Edna is RAFI-USA’s Executive Director. She previously served as Operations Director and Development Director. Edna is primarily responsible for providing high-level oversight to our staff and managing the organization’s portfolio of institutional and individual donors. 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 Business Development Director at NemediaSoft, 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.
Tel: (919) 542-1396 x202
Sally serves as Associate Director and directs RAFI’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 at RAFI 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) 323-7587
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, x210
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
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) 259-5169
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
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) 929-7099
Kelli manages RAFI’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, 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, 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.
Just Foods Program
Tel: (919) 542-1396, x211
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) 548-6825
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, 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) 621-3593
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) 704-6920
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 Policy Team and participates in national-level policy advocacy on local food, direct marketing, and food access issues. Prior to joining RAFI, 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, 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) 270-8100
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.
Agricultural Reinvestment Fund
Tel: (919) 542-1396, ext. 213
Emily has worked part time at RAFI a few times over the last 10 years and went full time, taking the Finance Officer position, in December 2017. Formerly, Emily was Associate Director of SEEDS, a non-profit community garden in Durham, NC. While working with the youth participating in the DIG and SEEDlings programs, Emily developed a passion for educating kids (and anyone who will listen) about healthy eating, where our food comes from and the importance of sustainable food production. Now she spends her days trying to get her two boys to eat anything, all while taking care of 4 donkeys, 7 chickens, 2 dogs, and Fiddlehead Farm. Read more about Fiddlehead Farm here and here. Emily and her husband David are big proponents of renewable energy, supporting it both at home (in many ways including solar hot water and PV) and through David’s work with Southern Energy Management.
Tel: (919) 542-1396 x0