2017 TOFGA Board of Directors
Emily Erickson, President
In addition to serving as President of TOFGA, Emily is co-chair of the Austin Community College Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurial Program's Industry Advisory Committee. Her previous work experience includes community relations, sales, and management at Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill & World’s Best Eggs; event planning and advocacy work with the Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance; development and PR at the SIMS Foundation, and international education. After graduating from the University of Virginia, Emily traveled domestically and internationally for fun and for work. Her heart never left Texas though, and she delights in working with farm and food enthusiasts across the state through her work and volunteer positions.
Patrick Lillard, Vice President
Patrick is the Farm Operations Director of World Hunger Relief in Waco, TX. Patrick grew up in Central Texas, and after finishing a B.A. in English from Texas A&M, he spent a few years traveling and working on farms in Massachusetts, Australia and New Zealand. He returned to Texas A&M to pursue his M.S. in Horticulture and a Ph.D. in International Agricultural Development. After graduate school Patrick worked at Purdue University on an international project studying organic weed management. He is currently a member of Southern SARE’s administrative council.
James Buratti, Secretary
James is a 5th generation Texan and and he an his wife connect with the land on their family farm in Granger, Texas. They raise grass-fed dorper and registered miniature cheviot sheep at Bohemian Bounty. James is a techie 8-5, but has been involved in the local and organic food movement since moving back to Texas in 2001. James holds a BS and MS degree in natural resources management. In 2016 he co-authored a chapter on local food in Urban Horticulture, a college text book. He is currently working towards a PhD in Geography at Texas State University, with research on the local and organic food networks.
Robert Maggiani, Regional Director At-Large
Robert is a Sustainable Agriculture Specialist for NCAT, based in San Antonio. Prior to joining the NCAT Southwest Regional Office in 2012, Robert was an organic vegetable farmer in South Texas and Mexico in the 1970’s and 1980’s and began working for the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) as a Direct Marketing Specialist in 1985. He was the first staff person in the TDA Marketing Division to be assigned to the effort to start an organic certification program in 1987, and in 1989 Texas became only the second state in the country (after California) to have its own organic certification program. In 1991 Robert became Chief of Marketing in the San Antonio Regional Office, supervising four marketing specialists. He served in that position for the next 20 years, developing extensive contacts throughout Texas with producers, retailers, wholesalers, restaurants, and specialty crop trade associations. Robert has authored or co-authored several NCAT publications, including Drought and Disaster Resources for Texas Producers and Organic Specialty Crop Production in Texas: A Grower’s Handbook. He was also co-author of the Feasibility Study for a Texas Organic Food Hub.
Evan Driscoll, New Farmer Statewide Director
Evan is the Farmers’ Market Coordinator at Sustainable Food Center where he manages the SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown and at the Triangle. He farmed for six year before joining SFC in 2014, serving as a Farm Manager at Green Gate Farms in Austin, TX. Before this, he owned his own small farm – Sasquatch Acre – in Portland, OR. Evan co-founded the Texas Young Farmer Coalition, which helps connect farmers from around the state. And, he serves as the At-Large New and Beginning Farmer Board Position for the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. He, his wife, and two kids live in Austin.
James Fairchild, Region 1 Director
James grew up in Houston, Texas. He attended Baylor University and graduated in 2009 with a B.A. in Speech Communication. He began his agricultural career coordinating recreational horse activities at a local children’s home, where he saw the beneficial effects youth experienced working with animals. James went to graduate school at Texas A&M University studying Agricultural (youth) Development. He graduated in 2013 with M. Ag in Agricultural Development. James was an ag teacher at a residential children’s home for 2½ years before taking his current position as Farm Manager at World Hunger Relief in Waco, Texas.
Leah Gibson, Region 2 Director
Leah has been involved in the local food movement for over a decade, starting with a community garden plot and evolving to the 10 acre holistic farm that she and her husband own and operate today. Leah is passionate about using grazing to build soil and plant health, create organic matter, and store rainwater. She has studied Holistic Management, and attended restorative agriculture workshops with experts like Mark Shepard and Darren Dougherty. Leah and her husband use intensive rotational grazing with pigs and poultry to restore their plot of land back to a productive pasture. She loves working with pigs and educating consumers about the benefits of pasture-raised meats. She recently co-founded the Central Texas Meat Collective, with friend Julia Poplawsky, to offer a variety of whole animal butchery and cooking classes to the Central Texas community. As a TOFGA regional director, Leah strives to bring farmers together to network, learn, discuss entry barriers, and use combined experience and brainpower to work together.
Marie Tedei, Region 4 Director
Marie is founder/owner/farmer of Eden’s Organic Garden Center and Eden’s Garden CSA Farm and Regional 4 Director of TOFGA. From her shop, urban farm, and mini-organic farmer’s market, in southeast Dallas County’s food desert, Marie strives to help feed her community’s minds and mouths with organic information, products and food. Learn more at www.edensorganicgardencenter.com 214-348-3336.
Leslie Marchand, Region 5 Director
Leslie is the Director for TOFGA Region 5, which includes Greater Houston and Southeast Texas. She and her husband Michael own Whitehurst Heritage Farms, where they raise pastured poultry and forested pork. They enjoy providing fresh meat and eggs to individuals and local farm to table restaurants.
Dan Wickware, Region 6 Director
Dan didn’t grown up on a farm or have a garden growing up, but when he got out of the Marine Corps, he had a family to feed so he began to garden in his backyard. The backyard gardening continued until he retired from 35 years of teaching. With very little to do, he decided to garden on a bigger scale (farming) with the intent of selling at the local farmers market in Longview, TX. Over the last five years with Wick’s Locally Grown he has tried growing everything but has now decided to grow only peas, beans, and tomatoes. Dan believes that small, diverse, family-owned farms contribute to society’s overall health.
Former TOFGA Board Members
(If you know of others, please send us an email and we'll update the list! Thanks!)