Mike Muench & Leslie Shalabi
Mike Muench and Leslie Shalabi are the founders of Convivium Urban Farmstead.
Mike is an Ames, Iowa native and business grad from Iowa State University. The bulk of Mike’s professional background is in the supplemental insurance field. He co-founded and has been a partner in Platinum Supplemental Insurance in Dubuque since 1996. Mike has long had a passion for community service, especially in the areas of sustainability and environmental causes. Partnering with Leslie Shalabi to start Convivium Urban Farmstead is a natural extension of Mike’s commitment to the community and the environment.
Leslie Shalabi was born and raised in Sauk City, Wisconsin. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in journalism and anthropology. Upon graduation, Leslie entered the trade magazine publishing field, eventually landing at a publishing company that specialized in magazines for the construction industry. For many years Leslie traveled the world to write about construction and farming equipment. Eventually, she joined SE10, a public relations firm that specializes in representing multinational corporations in the construction field. After rising to the level of partner in 2007, Leslie sold her shares in the business in 2012 and moved to Dubuque, Iowa. An avid cook and self-admitted “foodie”, Leslie has long been committed to building community around food and co-founding Convivium has been an extension of this commitment.
A.J. Shultz, Convivium’s farm manager, is a Maquoketa, Iowa native and has been involved in the organic agricultural world most of his adult life. A.J’s professional background includes training and working with organic farms and edible landscape organizations in Santa Cruz, California, Hawaii and Australia. He recently moved back to Iowa with to raise a family with his wife Kerri, also an Iowa native.