Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association




2024 Confirmed TOFGA Speakers and Topics

Name Bio Social Media Handle Email
Alexis Racelis Alex Racelis is Professor, Houston Endowed Chair of Science and Technology,. and UT System and UTRGV Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He directs the Program of Agroecology and Resilient Food Systems, and is Co-Director for the UTRGV Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Advancement. In these roles, he oversees the Hub of Prosperity Farm and the certified Organic UTRGV Agroecology Research and Community Gardens. Alex also holds a federal appointment as Member of the USDA Federal Equity Commission Subcommittee of Agriculture. @utrgvagroecology alexis.racelis@utrgv.edu
Amalia Staggs When a corporate career came to a much-needed close, Amalia took a suggestion to “go outside and get your hands in some dirt” and inadvertently discovered the depth and richness of the Central Texas farming and ranching community as a volunteer farmhand. Amalia is grateful to all the farmers who have shared their experience, knowledge and friendship, and fostered an abiding devotion to regenerative land stewardship and participation in building a more just and equitable local food system. @farmshareatx
Amy Crone Amy Crone is the Project Manager for MarketLink, a national initiative developed in collaboration with USDA to increase acceptance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at farmers markets and by direct marketing farmers. MarketLink, a program of the National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (NAFMNP), is the only app-based means of accepting SNAP available, and since its start in 2013 has enabled sales of more than $104m in SNAP and more than $159m nationwide in total sales by farmers markets and direct marketing farmers. The MarketLink team has also developed technology to enable a shift from paper to electronic FMNPs, electronic incentive programs, and for farmers to accept SNAP Online, all of which have been implemented across the country. @mymarketlink amy.crone@marketlink.org
Andie Marsh Andie is a Soil Health Practitioner and Science Communicator on a mission to help others restore life and functionality to their soil systems. Equipped with her microscope and the power of observation, she assesses soils and compost to inform restoration efforts through her business, Rhizos LLC – a Soil Food Web Certified Lab @soilissexy
Anna Wright Smith Anna is a Farmers Market Specialist at Texas Center for Local Food. She provides direct technical assistance and training to farmers market staff on accepting SNAP and increasing SNAP sales. Before joining TCLF, she worked as an educator, a baker, and a farmers market vendor. Her work at TCLF combines her enthusiasm for vibrant communities, justice and equity, and sustainable, healthy food systems. @texaslocalfood FMSupport@texaslocalfood.org
Annelies Lottmann Annelies Lottmann, Director of the Texas Rural Cooperative Center at UTRGV, is an expert in the co-op model with over a decade of experience supporting community-generated businesses. As a co-founder of Yard to Market Co-op, she knows first-hand the challenges and joys of micro-scale farming and the co-op formation process, and has assisted dozens of cooperatives across Texas as they start, grow, and thrive. Annelies has served on the Boards of Black Star Co-op, Yard to Market Co-op and the Austin Cooperative Business Association, and has led strategic planning and board training sessions for many of the food system nonprofits in Texas. Annelies believes that cooperative business ownership is a key tool in building a stable local food system. When she’s not working with cooperatives, you can find Annelies out in the garden.
April Harrington April Harrington is the owner and operator of Earth Elements Entrepreneurs' Kitchen in Oklahoma City. She shares with us her 20+ years of specializing in local food value-added preservation and processing.
Ashly Tamayo Ashly has been sharing her love of soil, plants, insects and the planet with students of all ages for over 15 years. As an early childhood educator and advocate for outdoor education, she helped develop educational programs at Coastal Roots Farm in Encinitas, CA before relocating to Houston, TX with her family. Ashly initially joined the team at Hope Farms as a garden educator and is now the Director of Education at Recipe for Success Foundation, responsible for facilitating implementation of the organization’s award-winning Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ at Hope Farms as well as in partner schools and organizations across the country. @r4sfoundation @jloca.tamayo #hopefarmshtx @Ashly Gray Tamayo ashly@recipe4success.org
Austin Davenport Austin, from Austin, is a long time gardener, farm nerd, and aspiring agroecologist in the central Texas scene. Through volunteer farming and engaging in outreach he actively pursues ways to improve the local food system with the aim of cultivating community. @ allium.austin (instagram) austinrdavenport@gmail.com
Bob Williams Bob Williams grew up on a subsistence and beef cattle farm in northeast Texas. While in high school he was very active in FFA and worked for local dairy farmers to earn spending money. He attended East Texas State University (now A&M-Commerce) working on the university farm in exchange for room board and tuition. He earned the BS and MS in Agriculture from there and became a high school and community college agriculture teacher. He earned his PhD in Family & Consumer Sciences from Texas Tech University and has been on the faculty at A&M-Commerce since 1999. He is currently the William L. Mayo Professor and coordinates the program in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. He also serves as the faculty advisor for Twin Oaks Farm for Experiential Learning, a university-owned, student-operated farm.
