Our Team

Edna Rodriguez
Executive Director
[email protected]

Edna became RAFI-USA’s Executive Director in 2017, after serving as Development Director and Director of Operations, beginning in 2011. During her time at RAFI-USA, Edna has strategically grown the organization’s capacity by streamlining financial management, increasing and diversifying contributed income, and organizing workflow to allow staff members to effectively function within their own programs as well as in cross programmatic core teams. Additionally, she is a fervent advocate for equity and justice and was instrumental in launching the Farmers of Color Network. 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 and Career Services at the Latin American Association in Atlanta, GA. Edna holds a B.A. in Economics with a concentration in Latin American Studies from Haverford College. Edna lives in Chapel Hill with her partner Hameed and her three children, Nora, Daniel, and Samuel.

Susan Alan
Development Manager
[email protected]
(919) 542-1396 ext. 2213

Susan worked for 15+ years in administrative, fundraising, and programmatic capacities for the National Farm Worker Ministry. She is committed to self-determination for farmworkers and all those who labor puts food on our tables every day. She relocated to Raleigh, NC from St. Louis, MO in 2013 and remains a mid-westerner by temperament. Her B.A. in English and Secondary Education from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale seems barely relevant these many years on.

Emily Boynton
Finance Officer
[email protected]
(919) 542-1396 ext. 2212

Emily has worked part time at RAFI-USA several times over the last 10 years, going full time in December 2017, as 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 is located in Pittsboro, NC, where they live with their two kids, Daniel and Willie, four donkeys, two barn cats, a dog, and four chickens.

Benny Bunting
Lead Farm Advocate
Farm Advocacy Program
[email protected]

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 to each 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.

Kelli Dale
Program Director
Just Foods Program
[email protected]
(919) 542-1396 ext. 2211

Kelli manages RAFI-USA’s on-farm research, which currently includes primarily 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.

Beth Hauptle
Communications Manager
[email protected]

M. Beth Hauptle has been in nonprofit marketing and communications for more than 35 years, primarily in Washington, DC, and Baltimore. She helped launch the Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) program and was with the organization for five years prior to its reorganization into A Greener World. At AWA Beth enjoyed getting to know farmers and educating consumers about the benefits of pasture-based farming. Beth has a B.A. from Seton Hill University and an M.A. in Arts Management from American University. Beth lives in Durham with her Corgi/Jack Russell Gracie and loves to go to the South Durham Farmers Market on Saturday mornings to gather goods for her canning adventures. 

Margaret Krome-Lukens
Senior Program Manager
& Policy Team Chair
[email protected]
(919) 542-1396 ext. 2206

Margaret is a Senior Program Manager and chair of the Policy Team at RAFI-USA, working to connect the experiences of farmers and community stakeholders to policy solutions. . Prior to joining RAFI-USA, she worked as a farm hand and manager on farms in the Triangle, and ran the SNAP/EBT program at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market. She holds a B.A. 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.

Lisa Misch
Program Manager & Direct Service Team Chair Expanding Farmers Market Access Program
[email protected]
(919) 542-1396 ext. 2207

In addition to serving as the chair of RAFI-USA’s Direct Service team, Lisa works to create opportunities for local food marketing farmers to access new markets and reach new customers in a way that strengthens overall farm viability and local food access. 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 working on small, sustainable farms in the Midwest and internationally. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from St. Olaf College. Outside of RAFI-USA, Lisa spends her time singing, playing the violin, and working on her ever-growing reading list.

Michelle Osborne
Program Manager for Faith-Based & Community Partnerships
[email protected]
(919) 542-1396 ext. 2201

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, hikes, and plays with her dog.

Laketa Smith
Program Manager
[email protected]
(919) 542-1396 ext. 2209

Laketa works with the Farmers of Color Network as Program Manager. Her time is mostly spent building relationships with farmers, assessing farmer needs, and connecting them with information and resources to bolster the sustainability of their farms. Laketa holds a Master of Social Work from Arizona State University’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. Prior to joining the staff at RAFI-USA she worked in benefits administration at 1199SEIU, the largest healthcare workers union in the United States. Laketa believes that food is medicine and that sourcing fresh food from nearby farmers is a key to thriving. In her free time, she can be found growing herbs, making tea blends, and whipping up customized body care products from natural and home-grown ingredients.

Tahz Walker
Senior Program Manager
[email protected]
(919) 542-1396 ext. 2205

Tahz serves as Senior 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 outreach and support staff with the Agricultural Reinvestment Fund. Tahz spent the last 12 years working on small organic farms, and 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.

Craig Watts
Farmer Advocate
[email protected]
(919) 542-1396 ext. 1

Craig is a former contract poultry farmer, who works part time as a farmer advocate. Craig has been outspoken about the power giant meat companies wield over farmers. He has visited Capitol Hill several times to bear witness the abuses poultry farmers endure in the contract system. Craig shared his story on the Farm Aid stage with musicians Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, and Willie Nelson. Craig’s story also appeared in the New York Times and on Tonight with John Oliver. Craig was named Whistleblower Insider’s ‘2015 Whistleblower of the Year’.

Jarred White
Program Coordinator
Rural Faith Community Organizing Initiative
[email protected]
(919) 548-4730 ext. 2235

Jarred serves as the Program Coordinator for the Rural Faith Community Organizing Initiative, as part of the Come to the Table Program. Prior to joining RAFI-USA, Jarred worked as the Service and Outreach Coordinator at North Raleigh Community Church, helping to organize and lead several racial justice-based initiatives and programs. He holds a Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School and as a World Vision Fellow, coordinated awareness campaigns, focusing on migrant farmworker issues. Jarred enjoys improv training, cooking, and spending time camping and in nature.

Tyler Whitley
Program Manager
Contract Agriculture Reform Program
[email protected]
(919) 621-0534

Tyler works with contract livestock farmers, as an advocate with a background in finance, 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. Before transitioning to the nonprofit sector, Tyler worked in finance at a ‘Too Big to Fail’ bank. Following the loss of his family home in the devastating April’s Fury storms of 2011, Tyler decided to shift careers to helping vulnerable populations, focusing on issues of food sovereignty, livelihoods, and sustainability. He has worked for large-NGOs in Cambodia, faith-based projects in Haiti, and farming education programs in rural America. Tyler holds a Bachelors of Science in Biology from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and a Masters of Public Health from Tulane University in New Orleans.

Angel Woodrum
Program Coordinator
[email protected]

Angel works as the Triangle Incentives Program Coordinator assisting farmers’ markets to expand food access programs striving to make local foods more accessible. Originally from Kentucky, Angel moved to North Carolina in 2015 to complete her Master of Divinity with a concentration in Food & Ecology at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. Since graduating, Angel has worked on various sustainable vegetable farms, including managing a nonprofit farm that held a weekly free produce market. For fun, Angel enjoys jump roping, reading fiction, and taking her pup to the dog park.