Meet Our Team

Staff & Board

Erin Maidlow

Executive Director

Erin MaidlowErin Maidlow graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Natural Resources and a minor in Geology, where she focused on sustainable agriculture and soils. As an internship project, she worked with a community garden at the Boys & Girls Club in Muncie, Indiana. There, she taught youth about soil, growing food, and provided them with produce baskets to take home to their families. That project was what sparked a passion for school garden work and providing hands-on education to youth. In 2013, Erin accepted an AmeriCorps volunteer position as the “Think Local Horticulturalist” at Phoenix Charter School in Roseburg, which is what brought her to the Umpqua Valley. It was through that position that she began working with farmers throughout the region and grew produce for the school meal program and farmers’ market. In March of 2020, the opportunity arose to take on a role at Thriving Waters and continue its mission in a new direction by incorporating gardening. This has blossomed into Umpqua Valley Farm to School, where Erin is proud to support her community. She is also the Farm to School and School Garden Procurement and Education Coordinator for Douglas County.

Erin is a busy mama to three children who are often seen at gardens and farms with her, as she sees the importance of teaching them where their food comes from and to play in the dirt. They share a love of gardening, even if that may just be digging and throwing soil at each other. She also loves hiking, swimming, paddling, and exploring hidden gems of the Umpqua Valley and beyond.

Bobbi Wilson

Education Coordinator

Bobbi Wilson is the Education Coordinator at Umpqua Valley Farm to School. She has experience across various sectors of the food system, including farm policy, hunger relief, farmers’ markets, food waste reduction, and organic vegetable production. Prior to joining UVF2S, Bobbi worked at Rogue Farm Corps where she coordinated a hands-on training program for beginning farmers. In 2022 she started Uphill Farm with her mom and sister, where they grow a variety of fresh vegetables using regenerative, no-till, and dry-farming practices. She is passionate about teaching young people about healthy food and farming, including four nieces and nephews who live on the farm.

Louisa D’Amico Erlandson

AmeriCorps Farm to School Coordinator

Louisa D’Amico Erlandson is serving as a member for United Communities AmeriCorps in Roseburg, OR. Her position with Umpqua Valley Farm to School as the Farm to School Coordinator will be working with several schools throughout Douglas County, teaching school garden curriculum as well as assisting in creating on-farm experiences. 

Originally from New Jersey, she moved to the west coast after graduating from the University of Vermont in 2021 with a degree in Biology. She accepted her first AmeriCorps position at a local Food Bank in Vancouver, WA teaching adult gardening classes. With many years of teaching elementary school during the summers in college, she found herself gravitating back to teaching younger students. She is excited to be a part of an organization teaching youth the joy and power of interacting with where our food comes from and having fun outside.

Katie Halmekangas

AmeriCorps Farm to School Coordinator

Katie is from Phoenix, Arizona and attended school at Arizona State University. She graduated
in the spring of 2022 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Sustainability with a certificate of
Sustainable Food Systems. Eager to get her hands in the dirt and get out of the desert, she took
the opportunity to work with the Umpqua Valley Farm to School program as a Farm to School Coordinator.
When not in the garden, Katie enjoys laying in the grass, ceramics, listening to music, dancing, and occasionally reading. She has a passion for enriching the environment and the people who are connected with it.

Lucy Valadez

Board President

My name is Lucy Valadez and along with my husband and 5 children, I own Valadez Organic Produce. We have been Certified Organic for 6 years now and feel strongly about producing the healthiest produce possible. We have been doing farmers markets and wholesaling for just as long. I won’t say that I have been farming my whole life, farming was never something I was remotely interested in until I met my husband 10 yrs ago.  Now, it’s our way of life. We love being able to provide local, organic produce to our community. We learn new things everyday and watching my kids grow up teaching their peers about what it takes to make our food grow is the icing on the cake. 

Sarah Cline Pytalski

Board Treasurer

Sarah Cline PytalskiSarah Cline Pytalski has more than a decade of experience in rural community advocacy with a strong background in research and writing, project management, evaluation and strategic communications. She works at Burness, where she supports the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and its rural, data, and community power-building initiatives. Sarah previously served as Policy Research & Evaluation Manager at the National Congress of American Indians and as Policy Program Manager for Rural Dynamics, Inc. She has a Master of Public Policy from Oregon State University.

Sam Brown

Board Secretary

Sam Brown works for Crane Creek Ranch as a Sheep Rancher and Sales Manager.
Sam grew up on the  ranch she now has the blessing to work for. Sam is passionate about sheep husbandry and land management and feels  lucky to have her dad as her mentor. She is fortunate to bring her children with her to work where they get to experience all aspects of animal husbandry. While sometimes this work can be hard, it is often immensely wondrous. She is excited to be a part of Farm to School and to connect kids to where their food comes from. Sam’s hope is for younger generations to learn about how their food is raised, and hopefully instill an interest in becoming farmers.

Kate Comiskey

Board Member at Large

Kate Comimage of woman with brown hair, smilingiskey is a Senior Immigration Specialist at Oregon State University. She has a daughter in the Roseburg school system, and lives on a farm in Douglas County. She grew up in the woods and farmlands of Oregon and feels strongly about the importance of the connection between our children and the natural environment and farms around them.

Meghan Pirtle

Board Member at Large

Meghan Pirtle is the Principal of Winchester Elementary School in Roseburg, Oregon. She has served in this role since the beginning of the 2022 school year. Prior to her role as Principal, Meghan was the Title 1 Specialist, Summer Learning Administrator, and a Classroom Teacher. She has a small farm located in Roseburg and is raising two intelligent and energetic daughters alongside her husband. Meghan brings to the board experience working with youth in Title 1 schools as well as the ability to work across many different committees and advisory boards.