Our Team

We are farmers, foodies, chefs, and dietitians from across the state of Michigan dedicated to growing a robust, resilient and fair food system.

Tricia Phelps

Chief Executive Officer

She is a driven leader and manager with nearly a decade of experience in local food systems. Tricia is deeply involved in the agricultural community in Traverse City where she currently lives, and throughout the entire state of Michigan. 

In her 6 years with TLD, Tricia has developed a 5-county program into a widely recognized, statewide local food brand and consumer education marketing campaign. Taste the Local Difference and its staff are experts in local food systems, creating brand loyalty and engaging content, as well as increasing sales and developing new market connections. 

Tricia excels in business development, networking, creative direction, writing, problem solving and team management. This skill set gives her the perfect foundation to support TLD’s growing farm and food business community statewide, and represent Michigan’s local food system on a national scale. 

In addition to her role at TLD, Tricia is the Chair of the Advisory Board for the Sara Hardy Farmers Market, serves on the Executive Board of Bay Area Recycling for Charities (BARC), and is an active member of the leadership team for the Northwest Michigan Food and Farming Network

Kelly Wilson, RDN

Director of Community Partners

A Registered Dietitian by training, Kelly is passionate about food’s ability to nourish, foster connection, tell stories and influence planetary and personal health. After working in institutional food service management, fitness, and private practice, Kelly turned to food systems work to address the systemic issues that keep people hungry and unwell. She studied organic farming through the MSU Student Organic Farm’s Organic Farmer Training Program and started her own farm in 2016. In 2017, Kelly joined the team at TLD as the Southeast Michigan Local Food Coordinator and moved into a role as the Director of Community Partners in 2018. In her current role, Kelly builds relationships with regional and statewide organizations, connects local food businesses to TLD services and outside resources, and manages the implementation of a community health and wellness grant. Kelly enjoys meeting and learning from new people, facilitating connections across sectors, and collaborating to support local food businesses and provide consumers with tools to engage in the local food system. 

Outside of work, Kelly can be found running, cooking, spending time in the garden, or relaxing with her dog, Bear.

Emma Beauchamp

Editor in Chief

Emma has a little bit of experience in many fields, Between Traverse City, MI and Ann Arbor, MI, she has worked on organic farms, in hot restaurant kitchens, overstocked retail shops, and foreign language libraries. One summer, she even worked in Juneau, Alaska, where she spent the summer on the cruise ship docks as a whale watching tour representative

As communications manager, she organizes our 3 monthly newsletters, the TLD blog, and all social media channels. 

Emma is a Traverse City native and a graduate of the Residential College at the University of Michigan. She holds a degree in Cognitive Science with a focus on language and cognition, with a minor in French Language and Literature. When Emma isn’t in the office, she enjoys going on adventures outside and trying new recipes with the delicious produce from her CSA.

Christina Marbury

Marketing Director

Christina’s life seems to have been slowly guiding her towards working full time with Taste the Local Difference. 

She fell in love with local food while attending University of Michigan, which led to her becoming assistant manager at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. From there, she managed two additional farmer’s markets, worked on organic farms and in restaurants, food trucks, a bakery and value-added retail. She also spent time organizing school fundraisers selling healthy, locally sourced food, writing content for a local food distributor and managing social media for a small food business. 

Just prior to starting with TLD, Christina spent four years working in SEO and Content Marketing with a digital marketing agency. She couldn’t be more excited to bring all the knowledge she gained over those years back to Michigan’s local food system. 

When Christina isn’t working, you can find her in her garden, boiling maple syrup, baking up a storm and soaking in the incredible landscapes near her home in Leelanau County. 

Jackie Senske

Sales Manager

Jackie grew up eating fresh produce straight out of the ground and off the trees of her grandparents’ hobby orchard and farm in southeast Michigan. After graduating from Michigan State University’s Eli Broad School of Business, Jackie’s travels led her to a 15-year stay in Lake Tahoe, California. Her professional time in Tahoe was spent selling real estate and growing real estate offices in the North Lake Tahoe region. 

