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).
Jeni Harris, Training Manager
Jeni is a long-time friend of the farm. Originally from Friendswood, TX, Jeni has lived in Waco for 18 years. She has two education degrees from Baylor University and has taught in various schools for the last 14 years. Most recently she has taught developmental courses at McLennan Community College.
Jeni has been married to Michael for 10 years and they have three precious girls: Glory, Marvel, and Truly Jo. While being on a long journey to adopt a daughter, her passion developed towards Orphan Care and advocacy for orphans and children. She also enjoys reading, gardening, cooking and eating dessert.
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
Sarah Abdelmessih, Livestock
Camille Cody, Produce
Geoff Tam, Produce
Yui Iwase, Service Learning Coordinator
Food Systems Interns
School Gardening Coordinators
School Garden Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator
Board of Directors
President: Frank Drew
Vice President: Ivy Hamerly
Secretary: Norma Torres
Jo Anne Beaty
Stephen S. Garner