Brian Emadi My name is Brian Emadi and I have been growing/cultivating fruits and vegetables for the past 8 years. I am the sole operator/owner of Little Bexar Farm in China Spring, TX. I currently sell at the Waco farmers market, local restaurants and grocery stores. I am married to lovely wife Kathryn and have three amazing boys(Oliver 4, Miles 2, Elijah 0). Little Bear Farm on instagram, YouTube and Facebook. brianemadi@gmail.com
Bridget Margolis Bridget Margolis is a certified Soil Food Web Lab Technician. She loves composting and exploring the soil with her microscope. Bridget owns Soil Again LLC and does biological assessments in the Austin/Cedar Park and surrounding area. SoilAgainLLC bridgetk.margolis@gmail.com
Carolina Mueller Carolina is a tenacious cook, gardener, weekend rancher, and food systems practitioner. From working in food service, to nonprofits and farms for over a decade, she is passionate about bridging big-picture policy and people’s lived experiences. Caro's full time job is with the National Young Farmers Coalition and she serves as president of the TOFGA board of Directors. n/a carolina@youngfarmers.org
Chisa Brigham Chisa Brigham, a former Educator, transformed into an Urban Farmer with a desire to feed her family fresh clean food. Together with her Veteran Husband, LaTrael Brigham, has expanded their enterprise to cater to the needs of the local community, as many lack access to fresh food. H.A.D. Land Farms offers, organically grown, fresh produce, chicken eggs, and health and wellness products. With a strong investment in her local community Chisa is spearheading a variety of initiatives to educate and empower, beginning urban farmers with the LIFTS project, veterans through the Farmer Veteran Coalition, and youth through the nonprofit Sankofa Way Inc. By fostering a sense of community around agriculture, Chisa is making a significant impact on the local food system. @HADLandFarms, https://www.facebook.com/HADLandFarms?mibextid=AEUHqQ admin@HADLandFarms.com
Chisa Brigham Shared on previous registration https://www.facebook.com/groups/188345033473056/. https://www.facebook.com/waconwiaa nwiaacentraltexas@gmail.com
Christine Martin Christine Martin lives in Leon County, TX where she raises clean and nutrient dense beef, chicken, turkey and eggs to help customers heal their bodies using Holistic Management principles and practices since 2016.
As a Holistic Management International Certified Educator, Christine has coached clients in improving their land, their finances and their quality of life, moving them towards their dream life! Christine was born in Argentina from a ranching family, raised in Brazil and moved to Michigan to earn a B.S. in Business at Eastern Michigan University and M.S. in Agricultural Economics at Michigan State University.
IG: regenranchconsulting, FB: christine.martin.1965 christine@theregenranch.com
Cody Brown Born and raised in the oil fields of west Texas in a small town called Andrews. Received a B.S. in Horticulture Business Management and an M.S. Integrated Agricultural Sciences from Texas State University. Started my own farm business, Growtopia Farms, in 2020 where we grow seasonal vegetables and mushrooms for direct to consumer. I joined NCAT in March of 2023 as the farm planner for Texas and loving every bit of it.
Courtney Slater

David Will David is a 29 year TOFGA member after being recruited by Malcolm Beck. He has B.S. from Texas A&M in Agriculture Education and a M.A. from Sam Houston State in Agriculture. He is a lifelong farmer, rancher, nurseryman and has taught organic agriculture for over 30 years. David now lives in Schulenburg on a 65 acres ranch and teaches at Blinn College and Think Organic Academy.
Deydra Steans Deydra Steans is a single mother and 4th generation cattle rancher from Kingsbury, Tx. She transitioned out of the classroom as an licensed Educator (SpEd, Generalist, Health, Physical Education) in 2018 to manage her family’s ranch and save their legacy (land & assets) from IRS seizure. Deydra works on USDA program support & provides grant implementation strategies with/ for focus-aligned organizations. She is a Growing Equity partner with American Farmland Trust and recognized as Minority Landowner Magazine’s 2023 Farmer of the Year. @bgrtxllc bgrtxllc@gmail.com
Dregory Jones

Garrett Bader Garrett Bader is the Texas Smart Solar specialist at American Farmland Trust. AFT is a national non-profit organization with a core mission to “save the land that sustains us by protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices, and keeping farmers on the land”. Garrett’s job is to highlight and develop resources for landowners debating solar, whether large scale or on-farm. AFT developed Smart Solar principles to guide this development and if adopted, minimize impact on productive farmland while strengthening opportunities for farmers.
