Our Team


Bhakta Rizal

Co-Founder of Shanit Community Farms and Head of Operations. ​Bhakta is a 3rd generation farmer who started helping with farming a 90 acre plot of land in Bhutan where he learned many skills and gained knowledge on the farming practices we use in our programs today. ​He has over 25 years of experience in business and nonprofit organizations. He is former owner of ‘Adult Family Homes’ which consisted of two group homes for senior citizens and the disabled requiring assisted living. Bhakta also serves on the board of the local publication ‘The Devil Strip’. Being of Neplai descent Bhakta works closely with our predominantly Nepali/Asian participants and surrounding community, helping with day to day life needs and issues. He currently runs the day to day options of Shanti Community Farms 365 days a year.

Co-Founder/Program Director

Tom Crain

Co-Founder of Shanti Community Farms. Tom oversees​ 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 an adjunct professor at Kent State University; has worked extensively with the refugee community serving youth education and senior program enrichment in both Minneapolis and Akron. Tom has also served as a resident advisor for Oriana House working with clients in the area of criminal justice reform. Some of his other accolades consist of: Member of the West Hill Neighborhood CDC Board, alumni of Summit County Neighborhood Leadership Institute and and is a member of Summit County Community Garden Leadership. He is one of the founders of the Greater Akron Innovation Network for Sustainability, 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.

Shanti Community Farms Board of Directors

Sarah Schmidt

Charles Jones

Kyengye Elale

David Brooks

Menorah Khanal

Dana Starvaggi

Betsy DuWalDt

Manorath Khanal

Cristina González Alcalá, PhD


240 E. Tallmadge Ave. Akron, OH 44310

Contact Us




330.328.5624 (Media/PR/Partnerships)