In 2012, former migrant worker Felix Vargas was awarded a Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) grant to experiment with traditional Mexican crops through season extension technology. 

RAFI’s Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund helps farmers stay on the land, successfully grow their businesses and strengthen rural economies. In exchange, the farmers receiving RAFI grants give back to their farming communities by sharing their project ideas and lessons learned.

According to a recent UNCG study, the impacts of these grants are widespread- each dollar invested by RAFI turns into $204 in the local economy, each grant supporting an average of 4 farm jobs and 220 acres maintained in production, and at least 4 unfunded farms use the lessons learned for each funded project.

The Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund is supported by the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. For more information about the project or to support this work visit

Camera, Sound, and Editing by Elena Rue and Catherine Orr of StoryMineMedia

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