Glen Miracle Glen Miracle and Kenan Rote own and operate Laughing Frog Farm in Hempstead, Texas, where they grow vegetables, and raise sheep and chickens. The farm hosts farm to table dinners in the spring and the fall, has farm tours, and hosts gardening, farming and permaculture classes. Glen is selling at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market in Houston most Saturdays..
Greg Joel Farm Manager at Opal's Farm - a five acre urban farm in Fort Worth, Texas founded in February 2019 FB - opals farm IG - @opalsfarm X - @opalsfarm opalsfarm@unityunlimited.org
Hayley Wood Hayley is a Food Safety Project Coordinator with the National Farmers Union and a farmer with Hot Spell Farm, a new collaborative farm in Elgin, TX. Like many first-generation growers, her path in agriculture has meandered: butcher shops, non-profits, goats, and multiple farmhand jobs around Austin. She previously organized under the Central Texas Young Farmers Coalition and is inspired to help growers knowledge-share and uplift one another. @heyhayleywood hwood@nfudc.org
Figbeard grows and advises fruit trees, orchards, farms, homesteads, and agritourism enterprises. With a focus on reliable fruit production, expert selection of fruit varieties, and adaptive growing strategies for Central Texas, Figbeard collaborates with farmers and landowners to build productive perennial fruit systems, and catalyzes grower communities with inspiring lectures and workshops. @Figbeard figbeardfarms@gmail.com
Jeanette Castanon Jeanette received her Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Biology from New Mexico State University, and her Master of Science in Agriculture Science from Texas A&M University Kingsville. She was born and raised in El Paso Texas, she has lived in Las Cruces New Mexico, Midland Texas, and Denver City Texas before settling down in Lubbock Texas.
Her first job out of college was with Texas A & M AgriLife extension as the Horticulture agent who served both Midland and Ector County. She oversaw 84 Master Gardener volunteers and developed many educational programs for the public during her three years in that position. Before coming to SFC she worked in Plains Texas with the USDA Farm Service Agency as a program technician, she greatly enjoyed helping farmers sign up for government assistance for their farming operations.
Now working for SFC she is so grateful to be a part of an organization that supports food access to families with low-income because she relied on government assistance growing up. She feels like it is a full circle moment for her to give back to a cause that is close to her heart.
N/A jcastanon@sustainablefoodcenter.org
Jeff Bednar Profound Microfarms, founded in 2014, is a 2.6 acre farm in Lucas TX where they grow 200+ varieties of leafy greens, edible flowers, culinary herbs, and microgreens in 14,000 sqft of hydroponic greenhouses and permaculture gardens. In 2018 they founded Profound Foods, a distribution hub created to connect farmers and chefs. Profound Kitchen and Event Center was born in 2020 as a result of the Covid19 pandemic, creating value-added goods out of end-of-season produce and products that enhance the at-home cooking experience and offering small producers commercial kitchen space as well as event space to host farm-to-table events, classes, training and private events. www.facebook.com/profoundfoods and www.instagram.com/profoundfoods jeff@profoundfoods.com
Jennifer Harbour Jennifer Harbour is a Texas Master Beekeeper and a Williamson Co Master Gardener. She runs the gardening and beecentric instagram page, WildHoneyGardens. You'll find her in the garden or the hive 365 days a year. wildhoneygardens wjharbour@gmail.com
Jose Aguirre José works as a Program Manager in the Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Advancement at UTRGV. He is also part owner of a mushroom farm that has been a recipient of USDA grants.
Judith McGeary Judith McGeary is an attorney, activist, and regenerative farmer. After earning her B.S. in Biology from Stanford University and her law degree with high honors from the University of Texas at Austin, she clerked for the Federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and went on to private law practice. During that time, she became a passionate advocate of sustainable agriculture, and she and her husband established a small farm, raising grass-fed beef and lamb, along with garden produce and orchard fruits. After seeing how government regulations benefit industrial agriculture at the expense of family farms, in 2006 she founded the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA) to promote common-sense policies for local, diversified agricultural systems, and she continues to serve as its Executive Director.
