Farah M Rivera
Founder and President of Serafina Org
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, after a long and successful career in photojournalism and teaching in the island. Rivera taught photography for over ten years; she worked in newspapers and magazines in P.R. and contributed to U.S. and international media like The Dallas Morning News, Time, Business Week, Gamma Liaison Agency, Miami Herald, Yomiuri Shinbun Tokyo and many others. She exhibited her work in Barcelona during the 1992 Olympic Games and in other shows in New York, Austin, Philadelphia, Chicago and Havana. She also prepared a directory of handicapped artists and artisans for Puerto Rico’s Instituto de Cultura and led an artists’ cooperative serving the same population. She served in the boards of the Puerto Rico Photojournalists’ Association, the P.R. Journalits’ Association, the National Hispanic Journalists Association and founder of FotoDivas women photojournalists’ group.
Arriving in Texas in 2008 and settled in Austin, and Living at the Rebekah B Johnson residential tower, she realized how difficult, if not impossible it was, for many of her neighbors to get certain health services and pick up pantry food to supplement their diets.
Rivera was working as part of the residents’ council, a commitment she undertook since she settled at RBJ, when a visiting nurse asked why they didn’t have a pantry at RBJ. After months of meetings with the Capital Area Food Bank, and with the blessing of the RBJ administration, the RBJ HOPE Pantry opened, at first with 47 clients. Nowadays, we have over 160 clients and more come every pantry day, as the need grows greater.
Still part of the RBJ community, Rivera aims to improve the pantry by getting fresher foods. Being a part of the leadership at Festival Beach Community Garden, right next door to the residential building, she requested from the garden to have a plot for growing fresh foods and condiments for the pantry. With the collaboration of the Sustainable Foods Center in 2014 the Serafina plot at FBCG began. Serafina is the non-profit organization created by Rivera to better manage the pantry and plot resources. It’s at present registered with the State Department of Texas and under the umbrella of La Pena Cultural Arts organization, a 501 (c)3 .
At present time, Farah Rivera belongs to The East Cesar Chavez Planning Team, represents the RBJ community at the Holly Shores Master Plan and is the Accessibility leader at Festival Beach community Garden.