2018 TOFGA Board of Directors
Andrew Smiley, President (2018-19)
Andrew has 25 years of experience working in sustainable agriculture and food systems. Earliest professional efforts focused on organic agriculture advocacy in Louisiana. Later, as Executive Director of the Baton Rouge Economic and Agricultural Development Alliance, he provided administrative oversight as well as program planning and operations for the organization. Andrew went on to manage electronic communications and a marketing training program for farmers for the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group. With the completion of that project, Andrew relocated to Austin, TX and worked with Sustainable Food Center starting in 2005, initially as Farm Direct Projects Director, and ultimately as Deputy Director of SFC through 2017, providing guidance, oversight and support for the organization’s programming and policy advocacy work. Andrew is a longtime member of Texas Organic Farmers’ and Gardeners Association and has collaborated with TOFGA on many projects over years, most recently serving as manager of the TOFGA Farm Aid Disaster Relief fund following Hurricane Harvey. Andrew is currently volunteering with the 2018 Kim Olson Campaign for Texas Agriculture Commissioner as policy director, and continues to dedicate his experience as a researcher, writer, presenter, program manager and organizational leader to support advocacy and programming work that builds a more sustainable and equitable food system as a collaborator with organizations throughout the country.
Emily Erickson, Active Past President (2016-2018)
Emily served as TOFGA President from 2016-2018. She is co-chair of the Austin Community College Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurial Program Advisory Committee. Her previous 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 (2017-18)
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 (2018-19, 2016-17)
James and his wife Jennifer (also a former TOFGA Board member) connect with the land on their 5th genration family farm in Granger, Texas. They raise grass-fed dorper sheep, registered miniature cheviot sheep, and registered miniature donkeys 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 textbook. He is currently working towards a PhD in Geography at Texas State University, with research on the local and organic food networks, sustainable agriculture, and the role of Texas hard cider producers and neolocalism. James lives in beautiful Georgetown, Texas with Jennifer, their two girls and two cats.
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.
Treasurer: Open Seat
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.
Patience Blythe, Region 2 Director (2018-19)
Marie Tedei, Region 4 Director
I am a small-scale homestead farmer who just bought my first property in Elgin with my partner, Cody Creech. Together we plan to farm subsistence crops, medicinal and culinary herbs and organic chickens. We live in a house from the 1930s on about 5 acres just outside downtown Elgin with our 13 year old. I have been an science-art teacher for 13 years. I am also a jeweler who works in silver and gold. Hailing from Maine, I am an advocate for organics and for gardening in general. I have been deeply passionate about access to healthy, organic foods since taking a college job at Whole Foods Market in 2000, and realizing that our schools do not serve healthy, fresh foods since 2006. I have started school gardens and worked with Urban Roots and 4H. I believe that organic agriculture is the key to a sustainable future for all of us in Texas and beyond. I look forward to serving the TOFGA members of Region 2 in whatever way they wish to steer our focus. I am open and honest, and try to be the best listener I can be. I look forward to meeting all of you and being your smiling face in our statewide organization. Please feel free to contact me with questions and comments!
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.
Rene McCracken, Region 6 Director (2018-19)
Bio Coming Soon
Aislynn Campbell, Region 7 Director (2018-19)
Bio Coming Soon
Former TOFGA Board Members
(If you know of others, please send us an email and we'll update the list! Thanks!)