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2021 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Economic Development, Food, Food, Agriculture & Nutrition, International, International Agricultural Development, Microfinance, Rural Economic Development

Mission: RAFI-USA challenges the root causes of unjust food systems, supporting and advocating for economically, racially, and ecologically just farm communities. We envision a thriving, sustainable, and equitable food system: where farmers and farmworkers have dignity and agency; where they are supported by just agricultural policies; where corporations and institutions are accountable to their community.

Target demographics: small and mid-scale farmers, farmers of color, and their rural communities

Geographic areas served: Southeast, Mid-Atlantic states, North Carolina and nationally

Programs: Since our founding in 1990, RAFI-USA has recognized that our food system is deeply inequitable, where rural communities — their land, animals and people — are exploited to benefit corporate power structures. Working across agricultural sectors and collaboratively through coalitions, we combine on-the-ground practical services and policy advocacy to ensure farmers have access to the tools they need to make the right choices for their farm and families as well as for their communities and the environment. RAFI-USA takes a whole system approach to change through our integrated program areas: Just Foods, Farmers of Color of Network, Farm Advocacy, Challenging Corporate Power, Expanding Farmers Market Access, and Come to the Table.

Community Stories

11 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a small disadvantaged beginning minority farmer, RAFI has been a welcomed source of information and funding to help me get started. The leadership is welcoming and provides a wealth of information and stands available to help out.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

rafi has done amazing things in eastern NC. They have helped farmers get started, kept family farms producing and supported most recently farmers of color get established and celebrated.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

During the historic 2015 floods in South Carolina, I reached out to the leadership at RAFI-USA for guidance on how organize at the state level to support our agricultural community and was met with an outpouring of support, resources, and introductions. They also provided incredible resources I could share directly with farmers to help them in navigating disaster relief that I still reference every year during hurricane season.

Client Served

Rating: 5

RAFI-USA's Farmers of Color Network has been a God-sent resource for me. As a small beginning farmer, the resources shared by RAFI combined with the grant I recently received to provide refrigeration for my produce and cut flower operation has increased my productivity immensely. Additionally, RAFI has expanded networking opportunities for farmers and provides a constant source of easy to interpret information to help busy farmers keep current with USDA and other programs. Thank you RAFI for being there for me!

Marie C.6

Client Served

Rating: 5

After Hurricane Ida struck and devastated many of the small producers in the Crescent City Farmers Market (CCFM) network, Rafi reached out to offer assistance. They worked closely with Market Umbrella , the non-profit that runs the CCFMs to connect to affected growers, and share resources with farmers including assistance with federal applications for disaster relief, as well as grants from Rafi's disaster relief funding, and producers of color network funding. Thank you, Sabine!

Jacob D.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with RAFI-USA began as an intern, or a Food, Faith, and Justice fellow, in 2020 while I was at Duke Divinity School. Through this program, I came to know the awesome people at RAFI-USA, as well as many of the farmers and churches that they work with through their Come to the Table program. At the time, I was studying to be a pastor in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. My fellowship provided me with invaluable connections in the intersection of food, farming, and faith, and gave me a much-needed exposure to the non-profit world before beginning my ministry.

Now that I am serving in a rural United Methodist church of my own, I have been able to continue my work with RAFI-USA, as they are a vital partner in the work of the North Carolina Conference's Creation Care team. Even though I am no longer a fellow that is working for them, they continue to support me in my passions of creation care, faith, and farming. The partnership that I formed with RAFI-USA is one that will last for many years to come, and I am able to do the work I love due in large part to the work that they do.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I believe in RAFI-USA. They are on the ground and are actively listening to those who have little voice or impact at the table. RAFI is often the only snd last assistance available to farmers and workers facing unjust obstacles. They are making a difference in rural America. That’s why I give my time, counsel, and money to RAFI-USA.
J DeWitt
North Carolina

Board Member

Rating: 5

RAFI is an amazing organization. I most appreciate their programs to help farmers of color. I also appreciate their efforts to build community and help us connect with other people in the movement. Their programs are progressive and intentional. Thank you RAFI for everything that you do!

Board Member

Rating: 5

RAFI-USA is an effective organization doing critical work that unites ground-level, hands on change with systemic policy advocacy. As a researcher, I've learned so much from knowledgeable RAFI staff who can share insight into everything from minute agriculture policy details to the lived experiences of struggling farmers whose stories may otherwise not be heard, because they fear retaliation for speaking up about abuse by powerful corporations. Their team covers an incredible amount of ground and brings a justice-seeking drive to a wide range of local and national issues.

Board Member

Rating: 4

I have been navigating my first year experience as a RAFI board member. What motivates me is the commitment and investment RAFi has made to sustainable and regenerative small scale farmers in the Southeast region of the country. Also highlighting the interconnectedness with other farming collectives and other food justice advocates at a national level. RAFI has the years of practice in federal policy and making effective change along the value food chain through collective impact approach.

Fatimah S. S.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

For more than two years I have worked with RAFI USA staff and leadership as an equity consultant. I have found both the leadership and staff of RAFI USA to be attentive, dedicated and motivated to do the hard work of diversity, equity, inclusivity and belonging. They are conscientious and careful with their programming and its content. They dedicate their time and energy to achieving an equitable workplace and outreach organization--the tenets of equity underline all of their work. I find RAFI USA to be striving both internally and externally to be an equitable and inclusive organization. I count it an honor to work alongside them in their work.