History & Bio’s
Shanti Community Farms farming operations will be led by Bhakta Rizal, Tom Crain and their team bringing a wealth of business and project management skills to the project. Utilizing these skills, Bhakta will be responsible for the business operation of the farm. Tom will be responsible for the marketing, education family, and youth programs of the farm. Their team, with a background of farming experiences will be the driving force of the operation, growing a variety of vegetables and other edibles to train a workforce of farmers to boost the workforce and contribute to the overall economy of Ohio.
Bhakta was born and raised on a traditional Bhutanese farm in its third generation before facing exile at age 16 in his country of origin. Bhakta’s father owned 90 acres of land in Bhutan where he had an opportunity to learn skills and gain knowledge on these farming practices. Livestock included buffalo, goats and chickens. Crops include rice, corn and apple orchards. His family’s farm was burned and all members were forced to leave the country of Bhutan and reside in a resettlement camp in nearby Nepal for 14 years.
After leaving the camp at age 25, Bhakta and his family relocated to Olympia, WA. There, he became a successful businessman and entrepreneur establishing his own company, Adult Family Homes, It consisted of two group homes for senior citizens and the disabled requiring assisted living. Bhakta was responsible for the health and personal care of elderly and disabled people in the group homes. For eight years, the company generated $300,000 in annual revenues and employed 20 workers.
Tom will lead all education and community partnerships for SCF, including Yard Corps and Farm to School. He has served as an educator for a local charter school, Akron Public Schools and adjunct professor at Kent State University where he teaches American culture to visiting Asian students and Walsh University writing classes. He has worked extensively with the refugee community serving youth education and senior program enrichment in both Minneapolis and Akron, and is a few credits shy of receiving his TESOL certification through the Graduate English department at the University of Akron. He is also resident advisor for Oriana House working with clients in the area of criminal justice reform.
A former publisher and magazine editor, Tom works successfully in a multitude of work environments and project teams writing colorful and accurate copy for print or web on deadline. In addition to holding a Journalism degree, Tom also earned a Master’s degree in Community Services & Education, serving as a Community Education Manager for the Minneapolis Public Schools for several years.
Tom is on the West Hill Neighborhood CDC Board, alumni of Summit County Neighborhood Leadership Institute and Summit County Community Garden Leadership. He is one of the founders of the Greater Akron Innovation Network for Sustainability. He has coordinated community-wide events including Akron Portage and Paddle, Ecowalk and Great Glendale Goat Graze, written and administered grants from Akron Community Foundation, City of Akron and Summit County Master Gardeners. He managed websites and email campaigns for various clients and is steeped in social media. Client list includes: Sherwin-Williams, Continental Contitech, SD Myers, Target Stores, Minnesota Office of Tourism, St. Paul Public Schools, Minneapolis/Hennepin County Libraries, HealthEast and The NEOhaus Institute. He is also a frequent contributing writer for: Turf and Design-Build magazines for the landscaping trade and The Akronist and Good Place Akron, two neighborhood community e-zines.