Whether working to protect the James River, documenting wildlife and wild places around the world or transforming Richmond into a safer place for cyclists, Virginia Commonwealth University alumni are making Earth Day every day.
Program director, Shalom Farms
Master of Social Work, School of Social Work, 2015
Favorite green spot in Richmond: South of the James Farmers Market, and a walk around Forest Hill Park
Analise Adams’ grew up a military brat and lived “a little bit of everywhere,” including several years in Belgium. After graduating from Virginia Tech in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in human development and psychology, she sought a program that would help her bridge rural and urban Virginia in sustainable ways.
“I was drawn to the focus VCU had on social justice and community development. I was focused on figuring out, ‘How do we come together to make more equitable spaces for people?’” she said.
In the School of Social Work’s administration, planning and policy practice track, she took part in internships and projects to help to answer those questions. She connected with Shalom Farms for an internship, and was excited to find a job open in 2013.
“Once the food is grown on our 15-acre organic farm, it comes into the city through partnerships and programs, and I oversee that,” said Adams. “This is a community-level issue. What can we do to promote equity across the food system?”
That food arrives through after-school programs, corner stores and other pathways. Their customized mobile market truck serves 10 to 15 communities a week.
“People get the best benefits of a farmers market where you get to touch, feel and taste local produce. It’s not confined by transportation barriers, so it increases that access,” Adams said. “We all have this right to grow up in healthy places and thrive.”
“We love VCU. We donate weekly during our season, from June to November, making sure college students have access to healthy fruits and vegetables. We’re happy to support RamPantry,” said Adams.
She embraces the work, even though, “If you know me, I’m the least likely person to work at a farm.”
“It has been fun to get some more street cred as a farmer,” said Adams.