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 15 during the growing season. We have built and planted over 500 gardens for residents and businesses in the DC Metro area.
Love & Carrots envisions a future where vegetable gardens a commonplace feature of our 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, while simultaneously addressing nutritional education, promoting physical activity, and increasing access to nutritious food, making 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. As of 2015, less than 1% of the city's total area is being used to grow food. Every garden we plant is a small step toward raising that statistic, reducing our carbon footprint, and positively impacting the District as a whole.
Founder, Meredith Sheperd, 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
Chief Operations Officer, Julia Umiker, 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
Director of Garden Programming, Carly Mercer, 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, volunteered at Eco City Farm, 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, Horticulture Director
Horticulture Director, Natalie Carver, Natalie Carver joined Love & Carrots 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
Accounts & Communications Manager, Kelly McGuinness, joined the Love & Carrots team in 2016. After graduating UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in Sustainability, Kelly worked on an organic hog & vegetable farm. It was there she learned the value in connecting to our food sources and the balance between production and sustainability. She pursued her passion for urban agriculture in DC as the AmeriCorps VISTA at Common Good City Farm. Her work with Love & Carrots allows her to continue combining her desire to promote sustainable living with her inclination towards order and schedules.
Bianca Nati, Urban Farmer, began farming during college to discover the connection between food and people. After living in Philadelphia and graduating from Temple University’s horticulture program, she spent the last few years interning on an agricultural estate in Italy and most recently growing vegetables for the Rodale Institute’s ASC program. She is in love with the way food brings communities together and connects us to nature. She’s thrilled to be a part of the Love & Carrots family and to teach new gardeners how to grow food for their families and communities. Bianca can be reached at: [email protected]
Urban Farmer Gabrielle Rovegno has been immersing herself in the DC area foodscape over the last 8 years. After visiting an urban farm her very first day at UMD, she quickly changed her major to Soil Science and focused her attention on food justice issues. Working for International Rescue Committee and Crossroads Community Food Network, Gabrielle has had the privilege of working and learning along side farmers from around the world. She is very excited to engage in our community's food system with Love & Carrots. Gabrielle can be reached at: [email protected]
Urban Farmer Carolina Negron studied Agricultural Sciences and horticulture at Pennsylvania State University. While serving as the Coordinator of Production and Distribution for the Food Bank Farming Initiative, she realized her passion for bolstering effective and secure food systems to increase food security and decrease food waste. She believes a crucial role in this process is connecting individuals to their food, and is excited to do so with Love & Carrots! Carolina can be reached at: [email protected]
Robert Moses, Installation Crew/Outreach, envisions a future where people are empowered to steward their land productively to improve surrounding ecosystems. He believes in communities coming together over food to increase food security, food equity, and to create a robust localized food system. His passion for sustainable agriculture was ignited while studying food system issues, and after working in sales out of college, he volunteered for a year through WWOOF. He looks forward to helping individuals explore the possibilities under their feet and to create productive spaces.
Manuel Rojas, Garden Educator, 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]
After studying Plant Science at Rutgers University, Install Crew member Nick Delmar, worked as a groundskeeper at a minor league baseball stadium. He found himself dreaming of fields of vegetables and fruit that would help sustain the earth, rather than the vast field of turfgrass that lie before him. He went on to work on an organic CSA farm in South Jersey for three years; handling and harvesting over 20 acres of land, raising pigs, and creating meaningful connections with every CSA member along the way. He is excited to bring his farming experience into the urban agricultural landscape.
Lani La Forge-Cross
Lani La Forge-Cross, install crew member, 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.
Bill Hahn, our 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.