Edna serves as RAFI-USA’s Executive Director and directs the Come to the Table program. She previously served as RAFI-USA’s Operations Director and Development Director. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Edna was raised in a global environment, growing up between The Hague, Netherlands and Santo Domingo. Prior to joining RAFI-USA, Edna served as Senior Program Officer at the Atlanta Women’s Foundation, and Director of Educational & Career Services at the Latin American Association in Atlanta, GA. Edna holds a BA in Economics with a Concentration in Latin American Studies from Haverford College. Edna lives in Pittsboro with her partner Hameed and her three children, Nora, Daniel and Samuel.
Tel: (919) 542-1396 ext. 2202
Sally serves as Associate Director and directs RAFI-USA’s Contract Agriculture Reform program. She completed a joint master in Agricultural Economics and International Rural Development, assessing farmer risk in American poultry production contracts while at the University of Humboldt in Berlin. She has a background in social justice, including working with us previously for four years with the Agricultural Justice Project, a social justice certification program for farms and businesses. She also worked as the Social Justice Consultant for Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in contributing to the development of the Sustainability Assessments for Food and Agriculture Systems (SAFA) indicators, which are used globally as a framework for policy development and business assessment.
Tel: (919) 542-1396 ext. 2208
Emily has worked part time at RAFI-USA a few times over the last ten years, going full time in December 2017, as the Finance Officer. Formerly, Emily was the Associate Director of SEEDS, a non-profit community garden in Durham, NC. When not at RAFI-USA, she works on the small farm and certified kitchen she owns with her husband David. Fiddlehead Farm located in Pittsboro, NC, where they live with their two kids Daniel and Willie, four donkeys, two barn cats, a dog, and four chickens.
Tel: (919) 542-1396 ext. 2212
Benny is a national leader in advocating for farm families and saving farms that would otherwise be lost to foreclosure. For more than 20 years, family farmers in crisis have turned to Benny for help. He provides farmers with a broad array of advocacy services including financial counseling, legal referrals and technical assistance. Benny counsels between 75 and 100 farmers each year and devotes 60 hours per client on average. In more than 90% of the cases he works on, Benny helps farmers realize their goals and achieve greater stability. In 2008, Benny was awarded the prestigious Nancy Susan Reynolds Award for Personal Service. Click here to view a video about Benny and read his full bio.
Lead Farm Advocate
Farm Sustainability Program
Tel: (252) 798-1235
Just Foods Program
Tel: (919) 542-1396, ext. 2211
Kelli manages RAFI-USA’s on-farm research which currently mainly includes cotton, corn, soybeans, and pollinator habitat. She also coordinates the research and pilot development of a farmer-led seed improvement collaboration. Kelli is the Agricultural Reinvestment Fund (ARF) Program Manager and a farmer liaison for Come to the Table (CTTT). Kelli was raised on an organic farm in northeastern North Carolina and now resides in Harnett County with her husband Tommie and two children Brett and Elyssa. Prior to her work at RAFI-USA, she worked in the crop consulting field where she gained knowledge of conventionally grown commodity crops. She has managed a contract swine farm which allowed her to become familiar with the caveats of contract agriculture. Previously at RAFI-USA, Kelli worked as a field technician on the peanut project with Scott Marlow. Kelli holds a degree from North Carolina State University in Agriculture Business Management with a minor in Animal Science.
Janie joined RAFI-USA as Communications Specialist in May 2018. She holds a Master of Public Health from Boston University and a Certificate in Sustainable Food and Farming from the UMASS Amherst Stockbridge School of Agriculture. Prior to joining RAFI-USA, Janie worked as a Project Manager for JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., a non-profit public health consulting company in Boston, and Community Food Lab in Raleigh. Outside of RAFI-USA, Janie is an aspiring gardener and homesteader.
Margaret is the Come to the Table Senior Program Manager, including working on RAFI’s Come to the Table Conference, planning and hosting trainings and workshops, and working on CTTT publications. Prior to joining RAFI-USA, she worked as a farm hand and manager on farms in the Triangle, and most recently ran the SNAP/EBT program at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market. She holds a BA in International Studies from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. Margaret is an impulse-buyer of flowering plants, Aikido nerd, mama to one of the world’s exceptional dogs, and a nap enthusiast.
