Edna became RAFI’s Executive Director in 2017 following six years as Come to the Table program Director, Development Director, and Director of Operations. Edna has grown the organization’s capacity by overhauling financial systems, diversifying income, and organizing cross-programmatic teams for greater collaboration and impact. In her current role, Edna led RAFI through a strategic planning process centered around equity, launched and grew the Farmers of Color Network, and extended programs to the U.S. Caribbean territories. Edna is a strategic thinker with the consistent goal of funding the movement more equitably, a value which most recently resulted — in partnership with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) — in a pool of granting funds devoted specifically to BIPOC-led organizations for climate and equity-centered policy work. In addition to serving on NSAC’s Organizational Council, Edna serves as Treasurer of the National Family Farm Coalition’s Executive Committee. Born in Puerto Rico to Dominican parents, Edna was raised between The Hague, Netherlands, and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Before RAFI, 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, NC, with her husband, three children, and their growing puppy.
919.542.1396 ext. 7
Matthew joined RAFI 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.
Director of Development
Susan worked for more than 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 whose 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.
Come to the Table
David has been with RAFI in some capacity since mid-2020, working at the intersection of food justice and faith. As the Come to the Table Project Manager, David manages the School for Food Justice, Faith, and Storytelling and the program’s events and communications efforts. Prior to joining RAFI, David received his Bachelor’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill before crossing Tobacco Road to earn his Masters of Divinity from Duke University. A Tar Heel at heart, David was born and raised in Shelby, NC, and now lives in Durham with his wife and two cats.
Carolina Alzate Gouzy, Ph.D
Farmer Outreach Manager
Carolina joined RAFI in August 2022. She has worked in agroecological projects and network articulation for territorial strengthening as a part of non-governmental organizations that seek a more just and regenerative relationship between the rural and urban worlds. She is a biological engineer, with a Master’s in Agribusiness and Ph.D. in Sustainable Development from Universidade de Brasília, Brazil. She was recently CEO of Low Carbon City, an organization that creates collective solutions to address Climate Change. She is a co-founder of the CSA Network in Colombia. Her experience is based in Latin American countries where she has lived most of her life and from where she developed her love to dance all kinds of rhythms.
Lead Farmer Advocate
Farm Advocacy Program
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.
Kelli manages RAFI’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 serves as RAFI’s representative on the Southern Cover Crops Council and Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund Advisory Committee. 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.
Climate-Smart Technical Assistance Provider
Jeremy Hart joined RAFI-USA in May 2023 as the Climate and Equity Technical Assistance provider. Once described as a future farmer by the News and Observer, Jeremy continued to increase his expertise in agriculture and farm practices by attending North Carolina A & T University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness. Since then, he has worked with various agencies of the USDA including FSA and NRCS in various roles. Through this work, he gained experience cultivating and harvesting crops and providing counseling and advice to farmers on topics such as pest control, plant care, soil preparation, and seed selection. Jeremy is a dedicated professional who is passionate about agriculture. Outside of work, Jeremy enjoys playing basketball and spending time with family.
Senior Communications Manager
Beth joined RAFI in mid-2020 having worked in nonprofit marketing and communications for nearly 40 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. She also wrote for several magazines in the DC area and served as Associate Editor for Maryland Sip and Savor, focused on Maryland’s robust local food and beverage scene. She’s excited to have helped launch RAFI’s new magazine, Living Roots. 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 dog Gracie and enjoys art/crafts projects like painting and mosaics. She recently joined ERUUF’s (Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship) River Folk music ensemble.
B. Ray Jeffers
Director, Farmers of Color Network
Ray is a native of 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), and was most recently elected in 2022 to the North Carolina House of Representatives where he serves on the Agriculture committee. 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.
