Organization: Black Farmer Fund (BFF)
Melanie (she/her) is motivated by the dire need to have a more equitable world, and channels this motivation through leading efforts that rebuild institutions and create new means for marginalized communities to have access to finance, power, and decision making in our food system.
She is currently the Program Director for Black Farmer Fund (BFF), a community-led investment fund that facilitates capital, technical assistance, and community network building for Black farmers, land stewards, herbalists and other food actors across the Northeast.
Prior to her work at BFF, Melanie worked on the intersection of climate change, agriculture and human rights with organizations like GIZ, US Forest Service, Conservation International, Amnesty International, Les Jardins Chez Marlene, and Decolonizing Wealth Project. She understands food systems challenges in a global context, supporting agriculture related work in Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Brazil and Ghana. As a 2019 Fulbright Scholar in Benin, she studied traditional knowledge on yam production and how local farming communities were adapting to climate change and using migration as a means to seek more secure livelihoods.
Melanie studied Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Delaware and completed her Masters in Sustainable International Development at Brandeis University. Melanie is a 2015 Robert & Patricia Switzer Fellow, 2018 Kathryn Davis Fellow for Peace and sits on the Advisory Board for the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at UC Santa Cruz and Board of Trustees for the Lawson Valentine Foundation.