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What Does a Typical Week Look Like for RAFI-USA Staff?

RAFI-USA Monday all-staff meeting

Even though our offices are at our homes these days, the RAFI-USA staff is still hard at work running programs, advocating for policies, and serving agricultural communities. But beyond our titles do you wonder what a typical week is like for RAFI-USA staff? Take a look below to see how we generally spend our days at RAFI-USA.

Top Row (left to right)

Lisa Misch – Just Foods Project Manager & Operations Assistant:

“My main program work is managing our two farmers market incentive programs. I am also a generalist interacting with all the RAFI programs and teams. Depending on the need of the week, I may be creating guideline procedures for a new mini-grant program, supporting a policy action alert effort, developing the monthly e-newsletter in Mailchimp, or participating in program strategic planning.”

Susan Alan Development Manager:

My job fundraising gets a boost when we get encouraging messages from donors – like this one, “I am young and I’m sorry I can’t give more, but I hope my words hold some value on how thankful I am to see organizations like this.”

Tyler Whitley – Contract Agricultural Reform Program Manager:

“I split my time between two programs; one helping farmers navigate financial crises and the other working to upend corporate agricultural systems that drive farmers into financial crises. I may have a listening session with farmers across the southeast, a call with a Senator’s office, review a farmer’s financial documents, or participate in a coalition call to hold industry accountable for their bad actions. I spend a lot of time collaborating with others to build power.”

David Allen – Duke Divinity School Ministerial Intern:

“I love working with religious communities to come up with ways that they can be a stronghold in a local food community. In my work as a Duke Divinity intern, I have gotten the chance to talk with churches who are partnering with a farmer to form a CSA, meet with communities who are financially supporting a local farmers market, and fostered community conversations around food justice and equity.”

Second Row (left to right)

Laketa Smith – Farmers of Color Network Program Coordinator:

“The heart of what I do is forge and nourish relationships with farmers of color, mostly in NC, SC and VA. A typical week looks like phone calls with farmers new to the Farmer of Color Network as well as other farmers we have relationships with about some needed technical assistance, capital, or on-farm infrastructure. I also can frequently be found linking farmers to folks who want to buy from them which might be wholesale or retail markets or individuals or churches.”

Craig Watts – Farmer Advocate:

“On a typical day I field hotline calls that can vary from something as simple as getting a farm ID or tax ID# to complex cases where I work within the farm advocacy team team to help farmers respond appropriately to adverse FSA decisions. During that same day I may fill various voids such as working to approve grants to support farmers, lending my experiences to the contract agriculture reform team and/or participating in various meetings/trainings.”

Margaret Krome-Lukens – Senior Program Manager, Come to the Table Program:

“As we’ve gone virtual I’ve been doing a lot of agenda-crafting and facilitation planning so that we can make our Community Conversations events a space where people can still connect, even over Zoom. And as chair of our Policy Team, I’ve been spending a lot of time keeping up with COVID-19 federal legislation – trying to make sure that the experiences of farmers, workers, and rural faith communities are heard and valued as Congress and USDA craft and implement pandemic relief packages.”

Jarred White – Program Coordinator, Rural Faith Community Organizing Initiative:

“On a daily basis, I’m on the phone with congregations learning how they serve their communities, and how we can partner with them. When a church expresses a desire to source their food ministry clients with fresh produce, I’m able to help connect them with a farmer in their area.”

Third Row (left to right)

Michelle Osborne – Come to the Table Faith-based and Community Partnerships Program Manager:

“On a typical day, I might be leading or participating in an online community conversation to equip pastors and community leaders, having a conversation with a pastor about their food ministries and how we can support them, or keeping up to date on policy issues that affect our food system.”

Kelli Dale – Just Foods Program Director:

“Since the pandemic my job has changed a bit. There are fewer farm visits to check on our seed work but I’m still checking in with farmers through phone calls and pictures of how things are progressing in the field. I’m also staying busy with the grant programs we have for farmers, which are much needed during these challenging times.”

Stephanie Terry – Strategic Organizing Coordinator:

“My days are spent developing relationships with people in communities that are impacted by issues that concern them. I listen and we dialogue, raise questions, discuss opportunities, and collaborate to solve issues and build collective power. I am often organizing strategies, facilitating meetings and developing leaders through trainings.”

Drew Rosemond – Johnson Service Corp Intern:

“On a typical day I will be drafting publications, social media posts, and entering donations. But whatever the team needs me to help out with, I lend
my services.”

Fourth Row (left to right)

Benny Bunting – Lead Farmer Advocate:

“My days are spent listening to farmers talk about their financial problems, talking through the options with them so they can choose for themselves how to go forward and then advocating for them with the Farm Service Agency. I spend a lot of time going through the regulations so that I know them as well, or better, than the agency. That helps me be as strong an advocate as possible.”

Tahz Walker – FOCN Program Manager & Farmer Liaison:

“Day to day my work in the farmer of color network focuses on getting resources out to farmers, which sometimes means using best COVID-19 protocols to go to farms. And also informing farmers of new programs and opportunities for their farms and providing technical support that focuses on production needs, business planning, and market access.”

Edna Rodriguez – Executive Director:

“As Executive Director my top goal is to ensure that the organization is sustainable and successful in meeting its mission. By always considering the larger picture of what RAFI-USA is working to accomplish and who are the partners we need to work with, I provide strategic direction to the various programs and teams so we can collectively create lasting impact.”

Bottom Row (left to right)

Emily Boynton – Finance Officer:

“Day to day I’m working in the background dealing with the nuts and bolts to keep RAFI running smoothly. One of the most heartening and satisfying parts of my job has been processing all of the grant payments we’ve sent out to support farmers, food pantries and churches over the last few months.”

Beth Hauptle – Communications Consultant:

Beth just started at RAFI-USA last week! We’re excited to have her on board as she helps RAFI-USA make the most of our communications.

Charlotte Minguez – Triangle Incentive Program Coordinator:

“For the past few months I have been working with farmers market managers and local DHHS offices to safely run markets and accept SNAP. In addition to the SNAP programs that market’s typically run, we have been working on alternative ways for SNAP and WIC customers to purchase fresh, locally grown food.”