Upon her return to Michigan, Jackie landed up north, where she had spent so much time while growing up.  Advocating for and promoting access to fresh, healthy food across Michigan while supporting local economic growth is what drew Jackie to TLD. In her current role, Jackie manages our growing team of account managers dedicated to serving our farms, farmers markets, and local food business partners in 8 regions across  Michigan.

At the end of the day, you can find Jackie canoeing, running, biking, hiking, skiing… in some way enjoying the northern Michigan outdoors.

From Our Partners

Alex Palzewicz

Upper Peninsula Local Food Coordinator

Alex grew up in the beautiful Upper Peninsula, raised around agriculture and community service, participating in 4-H Livestock projects and FFA public speaking competitions in her youth. She has a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management from Northern Michigan University and has over 13 years of restaurant and event experience under her belt. She has worked every position from serving and bartending, to working the line and catering events. With the help of many others, she leads the MQT Local Food Fest, which allows her a platform to stress the importance of respecting and valuing those who work in the food industry.

Alex’s work is driven by her passion for food, and she is constantly striving to help create a better food system, which impact so many aspects of our lives. She believes food and our relationship to it is vital and spiritual, always stressing foods ability to help us better understand the world around us.

Alex has been the Local Food Coordinator for the Upper Peninsula for over two years, spending her time building excitement around local food systems as well as creating connections amongst buyers and sellers. She also doubles as the Market Manager for the Upper Peninsula Food Exchange, working to aggregate local food sales online to build longlisting and thoughtful local relationships.

When she’s not diving deep into local food, you can find her working part time at Barrel + Beam Brewery in Marquette or selling noodles she makes under the Michigan Cottage Food Law using UP grown flour. 

Claire Butler

Communications Coordinator

Claire hails from Northwest Michigan in Antrim County, and loves living among the cherry and apple trees. 

Claire has recently graduated from the Great Lakes Culinary Institute, with an Associate’s degree in Culinary Sales and Marketing. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature and Hospitality and Tourism Management from Grand Valley State University. Claire has a varied professional past in education, bartending, events, and even with auctions and estate liquidation and an internship selling tickets at Walt Disney World, and is excited to find a professional ‘home’ in local food. 

Claire is passionate about community, and the spirit of food that brings togetherness. When not at work, Claire enjoys big cooking projects (especially farm-to-fire cooking), adding to her collection of cookbooks and vintage clothes, and singing loudly off-key to Margo Price and Dolly Parton.

Elizabeth Pearce

Operations Assistant

Elizabeth grew up with a strong sense of what eating local means from her mom, who taught her how to seek out and support local farms, stores, and food. Her undergraduate degree is from the University of Michigan in Evolutionary Ecology, and she is interested in all levels of the local food system, from growing the food itself to getting it out into the world and into the hands of consumers. Elizabeth is an avid cook, and now has her own garden and loves her weekly CSA, which she uses to experiment in the kitchen with new ways to prepare seasonal foods.

Elizabeth lives in Ann Arbor with her partner Brian. Along with her work for TLD, she is a full-time public services librarian at the Ann Arbor District Library, and enjoys distance running, reading, and traveling around our beautiful state of Michigan!

Paul Green

Local Food Retail Specialist

Paul has always been on the hunt for delicious snacks. He grew up in Metro Detroit, shopping at the farmers market and helping his mother weed, rake, and eat from her many garden beds. He always preferred to spend his time outside running around the neighborhood with friends and eventually falling in love with the sprawling forests and the Great Lakes while attending and working at summer camp.

After graduating from Northern Michigan University with a degree in secondary education, he taught for a few years but eventually found himself back at camp leading outdoor education programs. He transitioned to retail management where he began to understand his passion for connecting with people over shared experience in the natural world. After 2 years in Oregon, Paul and his partner returned to Michigan. He finally followed his stomach which led him to Taste the Local Difference. 

Since beginning with TLD in December 2020, Paul has been focusing on building and strengthening connections in Detroit (where he lives) and the surrounding area. He is especially committed to working with the strong urban farming community to improve Detroiters’ access to fresh locally grown produce. Paul also coordinates with the Fair Food Network to strengthen local produce sourcing with Double Up Food Bucks participant retailers.

When he isn’t learning and weaving his way through the Detroit food ecosystem, you can find Paul cooking, baking, eating, riding his bike, camping, or waving to your dog.