Katie Lavallee Katie Lavallee is the Education Coordinator for the Texas Center for Local Food, who manages the peer-to-peer learning platform, TXFED.org. April Harrington is the owner and operator of Earth Elements Entrepreneurs' Kitchen in Oklahoma City. She shares with us her 20+ years of specializing in local food value-added processing. @TexasLocalFood Katie@TexasLocalFood.org
Katie Tritsch Katie Tritsch is a Local Food Coordinator with the Texas Center for Local Food, where she delivers programming and provides 1:1 business consultations to help farmers earn a decent living from farming. She also works (very) part-time at Steelbow Farm in Austin. Katie has extensive experience writing grants, and in recent years, project management, evaluation, and farmer education. She has a masters degree in Integrated Agricultural Sciences from Texas State University and spent 5 years managing small, organic vegetable farms in Texas and California. linkedin.com/in/katietritsch/ katiet@texaslocalfood.org
Kay Bell Kay Bell, is the President of the Texas Waco National Women In Agriculture Association. Kay also serves as President of the Texas Landowners Association of Texas. Kay is a farmer, an herbalist, and a theater playwriter. Kay grows herbs and enjoying drinking herbal teas. Waco National Women In Agriculture bellkay9@gmail.com
Kristin Song Kristin Song founded Delve Experiences as a passion project to connect more people with educational experiences on farms. She lives in the DFW area and supports farms with marketing and booking. Kristin comes from farm family and but lives in the city, and her career background is IT project management and training. She started Delve by being a target consumer of farm experiences. Facebook.com/DelveExperiences.DFW, @delveexperiences kristin@delveexperiences.com
Lacey Mount Dr. Lacey Mount is an independent crop consultant with Plant Diagnostic Services, LLC. She does nutrient management planning, integrated pest and disease management, and irrigation scheduling. She has worked with commodity, vegetable and specialty crop growers across the United States. @plantdiagnosis lacey@plantdiagnosticservices.com
Laurie Dixon Laurie is a passionate gardener. Her present passions are designing with native plants, increasing biodiversity, and cultivating healthy soils. She is a Soil Food Web certified Lab Tech, certified Master Gardener and practiced as a landscape designer and consultant.
Matt Batchelder Soil health has been a lifelong fascination, and in 2018 after attending a lecture by Dr David Johnson, NMSU, I built my first Johnson-Su bioreactor. In 2023 we launched Fun-guy Compost Co to commercially produce Johnson-Su compost, a microbial rich, living soil amendment. The primary focus of our business is promoting soil microbiodiversity to improve the quality and nutrient density of local food available to consumers. Also, we are developing a community lab to support local farmers in improving soil health. Funguycompost.com funguycompost@gmail.com
Michelle Akindiya Michelle is the Education Director at Farmshare Austin, a non-profit teaching farm. Since 2017 she has taught Farmer Starter, a 5 month, hands-on beginning farmer training program on a certified organic farm just east of Austin. Check it out at www.farmshareaustin.org. With nearly 20 years of farming experience, Michelle loves talking about soil, bugs and veggies. Her favorite thing about farming is that there is always something new to learn. @farmshareatx michelle@farmshareaustin.org
Robert Maggiani Robert Maggiani used to be an organic vegetable grower in Texas and Mexico. He currently works in San Antonio as a sustainable agricultural specialist with National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). He has given presentations at hundreds of workshops and conferences about production and marketing of agricultural products in Texas, other states and Mexico. He is a member of Texas International Produce Association (TIPA), and is also a board member for the Common Market Texas food hub.
Samantha Gibbs

Stephen Lucke Stephen Lucke, Founder of Gardopia Gardens, is food systems expert and activist focusing on health and environmental justice who educates and empowers communities on how to lead healthy and sustainable lifestyles through urban agriculture. He became aware of San Antonio’s obesity epidemic and climate crises in his college years, sparking his journey to help find a solution to declining planetary and population wellness that disproportionately impacts BIPOC communities. In 2015, Stephen founded Gardopia Gardens to help solve the challenges facing his community by working with educational and community institutions to ensure current and future generations have the knowledge and skills to cultivate a high quality of life for themselves and society, fighting against malnutrition related diseases and environmental degradation. @gardopiagardens @lucke.stephen lucke@gardopiagardens.org
Tarissa Johnson Will sent separate None tarissa.johnson@usda.gov
Timber Darnell Timber Darnell is the Extension Organic Program Coordinator for the Texas Transition to Organic Partnership Program. She helps farmers transition to certified organic farming from start to finish. Timber finds the organic program thrilling because every day is different and there is always something new happening Linkedin Texas TOPP timber.darnell@ag.tamu.edu
Wanda Hernandez Wanda Hernandez has been in the Community Nutrition realm for over a decade now. She has her Bachelor's in Nutrition with a Minor in Psychology. She currently works at SFC as the Central Texas Food Access Coordinator. N/A whernandez@sustainablefoodcenter.org
Yelitza Garcia Yelitza is a Farmers Market Specialist at Texas Center for Local Food. Before joining the team, she was an environmental science educator in a K-12 classroom and a museum educator. She is passionate about fostering local economies, resilient ecological and agricultural ecosystems, and environmental justice.
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