|Address:|| 2676 Venita Rod
Midlothian, VA 23113
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Shalom Farms is a sublime example of community agriculture and food justice in action. It’s located in Midlothian, to the west of downtown Richmond, within view of passersby on Route 288. The not-for-profit 12-acre farm is fertile ground for a wide variety of produce grown using regenerative, eco-friendly practices. Foodwaze has had a chance to visit and learn first-hand about the operation.
The farm started in 2008 as a community development project of the United Methodist Urban Ministries of Richmond. Their mission is to work with urban communities to ensure access to healthy food. 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 a healthy lifestyle they might not otherwise have.
The organization originally farmed a small 4-acre piece of land in Goochland County, but moved to the new leased site - which is closer to Richmond - in 2016. Their first full growing season in Midlothian was 2017.
Shalom Farms has about 8 acres in production, which includes four hoop houses. The production acreage may grow a little over time as they get settled in. Combining a paid staff with a cadre of volunteers, the farm produces a wide variety of vegetables using ecologically friendly practices that focus on preventing problems before they start.
Fostering biodiversity is a keep component of that process. The farm grows wildflowers to attract beneficial insects, such as ladybugs. And beehives in the corner of the property keep the pollinator habitat robust through the growing season. Crops are rotated to new locations with each growth cycle to keep pests further at bay.
Regular use of cover crops keep the soil fertile and active, which is integral to regenerative systems, and tilling is kept to a minimum. Biodegradable weed fabric helps keep the weeds under control. No toxic chemicals or synthetic fertilizers are used on the farm.
Most of the farm’s output is distributed to urban residents through a variety of community-based partner programs. One is the Healthy Corner Store Initiative run by the Virginia Department of Health. This program helps ensure access to healthy foods in neighborhoods designated by the USDA as “food deserts.” This includes several stores in Richmond’s South Side and East End.
Other programs include the Healthy Food Distribution Network, and the Grown To Go Mobile Market, which offers a matching funds feature for SNAP participants. The farm also donates food to after-school programs and food pantries. Frequent educational programs are held at the farm to teach community members - children in particular - about growing healthy foods and the importance of fruits and vegetables in the diet, particularly those grown without pesticides in nutrient rich soil.
As mentioned, the farm relies heavily in-season on the help of volunteers from the community. Please see their website for more information.
Shalom Farms is a not-for-profit 12-acre farm located in Midlothian west of Richmond. Using a paid staff in combination with regular volunteers, they grow a variety of vegetables using regenerative practices. Their produce is distributed to the under-served in Richmond through a variety of partnership programs, in fulfillment of the farm’s mission to ensure greater access to healthy food. Foodwaze has visited the farm and volunteered, and has compiled a detailed description of it under the Details tab.
• What They Do: Applying principles of regenerative agriculture, they grow a variety of vegetables throughout the entire year, using the fields on their property in combination with several hoop houses.
• Regenerative Practices: Shalom Farms is clearly committed to the principles of regenerative agriculture. They focus on preventing problems before they start by nurturing the soil and fostering biodiversity with a variety of plants and flowers that attract beneficial insects. They rotate crops, use cover crops, make and use compost, and use biodegradable fabric to keep weeds down without chemicals. They do not use synthetic fertilizers or chemical pesticides.
• Certifications: The farm does not have any official certifications. What should be most important to consumers are the Regenerative Practices described above.
Shalom Farms is different than most farms we list on Foodwaze. Usually we tell you where you can find the products at health food markets, restaurants, farmers markets etc. Shalom Farms, as a non-profit dedicated to improving food access in underserved urban ares, distributes its produce through a variety of community-based partner programs.
Shalom Farms started in 2008 as a community development project of the United Methodist Urban Ministries of Richmond. Their original 4-acre farm was in Goochland County. They moved to the bigger farm, closer to Richmond, in 2016.
The farm relies heavily on the volunteer work of people in the community. If you are interested in helping them out, please see their website.
This listing was compiled using the following processes:
• A visit to the farm and discussion with the farm operators, as well as volunteering on the farm.
• The use of other research about the farm and its practices.
Shalom Farms products can be found at these Foodwaze verified locations:Richmond, VA Ellwood Thompson's