Michelle A. T. Hughes

Michelle A. T. Hughes

Michelle is a former large-scale hog farmer from New Haven, Connecticut, with a background in agriculture policy reform. Before serving as Operations and Impact Director, Michelle served as the steward of our racial equity transformation as Equity and Organizational Change Director. In this position, Michelle conducted a comprehensive racial equity impact assessment of the organization’s internal workflows and external programming, which identified gaps in our programs, policies, systems, structures, and practices. Alongside our Co-Executive Directors, Michelle developed a framework for the work ahead – building a shared understanding, designing with intention, and upholding accountability – which we implemented across the organization, from internal change processes, to farmer and partner engagement on racial equity.

Michelle now works with Young Farmers leadership to develop long-term operations strategy and evaluation plans to successfully continue our anti-racist transformation in alignment with our strategic plan. To learn more about our racial equity transformation, check out the Young Farmers Accountability Report. Michelle has recently extended her work on internal structure reform with USDA in her appointment to the Department’s Equity Commission, Agriculture Subcommittee. Alongside a number of revolutionary leaders in agriculture, Michelle’s work on the Subcommittee will work to address a history of discrimination at USDA by providing recommendations to the Department to better serve young farmers of color today. For more information on the Equity Commission and the intention we’re setting for our involvement, see our blog post “USDA awards a seat at the table to Young Farmers on its newly formed Equity Commission’s Subcommittee on Agriculture.”

Prior to completing her M.A. in Food Studies at New York University in 2019, Michelle worked in swine reproduction at the University of Pennsylvania, with both non-profit and food and agriculture start-ups in NYC and the Hudson Valley, and served on a program evaluation team for the NYC Mayor’s Office of Food Policy.

Join our email list to receive critical actions, resources, and updates.