2021 TOFGA Board of Directors
Patience Blythe, President
Patience Blythe and her husband, Cody Creech, own a farm in Elgin, TX. They farm medicinal herbs, flowers and organic chickens. When not farming, Patience teaches Career & Technical Education classes at Elgin Middle School and fabricates custom jewelry in silver and gold. Originally from an island in Maine, Patience appreciates the importance of access to organic food for all people and of organic farming's role in maintaining the health of the environment.
James Fairchild, Vice President
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, Farm Manager at World Hunger Relief in Waco, Texas and is currently a part representative at United Ag and Turf. In his free time he enjoys gardening, bee-keeping, and caring for his chickens.
Leslie Provence, Secretary
Leslie, a retired data analyst, is VP/Treasurer of the Food Policy Council of San Antonio, and was a founding member of that organization in 2010. She has been a TOFGA member since 2008. In San Antonio, she led zoning code changes in 2015 and 2020 for FPCSA, to allow urban farms and the home sales of cottage foods and produce from residential market gardens, and to streamline the process for starting an urban farm. She also led changes to the local livestock code to increase the number of chickens allowed from three to eight, and she organizes an annual coop tour as an educational and community-building event. Leslie earned the Master of Public Administration degree from UTSA in 2007, with a thesis titled “Community Gardening on Public Housing Properties: Where, Who, How, Why and Why Not?” She remains active in community food policy work at the local, state, and national levels. As a gardener, she has the most luck with herbs, greens, and native pollinator plants, including propagation of native milkweed in her backyard greenhouse.
Carolina Mueller, Treasurer
Carolina is a food systems practitioner, part-time farmer and full-time graduate student in her last semester at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. She also is currently the volunteer president of the Central Texas YoungFarmers Coalition. Over the past decade, Carolina has worked in a number of positions all along the food chain. Her work in food spans from the big-picture national policies down to the personal experiences of individuals and communities. Carolina is excited about the opportunity to serve on the board of TOFGA to support producers all over Texas.
Colin Mitchell, Regional Director Statewide At-large:
Colin has a bachelor's in Government and a minor in Geography and the Environment from the University of Texas in Austin. He is a former Permaculture Research Institute of Australia Project Management Intern, and a PRI certified Permaculture Designer. Colin spent the years after his internship working on and managing sustainable agriculture and development projects across central Texas and the U.S. As a Sustainable Agriculture Specialist for the National Center for Technology (NCAT) Colin works on projects related to soil health, payments for ecosystem services, local food, regenerative ranching and farming, and much more.
Diana Padilla-Garcia, New and Beginning Farmer Statewide Director
Diana is one of the small minority farmers trying to solve problems and create opportunities on their 35 acres farm in Harlingen, Texas. She is co-founder of Yahwey's All Natural Farm & Garden, a certified organic farm. Diana and her husband, Saul, have been operating their farm for approximately 10 years. Saul and Diana Padilla have a diversified urban farming business and have grown their farm from the bottom up using organic practices since 2004. In 2014, they became a certified organic farm. Their main crops are vegetables and subtropical fruits.
Aime Sommerfeld Lillard, Region 1 Director
Aime Sommerfeld Lillard grew up surrounded by small scale family farming and pursued degrees in agriculture from Texas A&M University. She has had a variety of experiences working with Heart of Texas Urban Gardening Coalition, World Hunger Relief, Grow North Texas, and multiple school gardens. Although she lives in College Station, her current work is with Waco Family Medicine in Waco, Tx creating and sustaining a Community Gathering Space that focuses on community growth through gardening, health and education. As a long time TOFGA member, home gardener, and advocate of sustainable farming Aime loves connecting the dots and increasing her knowledge base to help others whenever possible.
Robert Maggiani, Region 2 Director
Bio Coming soon
Lacey Proffitt, Region 3 Director
Lacey Proffitt is the Director of Agriculture at Pioneer Farms, a living history museum in northeast Austin, in which she is responsible for land management for agricultural purposes and maintenance and expansion of the agricultural "living exhibits" of homestead gardens, fields, and livestock in keeping with the 1800s theme of the farm. In addition to her work at Pioneer Farms she keeps a home garden and raises chickens and ducks.
Susie Marshall, Region 4 Director
Susie Marshall is founder and Executive Director of GROW North Texas, a Dallas-based nonprofit that cultivates healthy food communities by strengthening local food production and improving access to fresh, nutritious food. She has 17 years of experience working with food systems, food producers, and food assistance programs distributing surplus fruits and vegetables. Susie is a past president of Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and has been involved since 2010. Susie has degrees from Texas Wesleyan University, Texas A&M – Commerce, and Perkins School of Theology at SMU.
Glen Miracle, Region 5 Director
Glen Miracle grew up in Kentucky with a gardening mother and farming grandparents. After college, studying theatrical set design he moved to Houston, primarily due to the success of the Houston Grand Opera. During the years as a designer and artist he used a small (I mean tiny) front yard garden as a place to take a break. During slow times he would plant the garden and hope it would find some way of surviving when the 16 hour days at the job returned. In 2001 he and his wife Kenan decided to move and create a farm 45 miles northwest of Houston in Hempstead, where he would continue to do art projects part time, but could find time to plant a large garden. They named it Laughing Frog Farm in honor of the thousands of tree frogs on the pond. That grew into an obsession that since 2009 has been a full time job where Laughing Frog Farm grows about two acres of vegetables, runs a small flock of sheep and raises both meat and egg laying chickens. Almost very Saturday (50 weeks last year) he was at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market in Houston selling meat and produce. Glen studied permaculture and uses those principles as guidelines for production and land development. The farm hosts farm to table dinners in the spring and the fall, has farm tours and teaches gardening/farming classes. His first TOFGA conference was 2010.
Theron Beaudreau, Region 6 Director
Regenerative farming educator, consultant and practitioner. Theron has two decades of experience in nearly every layer of the food system supply chain. Currently managing the production and operational scaling of a pastured beef, pork, and chicken producer in north east Louisiana, Theron also maintains a family homestead in the Pineywoods of Deep East Texas.
Sebastian Interlandi, Region 7 Director
Bio Coming Soon
Katie Taylor, Region 9 Director
Katie Taylor is a founding partner of Grateful Farmers, a growing initiative focused on regenerative organic agriculture and equitable food systems. Katie recently transplanted to far west Texas with her partner, Kyle LaFerriere, to collaborate on a community revitalization project in Valentine. A native to eastern PA, Katie shares her time between states to focus on farming, education, and non-profit initiatives and is a volunteer BOD secretary at Friends of Johnston, Inc. and the new region 9 director at TOFGA. She is also a writer, herbalist, environmental educator, and advocate for monarch butterfly and pollinator conservation.
Former TOFGA Board Members
(If you know of others, please send us an email and we'll update the list! Thanks!)