Shalom Farms expands acreage, healthy food access in Richmond

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 2:45 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2022 at 2:59 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - On Richmond’s northside, volunteers are building a new wooden fence around a new plot of land being prepped for a new set of crops.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka is offering up $25,000 to Shalom Farms. The non-profit is dedicated to providing healthy food access in the city.

“It’s just really cool to have all these people kind of coming together for the same effort of just making sure healthy food is easily available to everyone who wants and needs it,” said Hannah Wittwer, Shalom Farms Director of Volunteer and Education Services.

The money is helping to expand the footprint of the community farm on Westwood Avenue.

This year, Shalom Farms harvested nearly 100,000 servings of produce for distribution. The group does that through a daily mobile market, which hits 16 communities that don’t have adequate food access.

“A lot of us definitely come from areas or work in areas where food apartheid would be an issue,” said Nathan Acevedo, a member of the United States Bartender’s Guild Richmond Chapter and volunteer.

The new acreage will add another 50,000 servings each year.

“It is a part of that expansion, helping them increase their output for the years to come and make a bigger stamp on showing up in those neighborhoods that need that access,” said Acevedo.

In addition to the mobile market, Shalom Farms offers cooking classes and food nutrition programs. The group has about 6,000 volunteers.

“Here, they’re able to provide food for people that need it. We’re just incredibly grateful to be a part of it,” said J.B. Mitchell, Tito’s Handmade Vodka Area Manager.

Volunteers say they will plant a fall cover crop to ensure the soil is okay, with the hope of planting a new harvest in the spring.

You can learn more about Shalom Farms by clicking here.