A new partnership between Shalom Farms and Union Presbyterian Seminary harvests food for the city
By Sarah King
November 5, 2018
One of the commonwealth’s largest urban farms occupies 5 acres of fertile soil at a corner of Brook Road and Westwood Avenue on Richmond’s North Side. Union Presbyterian Seminary provided the land, known as the Westwood site, as part of a 10-year renewable, no-cost lease, and Shalom Farms has been growing fruit and vegetables since spring on a 1-acre field. The plot has yielded more than 8,000 pounds of produce.
“It’s been a great season,” says Katharine Wilson, the staffer dedicated to farming the location full-time. “This land is incredible — very fertile.”
Dominic Barrett, executive director of Shalom Farms, says the nonprofit had been looking for a location in the city for several years before the opportunity arose at the Westwood property, just as Shalom moved its larger farm from Goochland to Powhatan County. Wilson, the farm manager, works the site with the help of volunteers, many of whom are seminary students, staff and alumni. On the left side of the field are six varieties of blueberry bushes that volunteers from Altria Group helped prep and plant for next year.