Meet our New Farm Operations Director: Oneas Mufandaedza

Join us in welcoming to the farm, our new Farm Operations Director, Oneas “O.T.” Mufandaedza.

Oneas, settling in to his new office at WHRI

Oneas Tichafa Mufandaedza joins WHRI as Farm Operations Director dragging a pouch containing a very wide variety  of skill sets and experiences, including  agricultural research, teaching, and training, developed in a culturally diverse environments.

Oneas is Zimbabwean by origin. He graduated with a degree in Crop Science at University College of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1971, worked as pasture management research officer ( 1972 – 1980), Research/Experiment Stations Manager (1980-1986),   and as Director of Livestock and Pasture Research Divisional Director (1986-1989). During this period, Oneas  studied and earned a Master of Philosophy degree in Animal Science as a part-time external student of the University of Zimbabwe.

Oneas went on to study for his PhD at North Carolina State University  in 1989, and graduated in 1993 with Crop Science (Forage Management)  and Animal Science as co-majors. He then joined  Africa University (Methodist Church-Related Institution in Zimbabwe) as Senior Lecturer in the faculty of agriculture and served for five years (1992-1997) there before joining Zimbabwe Open University (Distance and Open Learning Institution),  as Senior Lecturer and Leader of  the B. Sc Agriculture Management degree program (1998-2002).

He and his wife Ruth,  who is also a graduate (D. Ed) of North Carolina State University, immigrated to the United States in 2002. They established their home in North Carolina, where they lived until Oneas accepted the Farm Operations position at WHRI.

Ruth has spent many years as English as Second Language (ESL) teacher and program coordinator for refugee/immigrant resettlement organizations in North Carolina. Oneas has put in several hours helping refugees and immigrant communities in North Carolina get seriously involved in agriculture and community food systems development and management, working in collaboration with refugee resettlement organizations. He has worked closely with community colleges, developing materials, and teaching sustainable agriculture and beginning farmer courses. He has also undertaken both volunteer/unpaid and paid consultancies  in community garden development in Africa including  South Sudan, Rwanda and Kenya.

Oneas has 5 children, all adults, now divided between Zimbabwe (3) and USA (2). Oneas and Ruth are blessed with a total of 8 grandchildren.

Meet Our New Volunteer Coordinator: Elizabeth Ross

Welcome to one of our newest Food Systems Interns, Elizabeth Ross! Elizabeth is one of our newest AmeriCorps members, and will serve WHRI in many ways this coming year, including as our Volunteer Coordinator.  She will also spend much of her time working with our afterschool garden clubs. Here is Elizabeth’s introduction:

Elizabeth with Nicaraguan children in Costa Rica

“I graduated from Calvin College in 2009 with a BA in International Development Studies. After a semester studying sustainable development in Thailand, it became clear to me that I had a strong desire to focus my development work on agricultural development. In August of 2009, I moved to La Guacima, Costa Rica to work as a youth leader through PCUSA. While there, I connected with Casa Luz  — a shelter for adolescent mothers and their children. My work in Costa Rica made me realize that I wanted and needed more education in order to continue in the development field.

I moved back to the US in July of 2010 and worked in a French bakery in my hometown of Springfield, IL, while I began researching and applying to various programs. During that year, I attended ECHO’s Introduction to Tropical Agriculture class as well as their Health, Agriculture, Culture, and Community conference, and returned to Costa Rica for two weeks in January to visit the families in La Guacima.
When a former professor of mine recommended World Hunger Relief Inc to me, I began to look into the program and realized it was a perfect fit for what I wanted to do.
I am passionate about social and environmental justice, learning to live simply, and cooking. If you stop by the farm, you’ll most likely find me in the kitchen cooking, baking, or making ice cream with our own Grade A Raw goat’s milk! I’m thrilled to be a part of WHRI and look forward to the year to come.”
If you stop by the farm, be sure to welcome Elizabeth to the farm, and to Texas. Send Elizabeth an email at if you want to come out to the farm to volunteer!

Spirituality & Food Seminar videos

Check out the video from the recent Spirituality & Food Seminar held at University Baptist Church in Austin on April 27.  Matt Hess our Education Director as well as Alumni Bethel Erickson now with the Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition and Jeremy Everett now with the Texas Hunger Initiative presented with the panel.

Watch videos of the presentation here.

Meet our new pecan orchard intern: Jessica Johnson

Jessica Johnson

Jessica Johnson

Welcome to our newest intern Jessica Johnson! Jessica will be working with our pecan orchard. Here’s her introduction:

“I graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2008 with a degree in Agriculture Education. While in college I worked on a large hog operation and two dairy farms. After graduation I worked as an assistant manager of a registered, pure bred Angus cattle farm in Bowling Green, KY where I also helped train quarter horses.

Then I moved to Lincoln County, KY to take a job as a high school Agriculture teacher and FFA Adviser. After a year of teaching I felt God calling me to use my agriculture skills to work with farmers in developing countries, so I applied for an internship at WHRI.

While waiting to see if I would be accepted I took a job on a 5,000 acre corn, soybean and cattle farm. After that I moved back home to work for a local seed and fertilize store while I waited to move to Texas. So now, here I am learning as much as I can at WHRI and eagerly anticipating what God has in store for me next.

In my free time I enjoy horseback riding, running, water skiing, wake boarding and backing. I have three younger brothers one biological, one adopted from the foster care system and one adopted from Guatemala.”

If you see Jessica around, welcome her to Texas and to WHRI!