Matt joined the WHRI staff in January 2006. He is a certified teacher and was a long-time volunteer and friend of the farm. Most recently, Matt worked for an afterschool program at Connally Primary School. Previously, Matt worked for the county Juvenile Justice Alternative Education School, where he taught Waco’s troubled youth and developed a gardening program including vegetables, rabbits, and vermicomposting. During this time he witnessed the amazing way that introducing students to plants and animals can help change their lives. Matt served as our Education Director for 6 years. In 2012, he accepted the position of Associate Director. In 2013, as part of a succession plan, set forth by the Board of Directors, Matt transitioned into the role of Executive Director.
Matt and his wife Sarah have two daughters: Maya (2003) Nora (2006). Sarah is a professional photographer.
Neil Rowe Miller, Intern & International Program Director
Neil has spent half of his career overseas and half in North America. In Haiti, he and his wife, Christy, worked under Mennonite Central Committee in an integrated rural development project. In northern Uganda, they were seconded to the Anglican church to help train clergy and lay leaders.
They also lived in Michigan for ten years where Neil worked as a private consultant for grain farmers. In 2003, Neil and Christy moved to Waco and Neil joined the farm staff as Executive Director. In 2013, Neil transitioned into the newly-created position of Intern & International Program Director.
Christy works as a nurse midwife, and they have two adult children, Emily and Jesse. In addition to farming, Neil enjoys playing music and woodworking.
Kristi Pereira, Education Director
Kristi, originally from Palestine, Texas, has lived in Waco since 2007. She graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University, and has been teaching until just recently. Her most recent experience has been with Rapoport Academy where she taught middle school language arts, art, and journalism.
Kristi and her husband Hermann have two children, Hudson (2008) and Ruby (2011). Hermann is a local Spanish teacher at Connally High School.
Kristi enjoys reading, knitting, tending to her tiny garden and backyard chickens, as well as spending quality time with friends and family.
Randall Fish, Farm Operations Director
Randy was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a child of MAF missionaries. After moving to the United States in 1993, he attended Simpson University in Redding, California where he received a BA in Cross-Cultural Missions. After short-term mission work in Botswana, he enlisted in the US Army in 1998 and served as a linguist and intelligence officer for eight years. In 2006, Randy left the Army to study sustainable agriculture. Soon after, he spent a year and a half studying tropical agriculture and appropriate technology at Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO) in Fort Myers, Florida. Following the internship at ECHO, he earned an MA in Appalachian Studies and Sustainable Development from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.
Randy has been married to his wife Amy since 1996, and they have two sons, Jonathan (1999) and Nathaniel (2001).
Kelly Lawson, Training Manager
Kelly joined the WHRI Staff in 2010, having moved to Waco from Wilmore, KY, where she attended Asbury Theological Seminary, and received her Master of Divinity degree. Most recently, Kelly worked in the local church as a Children’s Pastor, but has also worked in fundraising and event-planning. Kelly is a native Texan, having grown up in Tyler.
Kelly has been married to Billy since 2004. Billy works at a dental lab in Waco. Kelly and Billy have two very full-of-life daughters named Eisley, who was born in 2008, and Jublilee, who was born in 2012. In her free time, Kelly enjoys cooking, spending time with her extended family, and watching Dallas Mavericks basketball.
Neal Curran, Farm Operations Assistant
Neal joined the WHRI Staff in January 2012. Neal is originally from California, where he graduated from Azusa Pacific University with degrees in Theology and Business Administration. Neal has spent time working for Heifer International at their learning facility in central Arkansas.
In 2009, Neal joined WHRI as our Pecan Orchard intern. Upon completion of the internship program, he and his now wife, Marie, returned to California to get married and start their own farm. Two years later, Neal and Marie returned to Texas, where Neal rejoined the WHRI team. Marie works for Talitha Koum, a therapeutic nursery center in Waco. Neal’s interests include small-scale agriculture projects, music, planning parties, cycling, and disc sports.
Rebecca Mann, Office Manager
Rebecca is longtime friend of the farm. Her first exposure to WHRI was through a Baylor class about World Food Problems. She majored in International Studies at Baylor because she has always been interested in economic development.
She has been married for seven years to her husband Chris. The Manns lived in Waco for 4 years after graduating from Baylor, and worked at Talitha Koum Institute together. After that, she went to Sticker Universe, a local business, and worked as Office Manager there for one year before they moved to Houston. In Houston, Rebecca worked as a nanny. The Manns strongly believe that their time in Houston was carved out for them to rest and rejuvenate. In January of 2012 they felt led to move back to Waco. They came in search of like-minded community and hope to stay here for a long time to come.
Sara Sytsma, Livestock
Ben Carroll, Livestock
Camille Cody, Produce
Job Carpenter, Produce
Elizabeth Ross, Volunteer Coordinator and Local Education Coordinator email@example.com
Food Systems Interns
Kathleen Lokey, School Garden Coordinator (AmeriCorps Member through Communities in Schools-HOT)
Adrienne Griggs, School Garden Coordinator (AmeriCorps Member through Communities in Schools-HOT)
Allyson Polman, School Garden Coordinator
Board of Directors
President: Shawn Cardwell
Vice President: Stephen S. Garner
Secretary: Norma Torres
Treasurer: Annette Bigham