Emily Row

Content Creator

Emily grew up on the westside of Michigan where she took bike rides at dusk to Big Red, ran down Lake Michigan’s steep sandy dunes, and picked twenty pies worth of blueberries with her family each summer.  

A love for nature, food, the earth and its people, has remained a constant thread throughout her time as a Michigan State University student, a Rocky Mountain trail guide, barn dweller at an educational farm in Texas, and a grower of school lunches with students in Virginia.  When Emily and her husband decided to relocate north, she connected with the folks at TLD and resonated with their commitment to community building, food system diversity, and education. She is thrilled to be a part of a team that strives for authenticity in relationships and business.

Emily lives in Metro Detroit working for TLD part time supporting partners with technical assistance and spends the rest of her day freelance illustrating and caring for her daughter, Frances.

Kim True

Southwest Local Food Coordinator

Kim grew up eating tomatoes fresh from the vine of her father’s garden in east central Indiana, with a notebook in one hand and a paintbrush in the other. She learned the joy of cooking at a young age while watching her mother prepare spreads for family gatherings and, of course, football Sundays. Her passion for entertaining and filling the bellies of her friends led her to Ball State University where she double majored in Hospitality and Communication Studies.

After years in the restaurant and event industry, Kim has developed connections across Southwest Michigan and with that, a deeper respect for the importance of our local food systems – from the folks who tend the soil to those with the passion, creativity and drive to bring it to the table. Everyone deserves the comfort that a good meal can provide and the community it can build. It is with this in mind, she was drawn to TLD and the opportunity to work with the Fair Food Network for their Double Up Food Bucks program as an Ambassador. 

In her downtime, Kim is a local artist specializing in acrylic mediums and odd gothic home decor. She also enjoys getting lost in a good mystery, baking more than what her tiny kitchen can handle, deep dives into fantastical and nerdy realms with her partner Ryan, and snuggling her sweet tuxedo kitty, Luna. 

Ederique Goudia

Metro Detroit Content Creator

With over 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Ederique “E” Goudia is bringing that New Orleans flavor to Detroit’s West Village community as the co-owner of Gabriel Hall, a New Orleans restaurant, bar, and music venue. She also co-founded In the Business of Food, a foodservice-based consulting agency for women and POC owned or led food businesses and nonprofits.

Ederique’s commitment to a more fair, sustainable, and equitable food economy in Detroit extends into her work with FoodLab Detroit and serves as a part of the Detroit Food Academy team as a classroom facilitator. She also works with other non-profits like Tour de Troit  which focuses on health and wellness through cycling.

She resides on the Eastside of Detroit with her 10-year old English Mastiff named Bear.

Stacey Wilcox

Southeast Michigan Account Manager

Stacey believes that food is at the heart of everything we do, and is passionate about helping small and local Michigan-based businesses grow by leveraging her many years of business and marketing experience. 

She has a graduate certificate from Tufts University in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, she is a Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance (MOFFA) board member, has been a Food Tank content contributor, and is a certified health coach. 

Stacey is a certified yoga instructor who loves to stay active through her regular yoga practice, and almost any activity in the woods that includes hiking with her two dogs, cross country skiing, and trail running. She also spends lots of time at various ice rinks watching her two hockey-obsessed children play.

Sam Samson-Miller

Northeast Michigan Local Food Coordinator

From an early age, Sam has appreciated the culture and environment that comes along with life in Northeast Michigan.  Sam graduated from Alpena Community College with a degree in Liberal Arts. Sam worked at The Fresh Palate, a local focused restaurant and TLD partner, where she developed her passion for healthy, local foods and realized the importance of our local food systems.

Sam is an accomplished Yoga instructor, and former Director of Operations at Performance Locker in Alpena, where Sam discovered her love for building the community in which she lives. This led Sam to TLD and her role as Account Manager which also supports the Fair Food Network in their Double Up Food Bucks program.

In her spare time, you’ll find Sam with her husband Aaron, their son Marshall, and their two dogs Rex and Rufus. They spend as much time outdoors as possible and eat as many veggies as they can. Sam is passionate about her local community, her family, and the impact she has on the people around her.