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