Janie is a Communications Fellow for Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI-USA), a nonprofit in Pittsboro, NC focused on cultivating markets, policies, and communities that support thriving, socially just, and environmentally sound family farms. Janie’s expertise is in asking questions and communicating results and opportunities. Facilitating focus groups and interviews with community members as a public health project manager and evaluator led Janie to discover her excitement for getting to the root of issues by learning from those with firsthand experience, finding solutions in collaboration with those most impacted, and communicating outcomes. Janie enjoys sharing about RAFI-USA’s work on behalf of family farmers so more people are aware of the critical role of farmers and rural communities in providing food for us. She is particularly interested in how slight changes in language can help to bring seemingly opposed groups, such as farmers and environmental groups, together to learn from one another and work toward shared priorities.
Originally from North Carolina, Janie returned to her home state in 2016 after studying public health at Boston University, Sustainable Food and Farming at the UMASS Amherst Stockbridge School of Agriculture, and working for six years for JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., a nonprofit public health consulting company in Boston. While working on a variety of public health issues, including obesity, cancer, maternal and child health, aging, and health disparities, Janie came to realize how food impacts many of these health outcomes. Seeking to learn more about how food is produced and the farmers and farmworkers who produce it led her to study sustainable agriculture, travel across the country working on small organic farms, and now to RAFI-USA in hopes of sharing what she has learned with others. In her free time, Janie is an aspiring gardener and homesteader.