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Shalom Farms is a nonprofit community farm project with the overarching goal of increasing food security in the Richmond area, particularly in low-income urban neighborhoods. A collaboration with many diverse and expert partners, the project is attaining its goal by: 1) providing fresh and healthy produce to underserved communities; 2) providing educational training to children and adults on growing food, nutrition, and food-based entrepreneurship; and 3) linking community groups to a wide range of food security resources and partners.
Our approach is two-fold - 1) we meet immediate need by making fresh produce available at low or no cost to people with limited food access, and 2) we work for long-term transformation of the food system by providing educational opportunities in diet, health, and agriculture.
In 2016 we grew over 125,000 pounds of fresh produce with the help of 1,200 youth and 1,700 adult volunteers at our Farm in Goochland County.
We grow about twenty basic vegetable and fruit crops, all chosen for their widespread appeal and accessibility in the communities we serve. We also cultivate a quarter-acre blackberry and raspberry orchard and maintain a small-scale egg operation with 20 chickens.
While not certified organic, we use organic methods, emphasizing soil care through composting, mulching, cover cropping and other practices that enhance microbial life. We do not use any synthetic fertilizers, fungicides, or pesticides.
Our produce is typically distributed to FeedMore, the central Virginia foodbank, to our partner organizations, and to our own programming. We operate three programs in the city of Richmond, including our Prescription Produce Program, our Youth Run Farm Stands, and our Healthy Corner Store Initiative.
For more information about our Farm or City Programs, please visit our website ShalomFarms.org, or find us on Facebook or Instagram @Shalomfarms.
- Sara Schmatz
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