Senior Program Manager
Come to the Table Program
Tel: (919) 542-1396 ext. 2206
Agricultural Reinvestment Fund
Tel: (919) 542-1396, ext. 2213
Daryn serves as Program Coordinator for the Agricultural Reinvestment Fund (ARF). ARF provides farmers and collaborative farmer groups with funds to overcome barriers in scaling up or economically diversifying their farms to become more sustainable. She provides technical assistance and support to farmer grantees. Daryn also contributes to the Growing Innovation project, RAFI-USA’s multi-media archive of farmer-driven innovation. Daryn previously worked with RAFI-USA from 2012-2014, including as an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer as the Local Stakeholder and Engagement Coordinator and later as Coordinator of the 2014 Summit on Seeds & Breeds for 21st Century Agriculture. During her three year hiatus from RAFI-USA, Daryn spent time working as a farm hand on several small scale, sustainable vegetable and flower farms as well as working with agriculturally-related entrepreneurial businesses including a whole animal butchery, a bakery and a farm to table restaurant. She continues to work part-time at a flower farm throughout the growing season. Daryn holds a BA in Latin American Studies and a BA in Art with a focus in Photography from Guilford College.
North Carolina Community Garden Partners
Tel: (919) 542-1396, ext. 2233
Bio coming soon!
Scott is Senior Policy Specialist at RAFI-USA. Previously RAFI-USA’s Executive Director, Scott also directed the Farm Sustainability program, providing in-depth financial counseling to farmers in crisis, education on disaster assistance programs and access to credit, and addressing the needs of mid-scale farmers increasing the sustainability of their farms by transitioning to higher-value specialty markets. Scott’s specialty is financial infrastructure, including access to credit and risk management and how that infrastructure addresses food security and global climate change. He has served on the steering committee of the National Task Force to Renew Agriculture of the Middle, the Organization Council of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Board of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, the Board of the NC Farm Transition Network, and the NC Agricultural Advancement Consortium and serves on the Advisory Committee of the NC Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. He has a Masters Degree in Crop Science from NC State University and a BA in Political Science from Duke University.
Senior Policy Specialist
Tel: (919) 542-1396, ext. 2210
Brendan serves as Development Manager, coordinating grant administration and overseeing individual giving programs for RAFI-USA. He leverages more than 15 years of business experience spanning nonprofit leadership, rural agricultural production, and socio-environmental entrepreneurship. Brendan was a 2016 Fellow with Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and serves on the Board of Directors for an economic development nonprofit focused on food systems. He holds a Masters of Nonprofit Management and is co-founder and Adviser for Blue Terra Solutions, a company focused on community-based conversion of organic waste into energy and soil nutrient. Brendan, his wife Brittany, and their young son Declan, live in the woods in small-town central North Carolina and enjoy hiking, camping, and micro-farming together.
Tel: (919) 542-1396 ext. 2200
Lisa grew up in southwestern Wisconsin, often visiting her uncle’s farm, exploring the Driftless area, and cooking with her mother in the kitchen. She now calls North Carolina home. As part of the Come to the Table team, Lisa provides support to farmers markets and other local markets that want to increase low-income/low-resource community members’ access to fresh, healthy food. This includes helping markets to accept or match SNAP/EBT payments. Lisa also serves as Coordinator for the RAFI-USA Policy Team and participates in national-level policy advocacy on local food, direct marketing, and food access issues. Prior to joining RAFI-USA, Lisa served as the AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer at the College of Menominee Nation in Keshena, WI where she managed the Tribe’s farmers market. Lisa has previous experience managing a farmers market in La Crosse, WI and working on small, sustainable farms in the Midwest and internationally. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies from St. Olaf College. Outside of RAFI-USA, Lisa spends her time singing in community choirs, testing out new recipes, and working on her ever-growing reading list.
Come to the Table Program
Tel: (919) 542-1396 ext. 2207
Michelle serves as the Come to the Table Program Manager for Faith-Based and Community Partnerships. The CTTT program connects faith communities with farmers, farmers market managers, and other community leaders engaged in food access work to increase capacity and promote equity. Michelle earned a Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School and a Master of Social Work from the UNC-CH School of Social Work and has served in leadership positions in churches, nonprofit ministries, and community organizing groups. In her free time, Michelle performs improv comedy, sings silly songs, writes sketches, and plays with her dog.
