We are a small, woman-owned company that started with one woman and a pickup truck. Since then, we've grown to a staff of as many as 17 during the growing season. We have completed thousands of vegetable plantings for residents and businesses in the DC Metro area.
Love & Carrots envisions a future where vegetable gardens are commonplace in urban landscapes.
Since 2011, Love & Carrots has worked diligently to proliferate gardening knowledge with individuals, families, businesses, and organizations. We provide assistance to people who would like to have an organic garden in their yard, porch, patio, eatery, balcony, or rooftop. At Love & Carrots, we are passionate about utilizing a hands-on approach to get people excited about eating fresh, healthy food while educating them as to why going organic and eating locally are important.
We want to create a ripple effect with urban agriculture.
Our goal is to expose as many people as possible to sustainable practices and smart growing, so they can use that knowledge themselves and continue to share it with others. Love & Carrots raises awareness about sustainability and biodiversity. We make urban environments more conducive to healthy living.
DC is unique in that it has abundant yard space for a city, but very few people use these spaces to grow food. Every garden we plant is a small step toward reducing our carbon footprint, and positively impacting the District as a whole.
Meredith Sheperd, Founder, has been working in organic agriculture and environmental sustainability for 15 years. Before founding Love & Carrots in 2011, she was the manager of Chaily Farm in VA, which produces organic herbs and vegetables for DC restaurants. Meredith received the 2013 DC Mayor's Sustainability Award, 2014 Green America Award, and Business Insider's Top 50 'Coolest' Businesses in America. Meredith can be reached at: [email protected]
Partner, CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER
Julia Umiker, Chief Operations Officer, joined Love & Carrots in 2014 as a Farm Apprentice but quickly used her aptitude for operations logistics and collaborative management to transition into the COO role. Julia sees her work with Love & Carrots as a turning point in her career, aligning her professional skill set with her personal commitment to improving our treatment of the environment around us. Julia can be reached at: [email protected]
partner, Director of Garden programming
Carly Mercer, Director of Garden Programming, previously worked on food issues at an advocacy group before taking the fight for access to good food directly to people’s backyards (front yards too!) She has apprenticed on farms from Costa Rica to Maine, and participated in the DC Master Gardener Program. Carly joined Love & Carrots in 2014 and is passionate about urban agriculture and teaching people how to grow their own food. Carly can be reached at: [email protected]
partner, Director of Horticulture
Natalie Carver, Director of Horticulture, joined Love & Carrots in 2014. Her path into farming started on a cross-country bike tour of farms. This inspired her to start gardening intensively at university, and then spend two years farming in British Columbia. As horticulture director, she propagates the supply of vegetable, herb, and perennial seedlings that fill hundreds gardens across DC. She is also a garden coach, teaching new and experienced gardeners how to grow their own food. To Natalie, the process from seed to harvest is a pace of life, and she celebrates working and eating with the seasons. Natalie can be reached at: [email protected]
Danny Haber, Installation Leader, hopes that urban farming will foster a much needed reconnection with the origin of our food. With experience in organic gardening at The Ashokan Center and WWOOFing in San Francisco, Danny wishes to utilize his background to be an agent of growth and connection. He feels that creating space to understand the source of our food is one of the most poignantly effective means of inspiring a greater awareness of oneself and of others. Danny can be reached at: [email protected]
Accounts & Communications Manager
Kate Mitchell, Accounts & Communications Manager, joined the Love & Carrots team in 2018, after spending some time as a Seasonal Apprentice. After obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, Kate moved to Washington D.C. to serve two years with FoodCorps Americorps— a program dedicated to connecting kids to healthy food in schools. It was through this program that Kate fell in love with urban gardens, and became interested in food access. She believes that everyone, no matter what their social or economic position, can learn and love growing food. Kate can be reached at: [email protected]
Leah Drew, Urban Farmer, grew up in northern Vermont and worked on two farms through high school. They came to DC to do political work, and ended up specializing in agricultural policy, which ultimately inspired them to return to their farming roots. They are concerned about our ability to grow food as the climate changes, and think intensive urban agriculture is one facet of a more resilient and sustainable food system. Mostly, they love working with plants and are excited to help people raise their own gardens in the DMV.
Joshua Sherrod, Urban Farmer/Greenhouse Technician, grew up on a strawberry farm in Eastern North Carolina, spending every Spring in the berry patches & at his family’s farm stand. After experimenting in the laboratories of agricultural research, he returned to his farm roots, thanks to the Love & Carrots Summer Apprentice program.
