POWHATAN COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — It’s only days into the 2017 growing season, but its mission is in action everywhere you look at Shalom Farms as tractors prepare fields and volunteers water plants in a greenhouse.
“We want folks to fall in love with fresh fruits and vegetables, and so we want to grow things that make sense to folks and are easy to integrate into their diet,” explains Dominic Barrett, the Shalom Farms Executive Director.
Barrett explains the nonprofit started eight years ago in Goochland County to provide access to fresh produce at food deserts across the region. Shalom Farms just moved to a new, larger property just beyond the Chesterfield County border in Powhatan County.
“Our goal is to be distributing about a million servings of fresh fruits and vegetables to those who need it most in Richmond annually, and so we’re going to be able to triple our production here with twice the acreage,” Barrett said.
About twenty staples like potatoes grow at Shalom Farms. A demo garden on the property grows more exotic picks.
Three full-time employees and two farmers-in-residence make it happen, along with thousands of volunteers.
“We try to incorporate them into all the things that we do from planting and weeding and harvesting to laying irrigation and helping with fertilizer,” says Hannah Wittwer, the Volunteer and Education Coordinator at Shalom Farms.
Witwer says Shalom Farms is excited about its growth. An outdoor classroom will help it better pass along education in nutrition.
“Live healthy and fulfilling lives,” Barrett states the main goal.
He also says everyone involved in the Shalom Farms operation will continue to answer one question to meet needs across Richmond.
“How can we grow some food with and for folks who wouldn’t otherwise have access to this really good, nutritious healthy food?”
The community is invited to an Open House at the new Shalom Farms location, 2676 Venita Road off Huguenot Trail in Powhatan County.
The event is happening on May 20. Organizers are still ironing out the time. Follow this link to check for updates.