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).
Garden Designer Jo-Elle Bergard has a Bachelor’s of Landscape Architecture (BLA) from top landscape design school Louisiana State University. In 2002 she spent a year studying at Virginia Tech when she inevitably fell in love with DC. Jo-Elle has practiced as a landscape designer for years with firms in Virginia and Maryland. She also volunteered with the Washington Youth Garden where she enjoyed educating kids, spending time outdoors, and learning where food comes from.
Becca Berube, a Lancaster County native, grew up around farming but developed a passion for agriculture through her travels in Latin America. After living in an Ecovillage in Mexico and working at an organic greenhouse in rural Bolivia, she knew farming would be part of her future, whether at home or abroad. When she’s not playing in the dirt, Becca enjoys exploring the abundant free offerings in DC and attempting to perfect her raspberry mousse cake.
Sarah Itoh comes to Love & Carrots with an interest in organic gardening and several years of experience as a local beekeeper. Her interest in beekeeping was sparked after volunteering through an applied conservation biology course to help at an environmental field station in Warrenton, VA. After her first visit, she couldn’t stay away and she picked up a job as an apprentice beekeeper under master beekeeper, German Perilla. Sarah has a bachelor’s of science in conservation studies from George Mason University. When not in her beesuit, Sarah can be found playing Ultimate Frisbee, learning Japanese, or enjoying the great outdoors.
Leigh Prezkop moved all the way out from California to join the Love & Carrots team. Although she obtained a B.A. in Communications and Journalism from Sonoma State University, her path was dramatically changed after completing her Peace Corps service in Zambia. She served as a Rural Aquaculture Promotion Extension Agent in Zambia for two years, teaching local villagers how to construct and maintain fishponds. After living off the land for 2 years and taking on permagardening projects alongside fish farming, she knew she was passionate about agriculture, as well as supporting local farmers. Leigh is an avid runner, swimmer, and hiker and can often be found out running in any weather above 30 degrees.
Guy Howard Kilpatric was born and raised in Western Maryland and has spent the past six years farming in different parts of the country, including Southern Maryland, California Central Coast, Northern Virginia, and Massachusetts. He is a graduate of the Certificate Program in Ecological Horticulture at the University of California Santa Cruz, and is a wizard with both a tractor and his trusty spading fork. Guy is deeply interested in helping others learn about the tools and techniques of organic farming and gardening and is particularly passionate about building healthy soil.