Rafael was born and raised in the South Bronx, New York. He has a deep commitment to education, food justice, and sovereignty. He relocated to Tompkins County in 2012 and established Rocky Acres Community Farm located in the town of Freeville, New York.
He is currently the director of the Youth Farm Project, bringing his experience in farm operations and after school education to facilitate workshops dedicated to food justice and livestock production. In 2015, he piloted Harvest Box Program to increase agency of marginalized residents of Tompkins County in the local food system.