Our Team

We are farmers, foodies, and chefs from across 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 8 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. 

Christina Marbury

Marketing Director

Christina 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 farmers 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

Marketing and Media 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.

Grace Gamble

Operations Manager

Grace cannot remember a time where she was not at least a little bit obsessed with food and cooking. She grew up cooking alongside her mother on a daily basis, and developed a love for creating new recipes and learning about food.

When she attended the College of Wooster in Wooster, OH, and pursued a degree in Sociology, her interest in food expanded as she began to understand the complexities of food systems. This led Grace to combine her love of cooking with her passion for equitable and sustainable access to food. After graduating, she worked for a variety of food justice organizations as an urban farm lead, kitchen line cook, culinary instructor, and most recently the manager of a food justice program at the University of Detroit Mercy. Witnessing the dynamic local food economy across Michigan in these roles is what drove Grace to her role with TLD, where she is excited to serve as the Operations Manager. 

In her free time, you can find Grace trying out new Detroit restaurants with her partner Giancarlo, exploring Michigan’s trails and lakes, developing her latest version of vegan risotto, singing in a local chorus, or catching the latest sci-fi show. 

Emily Row

Media and Brand Manager

Emily grew up on the west side 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.

Erika Tebbens

Director of Impact

When Erika moved to Ypsilanti in late 2019 the first things she did were check out her local farmers market and sign up for a CSA, because supporting local food is her jam.

She relocated from upstate New York where she had enjoyed a long, and accidental, career in the world of local food and farming. She worked as the market manager for a large, year-round, organic vegetable farm and later started her own micro farm and apiary called Little Sparrow Farm.

She’s also incredibly passionate about food equity and access. This led her to serve a term on Washtenaw County’s Food Policy Council and regularly do interviews about her family’s experience receiving WIC benefits while her husband was serving in the Navy. In 2016 she had the incredible honor of telling her story about military food insecurity before the House Subcommittee on Agriculture & Nutrition. 

Erika brings twenty years of business and leadership experience to the team. She’s passionate about relationship-driven, connection-centered sales and marketing practices; and loves being a catalyst for micro enterprises to thrive. She believes that each and every one of us can change the world in our own unique way, which she wrote about in her book: You’ve Got This! A Counterintuitive Guide to Powerful, Inevitable Changemaking

When she’s not working she’s probably enjoying nature, baking while listening to a podcast, traveling, knitting, or reading on the couch with her husband, son, and dog Peanut.

Claire Butler

Content Strategy Specialist

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.

Casey Cafego

Marketing and Design Specialist

As a Michigan local, Casey has always loved the Great Lakes State, from her rural hometown village on the outskirts of Ann Arbor to vacationing in the tip of the Mitten!  

Graduating from Eastern Michigan University, Casey holds her degree in Business Marketing and Graphic Design. Throughout her professional career, her aspiration has always been to make a positive impact on the Michigan community. Her role at TLD has allowed her to pursue that ambition by leveraging her skills to help local Michigan food businesses thrive! 

Casey was also drawn to our company for her personal interests. She believes that having a good relationship with healthy, in-season food is essential to our health and well-being. She also loves to shop local!

While Casey isn’t working, you can find her spending time with her friends and family, or training her two parrots, Bean and Puck. Being a creative spirit at heart, her hobbies include playing guitar, singing, drawing, crafting, gardening, and woodworking. She loves spending time outdoors and fills her summer days with rock climbing, kayaking, and mountain biking on the many trails that Michigan offers.

Neil Davey

Southern Michigan Regional Account Manager

Neil grew up in Valparaiso, in the duneland area of Northwest Indiana, along the South Shore of Lake Michigan. Gaining experience in restaurants and hotels through high school and college, he finished with a Bachelor’s Degree in Food and Hospitality Management from Ball State University with additional studies in Philosophy, Sustainability, and Environmental Ethics. Once graduated, he did what any respectable young professional might do in a recession…sell headstones. That’s right, Neil traveled throughout Indiana and Southwest Michigan working in just about every cemetery there ever was.

It wasn’t long before an opportunity opened in his hometown to work at the local brewery. From there, Neil spent ten years in the brewing industry, traveling from edge to edge of Indiana (also known as Michigan’s boot). In those ten years he built connections and relationships working wholesale beer accounts, liquor stores, grocery chain management, and locally sourced pubs and restaurants. 

In the middle of the pandemic, he found the love of his life, became “smitten with the mitten” and moved to Marshall, MI where he resides to this day with his partner Becca. This Hoosier turned Michigander can often be found writing his next book, fooling around in the garden, experimenting with his weekly CSA produce, or planning his next hiking trip somewhere in the pleasant peninsula.

Karey Stid

Customer Success Strategist

Karey’s love for food began obsessively watching Food Network classics. She grew up in Metro Detroit then pursued a degree in communications and environmental science from Hope College. Desiring to stay by Lake Michigan’s beautiful beaches and her friends for her last summer, she landed a job at an urban farm in Holland and was instantly hooked. She learned that there was no better feeling than working with your hands to provide someone else something special… and edible! 

Her dream was to combine her love for farming and her education in communications to help farmers expand their reach and revenue. When she found Taste the Local Difference, that dreamy career she imagined out of college was a reality. 

Her days are often spent alongside her husband, Jake, and dog, Honeybee. When relaxing, she’s still consuming the next food docuseries or reading this year’s “The Best American Food Writing” collection, spending time with her family, and cooking through her fridge and pantry filled with local produce.

Carrie Hause

Digital Marketing Specialist

Carrie’s love of food started at a young age, coming from a family of adventurous eaters. Food is still her favorite way of connecting with friends and family.

A lifelong Michigan resident, she became interested in local food after studying land economics and urban planning at Grand Valley State. She knew she needed to move to Detroit to learn about urban agriculture. There, she joined Americorps and started working with a non-profit dedicated to serving Detroit’s growing population of gardeners and farmers. She spent years there supporting garden resource distribution efforts, garden education programs, and spent two seasons working on the organization’s farm.

Carrie then spent some time managing production in a chocolate shop and working on fruit, vegetable, and flower farms around the city, and eventually started her own ceramics business. But after a few years, she felt drawn back to her true passion, growing food and flowers, which led her to starting her own farm.

When she’s not working on the farm, Carrie spends her free time sharing food with friends and family, canning, cooking, and doing creative projects with flowers. She is excited to bring her food and business experience to TLD to help grow Michigan’s local food economy.

Hajar Dallal

Social Media Specialist

Living in southeast Michigan her entire life, Hajar cultivated a deep connection to her community and surroundings. Growing up in this region, she watched the local food scene evolve, contributing to her deep love for food and sparking her interest in the culinary world. 

Hajar brings over two years of experience in social media management to the team, with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Michigan – Dearborn.

Her passion for her role is also deeply rooted in her childhood memories spent in her grandfather’s orchard in Montreal. Those summers were filled with joy as she picked strawberries and raspberries with her cousins, enjoying the fresh fruit straight from the vines. She fondly recalls her grandpa coming home in the evenings with baskets full of fresh berries, setting the stage for deep, late night conversations with her family. This fostered her appreciation for farmers and their hard work, inspiring her to connect and support them through her own work.

Outside of work, Hajar loves to read and journal, enjoys figure skating and doing puzzles. On sunny days, you can find her soaking up the sun, embracing the warmth and beauty of nature.