The mission of Shalom Farms is to work with communities to ensure access to healthy food and the support to lead healthy lives. We seek to collaboratively transform the Richmond food system so that all people have access to good food - food that is good for our bodies, good for the environment, and good for our communities. After starting as a pilot project of United Methodist Urban Ministries of Richmond on just ½ acre at Westview on the James in 2009, we now harvest over 500,000 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables from our two large farms, and our food access programs serve approximately 10,000 individuals across Richmond each year. This is made possible by welcoming over 6,000 volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to our farms on an annual basis.
The produce we grow is distributed to over 30 locations a year through our innovative and collaborative programs and partnerships. The communities we partner with have limited economic resources and experience numerous challenges in accessing healthy food. We work most closely with communities in North Church Hill, Southside, and Northside, with a special emphasis on public housing and census tracts of dense poverty.
Our distribution programming includes the Richmond Healthy Corner Store Initiative and our “Grown to Go” Mobile Market. Both of these highly collaborative models seek to increase physical and economic access to fresh produce in key demographic areas of Richmond. Our Prescription Produce Plan works primarily with health care providers to help individuals and their families overcome barriers to healthy eating through weekly prescriptions of produce, health checks, kitchen supplies, and hands-on cooking classes. In addition to these programs, each year approximately half of our produce is distributed to partner food pantries in the region to meet the needs of the most food insecure families in Richmond. We are the largest provider of sustainable local produce to FeedMore (the Central Virginia Food Bank) and are proud to partner with many others pantries including Ginter Park UMC, Welborne UMC, and Belmont UMC.