Through our work, SAAFON promotes the links among Black farming, Black culture and Black history

Cynthia Hayes

Co – Founder 1950 – 2016

Always with us

Dr. Owusu Bandele

Co – Founder


Dr. “Baba” Owusu Bandele is Professor Emeritus of the Southern University Ag Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a current SAAFON Board member, and, alongside the late “Ma” Cynthia Hayes, is one of SAAFON’s co-founders. As a Professor at Southern, Baba Owusu conducted organic production workshops throughout the Southeastern U.S., the Caribbean, and Africa. In the 1990s, Baba Owusu and his wife, Efuru, established the Food For Thought Organic Farm, which was the only African American owned certified organic operation in Louisiana at the time. Dr. Bandele has also been a middle and high school teacher in Baltimore City; served on the National Organic Standards Board; founded the 27-year old Black History Quiz Bowl at Southern University; and with colleague Dr. Gail Myers, and many others, has contributed critically to the thought and practice of Black Agrarianism. Dr. Bandele’s years of work, expertise, and dedication were recently recognized in the form of the 2021 George Washington Carver Public Service Hall of Fame Award.

Yvette Browne

Board Chair

US Virgin Islands

Farmer – Sejah Farm / St.Croix Island Food Security Coop

Jesse Buie

Board Vice Chair


Jesse Buie has been farming for 20 years and currently works as President/Farmer of Ole Brook Organics, Inc, out of Brookhaven, MS, which has been certified organic for five years. Mr. Buie is also a member of the National Organic Standards Board.

Ole Brook produces mixed vegetables and melons and has started growing ginger and turmeric to produce a private label organic tea. In addition to farming, Mr. Buie keeps himself busy as the President and CEO of Total Care Solutions, a healthcare management firm; as Owner and Chief Pilot of Airtravel South, Inc., a pilot training, and aircraft rental company; and Co-Owner of Capital City Children’s & Adolescent’s Clinic, which provides health services for ages birth to 21 years. Mr. Buie is a Veteran of the United States Army Medical Service Corps and is a recipient of the Army Achievement Medal for Meritorious Service and the Army Commendation Medal. He holds a BS in Chemistry from Dillard University (New Orleans, LA), and a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Dr. Cindy Ayers Elliot

Board Treasurer


Farmer – Footprint Farms

Terry Hayes