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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. Edna serves on the Boards of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) and the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC). 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.

Matthew Adkins
Administrative Assistant
[email protected]
919.621.0534

Matthew joined RAFI-USA as an administrative assistant in 2021. Previously, he worked as a project facilitator in farm-management software development. Matthew has also worked on several organic farms in the Piedmont area, including a U-Pick blueberry and grape farm in Durham, and as a research technician in plant breeding and genetics programs for crops such as sweet potatoes and Christmas trees. He holds a B.S. in Environmental Sciences from NC State University, with a minor in Agroecology. In his free time, Matt enjoys gardening, knitting, and crocheting, photography, and writing music. He also loves long walks but frequently gets left behind because he is easily distracted by cool bugs.

Susan Alan
Development Manager
[email protected]
984.233.1989

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.

David Allen
Program Coordinator
Come to the Table
[email protected]
984.214.2816

David works as a Program Coordinator in the Come to the Table Program. David was born and raised in Shelby, North Carolina, and holds a Bachelor’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Masters of Divinity from Duke Divinity School. Prior to joining RAFI, David worked in a variety of fields including journalism, education, and parish ministry. For fun, David loves cheering on his beloved North Carolina Tar Heels, listening to live music, and hanging out with his wife and two cats.

Benny Bunting
Lead Farmer 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
[email protected]
910.890.3464

Kelli manages RAFI-USA’s on-farm research, which currently includes primarily corn, soybeans, and pollinator habitat. She also coordinates the research and pilot development of a farmer-led seed improvement collaboration. 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.

Sabine Frid-Bernards
Grants Coordinator
Farmers of Color Network
[email protected]
919.930.5083

Sabine works as a Grants Coordinator for the Farmers of Color Network. She was born in Portland, Oregon, and lived for eight years in Brooklyn, New York before moving recently to New Orleans, Louisiana. She has a degree in Political Science, Spanish, and Latin American Studies from Seattle University and has worked as a tenant organizer, preschool teacher, and in non-profit operations. She spent five years in New York doing grassroots grantmaking supporting neighborhood community organizing projects and is incredibly excited to bring that experience and passion to the Farmers of Color Network. She is a biker, cook, oral historian, amateur welder and printmaker, and aunt. 

Lydia Gilmer
Intern
[email protected]

Lydia works as an Intern for the Come to the Table Team as part of a year of service with the Johnson Service Corps. Within the last year, Lydia has graduated from Troy University with a B.A in English and moved to North Carolina from her home state of Alabama. She looks forward to the opportunity to learn from and grow with RAFI-USA. Outside of work, she is an avid reader, board game enthusiast, new plant mom, and amateur baker. 

Beth Hauptle
Communications Manager
[email protected]
919.903.2525

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 farmhand and manager on various 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.

B. Ray Jeffers
Program Coordinator
Expanding Farmers Market Access Program
[email protected]
919.930.5684

Ray works as a Program Coordinator in the Expanding Market Access program. Ray was born and raised in Person County, NC, where he also operates the family’s century farm purchased by his great grandfather in 1919. Previously Ray served for 12 years as an elected Person County Commissioner (2008-2020), was President of N.C. Association of County Commissioners in 2014, and was an executive board member of the National Association of Counties. Ray continues to serve on several local and state boards promoting agriculture and rural communities. Ray attended Piedmont Community College and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Lisa Misch
Program Manager & Direct Service Team Chair
Expanding Farmers Market Access Program
[email protected]
919.270.8100

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, trying out new recipes, and working on her ever-growing reading list.

Michelle Osborne
Senior Program Manager
Come to the Table
[email protected]
919.704.6920

Michelle serves as the Come to the Table Senior Program Manager. Michelle earned a Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School and a Master of Social Work from the UNC-CH School of Social Work. In her free time, Michelle performs improv comedy, hikes, and plays with her dog.

Nikki Pressley
Program Coordinator
Farmers of Color Network
[email protected]
919.930.5170

Nikki is the Farmers of Color Network’s Program Coordinator. Nikki focuses on connecting with and supporting farmers through technical assistance, as well as supporting communication between farmers and the FOCN team. Prior to joining the staff at RAFI-USA, she worked for various organizations as a graphic designer. Nikki was born in South Carolina and holds an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Nikki has been growing food on and off for the last 10 years, starting with her time as an urban farmer in Los Angeles. Her favorite crop to grow thus far is radicchio and huacatay, an aromatic herb from the marigold family. She enjoys good food and company, reading, hiking, and drawing in her spare time

Laketa Smith
Program Manager
Farmers of Color Network
[email protected]
919.548.8591

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.

Grace Tobias
Intern
[email protected]

Grace serves as a RAFI-USA intern. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Grace is approaching her third year at George Washington University. She is majoring in International Affairs with a concentration in comparative political, economic, and social systems, as well as women’s, gender, and sexualities studies. In her spare time, Grace loves to paint, read, and spend time with loved ones.

Tahz Walker
Senior Program Manager
Farmers of Color Network
[email protected]
919.548.6825

Tahz Walker is the Senior Program Manager for the Farmers of Color Network, which helps provide farm infrastructure resources through a regional grant program, on-farm technical support, and facilitation of farmer-to-farmer educational activities, market opportunities, and networking. He joined the RAFI-USA staff in 2015. Tahz lives in Durham, NC, and has spent the last 20 years managing farm and land stewardship projects across the Southeast and working on small diversified organic farms, farm co-ops, and community-based urban and rural food projects in North Carolina, Georgia, and Kentucky. He is co-founder of Earthseed Land Collective, a people of color-led 50-acre farm/property in Durham County that hopes to be a model for reimagining land conservation and community resilience through cooperative ownership of land and resources. Tahz also co-manages Tierra Negra Farm that helps to facilitate a community food sovereignty strategy called Farmshare. He plays banjo and drums and is the proud papa of two amazing kiddos, Amaru and Kala.

Jarred White

Jarred White
Farm and Faith Partnerships Project Manager
Come to the Table
[email protected]
919.548.4730

Jarred serves as the Farm and Faith Partnerships Project Manager, part of the Come to the Table Program. Prior to joining RAFI-USA. Previously, Jarred worked as a staff pastor at a congregation in Raleigh, 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 playing and watching basketball, cooking Italian food, and spending time with his dog.

Tracey Ellis Wiggins
Bookkeeper
[email protected]

Tracey serves as RAFI-USA’s bookkeeper, supporting the team by maintaining and processing finances. She is an experienced nonprofit manager, fundraiser, and bookkeeper, and for the past 15 years has been dedicated to supporting nonprofit organizations and the communities they serve. During her career, Tracey helped to improve and provide health care benefits to employees of East Tennessee companies and supported the libraries of Knox County, Tennessee. She holds a B.S. in Mass Communications from Barton College, with concentrations in Broadcast Video, Journalism, and Public Relations. She also received a paralegal certificate from the UT Knoxville Professional Development Program. When not at work, Tracey enjoys time with family and friends, mostly outdoors! 

Angel Woodrum
Program Coordinator
Expanding Farmers Market Access
[email protected]
919.444.5885

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.

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