Senior Program Manager
Challenging Corporate Power
Aaron is the Senior Program Manager for the Challenging Corporate Power Program at RAFI, working to end trends of concentration and extraction in the meat industry and build resilient community-rooted animal agriculture economies. Prior to joining RAFI, he worked as a program designer and evaluator for several youth asset-building nonprofits in Durham, NC. Originally from Illinois, Aaron grew up spending his summers on his grandfather’s hog and dairy farm, and later working as a farmhand on his uncle’s hog farm. These formative experiences shaped Aaron’s passion for fighting for more ecologically just food systems. He enjoys elaborate cooking projects, photography, and having fun with his partner and daughter.
Special Projects Manager
Kavita (Kuh-vee-thuh) joined RAFI in 2023 after over a dozen years in agriculture in the nonprofit, for-profit, and cooperative sectors. She is passionate about improving practical and equitable access to financing and loves a good spreadsheet. In addition to her work at RAFI, Kavita is a co-owner at Money Positive, a financial planning cooperative helping those who are often excluded from the conventional financial industry. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in geography and biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a dual MBA/MA in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin. Kavita likes gardening, overthinking paint colors in her dining room, and becoming engrossed in flora and fauna in the woods.
919.542.1396 ext. 207
Margaret is RAFI’s Policy Director, working to ensure that the experiences and needs of farmers and community stakeholders are heard by policy-makers. Prior to joining RAFI, 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.
As the Development Coordinator, Haillee is delighted to deepen relationships with donors through narrative-driven storytelling about the dignified, autonomous farming communities RAFI supports. During her time at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies, Haillee had the chance to work with her family’s archival images and film, which brought her closer to her family’s history as land workers and sugarcane cutters in rural Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. Haillee was drawn to RAFI because of the support that the organization provides to rural, small-scale Black and brown farmers throughout the Southeast and the Caribbean. Her life is made full by weightlifting, stumbling through Spanish conversations at local panaderias, analog collage, prioritizing rest, and beloved community.
Agricultural Conservation and Market Access Manager
Jaimie works at the crossroads of conservation and market access, providing one-on-one technical assistance to farmers in the Southeast U.S. She assists farmers with identifying business and land stewardship priorities, creating action plans, and identifying other resources, partnerships, and referrals that help them advance their market and farm conservation goals. Originally from southeastern, NC, Jaimie holds a B.S. in Sustainable Development from Appalachian State University. She has a decade of grassroots community and “grasstops” statewide work experience in bolstering rural food economies in economically distressed and ecologically sensitive regions. She strongly understands agroecology principles and loves strategizing with land stewards how to not only improve their wild spaces but transform underutilized land into sustainably managed, income-generating landscapes. Jaimie lives with her husband and two boys on their ever-beginning farm.
Managing Director of Programs
As Managing Director of Programs, Lisa strategizes with and supports all RAFI programs to ensure that our on-the-ground work is leading us toward our vision of a thriving, sustainable, and equitable food system. Lisa also serves as Chair of RAFI’s Direct Service team. Prior to joining RAFI, Lisa served as the AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer at the College of Menominee Nation in Keshena, WI, and worked on small farms in the Midwest and internationally. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from St. Olaf College. Lisa lives in Saint Paul, MN where she enjoys singing, rock climbing, and reading.
Managing Director of Operations
Mo serves as RAFI’s Managing Director of Operations. Mo began at RAFI in 2017 with the Come to the Table program before moving into operations in 2022. She 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, Mo spends time with her spouse and their two dogs and attempts DIY home improvement projects.
As Communications Coordinator, Joe assists all programs with a large variety of visual and written design. Prior to joining RAFI-USA, Joe worked as a photojournalist for various publications across NC and studied Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at North Carolina State University. Joe lives with his wife and two cats and enjoys making music and film.
Come to the Table Program Director
Justine serves alongside the Come to the Table team as the Program Director. Justine has worked at the intersection of social justice, food ministries, and local agriculture since 2016. She seeks to serve faith communities and non-profits throughout rural North Carolina by providing resources, tools, and peer connections to increase their capacity. Justine holds a Master of Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School. She lives in southern Alamance County with her husband Andrew, their daughters Dorothy and Edith, and their dog Bowie. When she’s not working, she’s usually making pies or spending time with her family outside.
