We are excited to introduce our two new employees at Taste the Local Difference. Annaliese Brown will serve as a West Michigan Local Food Coordinator out of Grand Rapids. Devon Wilson will serve as a Southwest Michigan Local Food Coordinator out of Battle Creek. Get to know our two new employees below!
Annaliese was raised in Southwest Michigan, and began working with food as a caterer in high school. It was during trips to the Kalamazoo Farmers Market that she fell in love with local food, and the community and connections inherent to it.
After graduating from Calvin College, Annaliese spent a year working in specialty coffee in Pittsburgh, then moved to Boston in 2010 to attend Boston University’s Master of Liberal Arts in Gastronomy Program. After graduate school, she moved cross-country to San Francisco where she spent the next four years, working for a non-profit kitchen incubator, as well as for two globally-recognized food retailers.
In 2016, Annaliese and her husband Jon moved back to Grand Rapids from the Bay Area. Together, they own If So Studio, a small creative and video production studio that focuses on food and arts-related content. She has a passion for sharing stories — especially those of small food producers and businesses, and is excited to bring that passion to her role as TLD’s West Michigan Local Food Coordinator.
Devon is a Michigan native who has lived in Battle Creek for the vast majority of his life. He is passionate about food systems and is a community leader in this area.
Growing up in a food desert, Devon gained an interest in building a relationship with the food he and his community consumes. This lead him to volunteer at local farms and sparked his passion for farming. He went on to work at other farms and eventually became an urban farm manager. After spending 3 months in Hawaii studying permaculture, he returned to Michigan to attend Michigan State University Student Organic Farm’s Organic Farmer Training Program. He also owns and manages his own farm, Sunlight Gardens. After farming and building relationships in food systems for the past 6 years, Devon is excited to bring his skills to TLD’s team as the Southwest Michigan Local Food Coordinator.