you and having a good time while working hard in the dirt!
Natalia is honored to be a part of the work that Shalom does for the community as a Farmer in Residence at the Powhatan location. Natalia believes that food is one of the most basic human rights and that plant food should be free as the Earth intended it. Being an immigrant from Brasil, they have witnessed since childhood the vast inequality of food access, degradation of entire ecosystems and exploitation of populations at a global level for the benefit of capitalist corporations and “world powers.” Natalia’s previous work in other nonprofits with formerly incarcerated folks and communities displaced through gentrification allowed them to work with food accessibility for folks made vulnerable by systematic oppression. Working with and learning from Shalom is part of the vast journey to challenge these systems of oppression and reconnecting to the Earth that sustains us. Though we are a small part in the whole, we are an important part. Natalia also enjoys spending time learning about medicinal herbs, meditating, reading, practicing massage therapy and creating deep healthy connections of interdependence.
Patrick is stoked to be a part of the Shalom Farms team and loves learning new skills every day. Coming into Shalom Farms with a degree in Geology from UNC Chapel Hill, Patrick hopes to use his passion for the Earth and the outdoors to make a lasting positive impact in the environment through community-based change. Before Shalom Farms, Patrick had the privilege to travel and explore geology around New Zealand and the South of Australia. Coming from a large family down in North Carolina, food has always brought his family closer together and is the centerpiece of every get together. Patrick is thrilled to share the joy of eating delicious food and working to better the food system for others. Patrick is a huge nerd and loves to talk science, climate solutions, and superheroes. In his free time, Patrick enjoys any physical outdoor activity, music, basketball, anime, and reading fiction.
New to RVA, Laurie Young is the Packing Coordinator at the Northside Farm. As an Army brat she grew up around the world but called Kentucky home during summers with her extended family, most of whom were farmers. In those fields, her love of agriculture was born. With a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Laurie spent 15 years working in radio, television, and film in Boston, MA. In that time, she received certifications in Ayurveda and Yoga, which inspired her to seek a career in food justice & sustainable agriculture. She joins Shalom Farms with 10 years of experience in organic, local, urban farming.
Radical Rashad’s roots with Shalom Farms rapidly grew since the first day he volunteered just over two months ago. Since day one, he has fallen in love with the people, the soil, and the art of farming. Whether that be the inspiration from others also looking to be regenerated by the practice of farming, the ability to ground his ecosocialist work with the soil as a key to saving the world, or the deepening of his love for the art of farming by doing ecosocialist commercial organizing; Rashad is thankful for having randomly stumbled upon Shalom Farms through a Google search.