Farm Advocacy Program Manager
Liz joins the team as the Farm Advocacy Program Manager. She grew up on a farm in Virginia and has a decade of experience supporting local food systems and community health. Over the years, Liz has served as a nonprofit leader, educator, healthcare worker, and chaplain. She has a BA and MA from Virginia Tech and a Master of Divinity from Wake Forest University School of Divinity, where she was a Re:Generate Fellow in the Food, Health, and Ecological Well-Being Program. She cares deeply about sustaining our connections to the land and waters we call home. Liz currently lives with her partner in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. She enjoys spending quality time with family on their farm in coastal Virginia and going to the mountains or beach for hiking and fishing adventures.
Mary Saunders Bulan, Ph.D
Farmer Services Director
Mary is the Farmer Services Director. She and her partner run a small herb, flower, and vegetable farm in Western North Carolina. Prior to joining RAFI in Nov 2022, Mary was a college professor teaching agriculture courses, mentoring research, and managing campus farming programs. She served on the faculty at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC, and Unity College in Unity, ME. She holds a Ph.D. in Agronomy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a BA in International Relations from Brown University. Mary grew up in Horry County, South Carolina. She enjoys making music, hiking with her dog, exploring with her kids, working at the farm, cooking and eating good food, and relaxing around the fire with family and friends.
Come to the Table Program Associate
Taylor joined the Come to the Table Program team this month as our Program Associate. Taylor holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Wingate University with a minor in Spanish. Prior to joining RAFI, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member building capacity for NC State’s on-campus food pantry. Her AmeriCorps term and previous service experience taught her a wealth of knowledge about food security work, and how to work collaboratively and effectively with one’s community. In her free time, Taylor enjoys cooking new recipes and creative writing.
Climate Smart Project Manager
Tee joined RAFI as the Climate Smart Project Manager in September 2023. Prior to joining RAFI, Tee worked in the food bank industry as a TEFAP Compliance Manager in Maryland. In 2022, she earned a Masters of Organizational Communication from Queens University of Charlotte and a Nonprofit Professional Certification from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. Tee is passionate about learning the inner workings of the agriculture/farming sector and how creating sustainability in this arena can help alleviate food insecurity. In her free time, Tee enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, biking, visiting art museums, listening to music, and working on her dj’ing skills.
Farm and Faith Partnerships Project Manager
Come to the Table
Jarred serves as the Farm and Faith Partnerships Project Manager, part of the Come to the Table Program. Prior to joining RAFI, 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.
Expanding Farmers Market Access
Angel works as the Market Access Coordinator assisting farmers markets and farmers looking to expand market opportunities. 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 small-scale vegetable farms and currently co-owns a small market garden with her partner.. For fun, Angel enjoys running, reading, and spending time outside with her dog.
Otis Wright, Jr.
Farmer Resources Coordinator
Otis, a native of Tallulah, LA, serves as the CEO of AG-ECO, a consultant company that assists non-profit organizations and businesses whose mission is to give farmers technical assistance. Otis recently served as a tech specialist for The Hinds County Soil and Water Conservation which is an affiliate of USDA/NRCS. In this position, he assists farmers with conservation plans and other assistance through NRCS. Before moving to Jackson, MS, Otis’s career started shortly after earning a B.S. in Ag-Economics from Alcorn State University in May 2006. Following graduation, he returned home to manage his local farmers market for two years through Americorp. In October 2008 he was hired by the Federation of Southern Cooperatives as an Agri-Business Specialist for the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives where he held that position for five years. During this term, Otis worked extensively in Mississippi and Louisiana providing technical assistance to individual farmers and cooperatives.
Otis is the former Farm Manager for the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation under the Arts & Culture Program. He also served as Director of Tougaloo College Farm Aid which is a USDA 2501 outreach and advocacy program for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. As director, he managed the direction of the program, and its outreach and advocacy services in seven counties in the Mississippi Delta.