History

RAFI-USA is a private non-profit organization that traces its heritage to the National Sharecroppers’ Fund, which was founded in the 1930s by a group of bi-racial tenant farmers organizing for fair treatment and led by Dr. Frank Porter Graham, Eleanor Roosevelt, and other distinguished individuals.

For several decades, RAFI has been a national leader in farmer-led policy and market reforms. We work nationally and internationally, focusing on North Carolina and the southeastern United States. Our work is guided by the belief that in order to ensure a safe, adequate supply of healthy food we must protect family farms and encourage environmentally sound farming.

RAFI’s approach to change is built on the assumption that environmental sustainability, economic viability, biodiversity, and social justice are inextricably linked, and that the best way to ensure a just, sustainable future for farming is to create markets, policies, and communities that reward farmers for doing the right thing. This farmer-driven approach has enabled us to build effective coalitions that mobilize unusual groups of partners towards a common goal. Our decades of organizing and advocacy have built relationships between RAFI and a wide community of stakeholders in the agricultural community.

These strengths and histories make us uniquely situated to bring people together in broad coalitions working towards a common goal, and enable us to work with farmers and partners to build a strong movement that engages diverse supporters.

For more than 10,000 years farmers have worked with the environment to create new plants, fiber and food to sustain life all over the earth. As we lose farmers, we lose diversity. As we lose diversity, we lose farmers. The social, economic and technological changes converging on our rural communities are rapidly changing how food is produced and what comes to our tables.

RAFI believes that farmers and consumers must be informed, involved with each other and active in protecting and directing the use of natural and human agricultural resources.