Program Manager, Faith-Based & Community Partnerships
Come to the Table Program
Tel: (919) 542-1396 ext. 2201
A founding member of RAFI-USA, Michael manages policy, research and education regarding agricultural best practices, agricultural biodiversity, biotechnology, organic identity preservation and a range of food justice and other value-added food labeling and marketing issues. He has more than 30 years of experience in agricultural practices and policy analysis, including domestic and international work. Michael holds the following titles: Founding Chair of the National Organic Standards Board (a federal advisory committee to the USDA); Founder of Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG); Founder of National Organic Coalition, Founding Partner of Agricultural Justice Project, and Founding Member of Domestic Fair Trade Association. He is also a part-time family farmer and a trained anthropologist. Michael lives, farms and works in North Carolina.
Just Foods Program
Tel: (919) 542-1396 ext. 2215
Laketa serves on RAFI-USA’s Come to the Table Program (CTTT) as an MSW intern from Arizona State University’s School of Social Work. In this capacity, Laketa collaborates on a number of CTTT projects including organizing the Come to the Table Conference and other events that connect farmers, markets, faith organizations, and other community stakeholders involved in food production, justice, and access. Laketa is a fairly new North Carolinian having previously worked in benefits administration at 1199SEIU, the largest healthcare union in the United States. Laketa loves growing herbs and whipping up customized body care products from natural and home-grown ingredients.
Come to the Table Intern
Tel: (919) 542-1396 ext. 2209
Tahz serves as Program Manager for the Farmers of Color Network, providing technical support and helping to facilitate farmer to farmer relationships and capacity building. He also works as an outreach and support staff with the Agricultural Reinvestment Fund. Tahz spent the last 12 years working on small organic farms, community-based urban and rural food projects in North Carolina, Georgia, and Kentucky. Tahz is co-founder of Earthseed Land Collective, a people of color led 50 acre property in Durham County that hopes to be a model of community resilience through cooperative ownership of land and resources. Tahz is the father of two amazing kids Amaru and Kala.
Program Manager & Farmer Liaison
Farmer Leadership Network Initiative
Tel: (919) 542-1396 ext. 2205
Liz grew up in a small town in southeast Michigan, working at a local orchard and exploring the Great Lakes basin. They spent the past four years in Boston attending Wellesley College where they studied Peace and Justice Studies and Religion. Recently, Liz moved from Boston to North Carolina to start their year as a 2018-2019 corps member with Johnson Service Corps. They serve as Development Associate at RAFI-USA, and live in intentional community in Carrboro with four other corps members working at different local non-profits. In their free time, they can be found baking fresh bread, singing with their church chorus, and enjoying the warmer weather in their hammock.
Tel: (919) 542-1396 ext. 2244
Tyler works with contract livestock farmers as an advocate with a background in finance, farmer organizing, and livelihoods. Tyler supports farmers by providing information and resources, organizing workshops, leading our in-house research, and working alongside Lead Farm Advocate Benny Bunting. He also contributes to RAFI-USA’s policy-based initiatives to empower farmers. Before transitioning to the nonprofit sector, Tyler worked in finance at a “Too Big to Fail” bank in home-mortgage refinancing. Following the loss of his family home in the devastating April’s Fury storms of 2011, Tyler decided to shift career focus to helping vulnerable populations. While pursuing his Master of Public Health, he was drawn to issues of food sovereignty, livelihoods, and sustainability. In Cambodia, Tyler worked with Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) helping smallholder farmers increase their yields through sustainable production methods and increase their income through fair negotiation practices. Most recently, he returned to the U.S. from Haiti, where he was working with smallholder farmers to form farmer associations which would address local food insecurity and poverty by diversifying local food production. Tyler holds a BS in Biology from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and a MPH from Tulane University in New Orleans. If you are a farmer in need of assistance, please contact Tyler at the email or phone number above.
Contract Agriculture Reform Program
Tel: (919) 621-0534