Our Goals:
1. Increase access to healthy foods in the inner city.
2. Build community.
3. Improve the self-sufficiency of those involved.

News Mentions | Apr 1, 2009

We've been mentioned in the Times-Dispatch! Check it out here.

The United Methodist Reporter also wrote an article on UMUMR, available here.

Welcome To The Farm | 

The goals of Shalom Farms are to increase access to healthy foods in the inner city, build community, and improve the self-sufficiency of those involved.

Shalom Farm is composed of three interrelated parts. First, a 780 acre United Methodist camp in rural Goochland County (forty minutes west of Richmond) is host to the Shalom Farm site. Ground will be broken in March 2009 on two acres. This farm site uses a high-yield design to grow ten crops: producing 16,000 pounds of fresh nutritious food for the hungry. Volunteers will staff the farm; gathered from area churches, synagogues, mosques, and civic, government, NGO’s and various community organizations. The crops and growing techniques used at the farm were chosen to be easily replicable by volunteers looking to create farms and gardens of their own in the inner city or elsewhere. Shalom Farms is dedicated to growing nutritious food for the hungry and teaching the hungry to grow their own food for personal use or for sale.

The Shalom Farm Network (Click for Larger Image)

Second, Virginia Cooperative Extension is developing an educational curriculum to teach children and adults alike about gardening, nutritious eating, and food preservation. The curriculum it uses is a train-the-trainer model, meaning that community volunteers can be taught to be instructors. This curriculum being developed is for use with Shalom Farm participants, Metro Richmond neighborhoods and other similar projects within Virginia.

The youth curriculum is being designed with public school students in mind. Learning objectives of the children’s educational program are coordinated with the state’s standardized testing benchmarks, known as the Standards of Learning. UMUMR has formed partnerships with three inner city schools to offer programming and camp experiences at the Shalom Farm. Through this partnership Shalom Farm will provide eighty youth (and their parents) exposure to the curriculum in 2009-2010 school year. Additional UMUMR partnerships with the William Byrd Community House and First Contractors (a social enterprise) will provide educational opportunities for youth from programs operated by these organizations.

Third, the Shalom Farm project uses an asset-based (ABCD) community development model called Communities of Shalom to catalyze neighborhood empowerment. Asset-Based Community Development was originally created by the Community Development Program at Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research. Proponents of the approach focus on helping citizens come together and identify strategies to solve their own problems; using the skills and talents available amongst the neighborhood’s residents; and better utilizing outside resources.

In Hebrew, the word shalom has multiple meanings, including “well-being”. The Communities of Shalom model was developed by The United Methodist Church as a positive and holistic community-driven response to the riots in Los Angeles, California in 1992. Now, Drew University of Madison, New Jersey serves as the international resourcing and training center for Communities of Shalom and continues to support and expand. Over ninety Shalom Zones (sites) exist across the US and Africa.

In Metro Richmond, UMUMR employs the Communities of Shalom model with issues outside of food-security, impacting issues such as racial reconciliation, affordable housing development, and other community-determined plans. One existing and two emerging Communities of Shalom (of which there are a total of ten in Richmond) have already agreed to participate in the Shalom Farm project and look forward to establishing community gardens and cooking programs in their neighborhoods.

Food-security is an increasingly important issue across the country, and food itself continues to be an engaging and powerful force, bringing people together. Since its inception in 2008 the Shalom Farm has gathered an impressive array of community supporters including such organizations as the Central Virginia Food Bank (Feed More), William Byrd Community House, First Contractors, Richmond City Health District, and The United Methodist Church General Board of Global Ministries. The Shalom Farm will begin delivering its healthful social, economic, physical, and spiritual benefits to Metro Richmond in 2009 and beyond.


Contact Us

1010 W Laburnum Av.
Richmond, VA 23227
Fax: 804-266-9399

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