We at Love & Carrots believe the local food movement is a critical catalyst in environmental activism. In the United States the potential for impact by way of everyday choices is immense, yet after decades of consumerism-as-champion, our culture does not easily lend itself widespread change through daily choices. We believe food is a good start. Choosing what to eat is one of the easiest ways to be a proactive environmental steward, and eating locally is the simplest solution with the most impact so far. Urban Agriculture is the local food movement at its best and tackles a multifaceted problem. It is food production right at the site of high level consumption, it is greening spaces, it is education, its zero food miles, and its the healthy alternative.
Love & Carrots provides gardening assistance to people who would like to have an organic vegetable garden in their backyard, front yard, patio, balcony, or even bay window. DC is unique in that it has abundant yard space for a city. Many people here have both a front and back yard, however not many people use these spaces to grow food. We would like to see that potential realized and so far, we have seen that the interest in home gardening in DC already exists. Most Community Garden plots have a two year waiting list, and there farmers market are very popular. Our aim is to help get people started growing their own food as locally as possible – in their own yard!
Founder Meredith Sheperd has an extensive background in landscaping and design, small organic farming, and environmental science. She has been working in sustainable agriculture for many years. Before founding Love & Carrots she spent several seasons managing Chailey Farm in Virginia, which produces organic herbs and vegetables for high end DC restaurants City Zen, and The Sou’wester. Meredith shares her passion for growing food by spending her winters farming and teaching agricultural classes at an orphanage in Guatemala.
Morgan Morris, Partner and Installation Manager at Love & Carrots, has been with us since early July 2011. Before coming to DC, Morgan was the assistant manager of Codman Community Farm outside of Boston. Morgan has seven years experience in sustainable agriculture including an apprenticeship with The Farm School in Athol, Mass. and an Agriculture Business major at NCSU. Morgan now specializes in the building and design of everything from self-cooling chicken coops to rooftop pergolas (and of course home vegetable gardens).
Julia Umiker, joined Love & Carrots this 2014 Season as a Farm Apprentice. Her aptitude for operations logistics and collaborative management were immediately evident leading her into the key role of Executive Assistant. Julia graduated from Hobart and Williams Smith with a double major in Environmental Studies and Biology. Since then, her commitment to the environmental field has only grown stronger. Julia started her career as a first responder in the BP oil spill managing a waste accumulation site in Louisiana. She then moved up North to New Jersey, accepting a Waste Management position at Prime Environmental an environmental consulting firm. Julia developed a strong passion for reducing our society’s dependence on industrial agriculture through her studies in college, which led her to seek out volunteer opportunities at a variety of urban farms in NY. Julia sees her work with Love & Carrots as a turning point in her career, aligning her professional skillset with her personal commitment to improving our treatment of the environment around us.
Megan Rynne joins Love & Carrots from Boston, MA, as the Engagement Coordinator. Most recently, she worked with American Farmland Trust in Development, putting her admittedly nerdy affinity for research and technical writing to good philanthropic use. She looks forward to getting her hands back into the soil managing our community gardening collaborations and her boots back onto the ground engaging folks in conversations that explore ideas of a healthier and accessible food system for all. We are thrilled to be able to draw upon her previous years of experience strengthening community by growing food and leading youth farm/garden-based education programs with stellar organizations throughout the Hudson Valley, NY and MA. Megan graduated from UMass Amherst with a self-designed BA in Sustainable Development & Environmental International Relations; she loves coastal hiking adventures, learning and cooking Ayurvedic aligned recipes, and sending written letters to friends.
Urban Farmer, Natalie Carver got into farming while on a cross-country bike trip. The group biked from Portland, OR to Boston, MA staying on farms along the way. The trip sparked her love of growing food, and she started gardening in her backyard in Vancouver, British Columbia. After graduating with a degree in Anthropology, she left the city and spent two years on family farm in rural BC. Now Natalie is living in Arlington, her hometown, and is excited to be an urban farmer.
Urban Farmer, Carly Mercer grew up gardening with her family in Maryland, where birthday gifts often included mulch. After working on food issues at an advocacy group, Carly realized she wanted to take the fight for access to good food directly to people’s backyards (or front yards- whichever has more sun!) She has worked on farms from Costa Rica to Virginia, is a volunteer at Eco City Farm, and recently spent the summer as an apprentice on a farm in Maine. Currently working on completing the Master Gardener program in DC, Carly is passionate about urban agriculture and teaching people how to grow their own food.
Urban Farmer, Gavin Thomas began his journey as a farmer at Eckerd College, where he became a part of the student run garden (Sol Food Grow-op), volunteered with the Edible Peace Patch Project, and became involved with food justice issues working alongside groups such as the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). After graduation and a number of differing jobs later, he expanded on his agricultural experience by volunteering on a large scale organic vegetable farm, and a beekeeping farm in Canada through WWOOF. Most recently he comes to us from a six month internship at Whitmore Farm in Emmitsburg, MD. Gavin is an extremely hard worker who enjoys building things. He is constantly striving to learn, and is very passionate about sustainable living.