Director of Sales & Business Development
Sara Keese joined Love & Carrots to head our Business Development after many years in sales and account management in the printing and publishing industry. She made this pivot to align her professional skills with her passion for the environment and healthy living and is enjoying every minute of it. Sara grew up in Iowa where agriculture was everyone's business and has now found her way back to the farm. She lives in Alexandria with her husband, Jay, and 3 kids. Sara can be reached at: [email protected] and at 703-625-2002.
Manuel Rojas, Urban Farmer, has been dedicated to sustainable farming since he was growing up in Paraguay, where his family cultivates organic/fair trade sugar cane. He has a degree in Agriculture Science with focus in Sustainable Agriculture and Entrepreneurship from EARTH University in Costa Rica, and has worked on a number of sustainable farming projects in Latin America and the United States. Working with Love & Carrots has allowed him to pursue his passion for urban farming and growing healthy food. Manuel can be reached at: [email protected]
Robin Hernandez, Installation Crew Member/Urban Farmer, was born and raised in Takoma Park, MD, and returned to the area in 2015 after a decade in Philly and a cross country bike tour. She has worked as an artist, dog walker, barista, case worker, and food producer. A graduate of Future Harvest CASA's Beginner Farmer Program, Robin is thrilled by the number of women and people of color leading the food movement in the DMV. Helping anyone and everyone grow their own food is a passion of hers and she's excited to share it with you!
Nina Budabin McQuown
Nina Budabin McQuown, Installation Crew member, grew up gardening in the outer boroughs of New York City. Since 2007, they have worked with small sustainable farms nurturing everything from vegetables to pick-your-own strawberries to sheep. They love working with new gardeners and transforming urban spaces into green and productive ones. When they’re not building and planting gardens, they are a writer, researcher and artist whose work focuses on agricultural history and the cultural history of soil.
Kendra Keyes, Urban Farmer, is a DC transplant born in Salt Lake City and raised by Chicago. Kendra has a degree in Studio Art and Anthropology and a passion for sustainable agriculture and food justice. Her growing journey started in 2012 while working as a garden leader in a yard-sharing network in Rogers Park, Chicago. Kendra blossomed in college running the Beloit Urban Garden. She is very excited to be living and growing in the DC area.
Johnny Hanley , Installation Crew Member, joined Love & Carrots in 2019. Johnny found his passion for ecological design in 2015 when he did an internship and permaculture certification in Cape Town, South Africa.
Whether at work or play, planting food and native plants is what he is all about! To Johnny, every seed planted is a step towards self sustainability and connection to the earth, so every installation that furthers these goals is worth celebrating!
INSTALLATION cREW/Urban Farmer
Emily Gilmore, Installation Crew member/Urban Farmer. If there's one thing that motivates Emily, it's food— growing it, cooking it, eating it, sharing it. She grew up always having a garden. It wasn't until pursuing her Environmental Science degree that she learned not everyone has a garden of their own and the further you travel into a city, the less likely it was that a family was growing their own food. This inspired her to serve two years in Martinsburg, WV as an AmeriCorps VISTA, where she helped start a farmers market in a food desert, designed gardens for schools, and developed curriculum that taught kids how to grow food. During that time she fell in love with the concept of urban farming, so she moved to the city and joined the Love & Carrots family.
Lani La Forge-Cross
Installation crew/Urban Farmer
Lani La Forge-Cross, Installation Crew member/Urban Farmer, has worked on small-scale family farms across the country since 2009. Her expertise is in rotational grazing systems and sustainable livestock management. She is hoping to bring her experience with building shelters and fixing fences/barns to the Love & Carrots build team! Originally from New York City, Lani is very familiar with the issues of food system security in large metropolitan areas. She hopes that her work with Love & Carrots can help inspire more people in the DC community to have a meaningful connection with the food they eat and be more comfortable growing it themselves. Lani can be reached at: [email protected]
Bill Hahn, Resident Bee Expert, has been a beekeeper for six years with broad experience in general hive management, queen rearing, nucleus hive production, and comparison of mite treatment methods. He has a PhD in Botany (Univ. of Wisconsin) and has been faculty at Columbia, Georgetown, and George Mason Universities. His beekeeping research focuses on pollination biology, heavy metal and pesticide contamination of honey, and bee nutrition as well as native pollinator biology. He currently keeps about a dozen hives in suburban Maryland.