Taste the Local Difference has its headquarters in Traverse City, Michigan. Our small team covers the state with distinct roles.
Tricia is a driven leader and manager with experience in both the agriculture and business sides of the TLD business. She is deeply involved in the Agricultural community of Northwest Michigan through her personal and business commitments. Tricia also understands the demands of business and marketing through her three years of work with the Minervini Group, developers of the Village of Grand Traverse Commons, the largest mixed use historic redevelopment project in the state.
Her skills in writing, communications, problem solving and database management give her the perfect foundation to support TLD's growing farm and business community. During her 3 years serving as Operations Director, she managed the entire TLD operation in Northwest Michigan, from building and maintaining all the relationships that make this work possible, to playing a major role in planning the strategy for TLD's future. In fall 2017, she transitioned to CEO.
Tricia is a fixture in the burgeoning food and farming community of Northwest Lower Michigan. She serves on the Board of Bay Area Recycling for Charities (BARC), the advisory board of the Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market in Traverse City, MI, and is an active member of the leadership team of the Northwest Michigan Food and Farming Network. She hails from the city of Cary, IL and is a graduate of Michigan State University with a bachelor of arts from the Residential College of Arts & Humanities, and a Minor in Environmental Studies. She is an avid photographer whose photographs can be found throughout this website.
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 two monthly newsletters, the TLD blog, and all social media channels. Let Emma know if there is anything you would like promoted online!
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 fall CSA.
Bailey Samp - TLD Local Food Coordinator for NW Michigan and Events Manager
Bailey moved to Traverse City in 2007 and immediately fell in love with Northern Michigan, the perfect spot for someone that enjoys spending the Winter traveling and Summer farming! She has visited Australia, many countries in South and Central America, and is always looking for new places to explore. Traveling has allowed Bailey to volunteer for non-profits involved with food access, volunteer on sustainable farms, enjoy foods from many cultures, and learn about local agriculture in different countries.
She is passionate about cultivating a strong community and helping ensure that all community members have access to fresh, local, healthy food. She loves working with children and educating them about local food and farms, something she didn't experience as a child.
Bailey has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration, experience as an event planner, and owns Lakeview Hill Farm in Leelanau County with her partner John. As the NW Local Food Coordinator, she is continually working to learn about the needs of her community, helping partners get the most out of marketing, and educating consumers about local food. You can spot Bailey keeping the food local at community events, hosting a Pop-up Farmers Market in local schools, and promoting the Guide to Local Food at farmers' markets.
When not at work, Bailey enjoys hiking the dunes, cooking, and preserving food.
Molly owns and operates Presque Isle Farm with her husband Dion, their son Sawyer, and two dogs, Huck and Abe, in northeastern Michigan. In 2014, they transformed the family's hobby farm into a thriving market vegetable business and are now supplying free, local food o two school districts through Hoophouses for Health, in addition to selling their produce to NE Michigan restaurants, farmers markets, and groceries.
Following college, Molly served in Togo, West Africa, with the Peace Corps. Upon her return to the states she spent time in Montana herding sheep and eventually as the manager at the Good Food Store. Molly Quickly became infatuated with supporting and building healthy communities through food choices and education.
After several years in Montana, she received her Masters in Education and then taught high school for several years in New Orleans, often centering her curriculum around food, the food system, and its impact on her students' lives and the world at large. In 2014, Molly and her husband returned to his family farm in Posen to become the new stewards of a Centennial Farm and invigorate the thriving food network of the northeastern portion of the mitten.
Alexandria Palzewicz - TLD Local Food Coordinator for the Upper Peninsula
Alex grew up in the beautiful Upper Peninsula, raised around agriculture and community service. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality Management from Northern Michigan University, where the program turned a lifetime FOH server into a spunky line cook. She has over 10 years of restaurant and event experience, working every spectrum and position of the industry. Her work is driven by her passion for food, and after traveling Europe and living in seattle, she has returned home with the goal of expanding the local food systems and evolving the food culture of the Upper Peninsula.
In her first year as UP Local Food Coordinator, Alex is doing all she can do to better understand the needs of her region, as well as helping educate consumers on why purchasing local is so important for our communities. She serves on multiple boards and committees throughout the UP in hopes of connecting the various links of the local food chain. Her signature food samplings and demonstrations inspire consumers to step outside their comfort zone, and in front of a cutting board.
Nick is an adopted Michigander. After growing up in Colorado, Nick discovered a passion for food and farming at Deep Springs College. That passion eventually led him to Detroit, with its urban farms and an energetic food culture.
Before joining Taste the Local Difference, Nick operated the vegetable farm at Food Field for two seasons. His winters were spent flipping eggs on the breakfast grill at Rose's Fine Food. He remains inspired by the espirit-de-corps of his local food community, and he's glad to be able to serve farmers and small businesses in his current position.
If not at work, Nick is probably trying to start his 80-year-old Ford tractor. He hopes to keep it running long enough to establish his own farm, just outside of Detroit.
Kelly came to food and farming work through her education as registered dietitian at the University of Minnesota. Finding the standard dietetics curriculum lacking food systems perspectives, she began using elective coursework to explore food production and its impact on public health. This led her to Italy where she studied Slow Food and fell in love with the power of real, whole food as a form of storytelling, a source of deep connection, and as an important tool for human and environmental health. After her time in Italy, Kelly furthered her food systems education with an internship on a beef and small grain farm in central Minnesota. She spent her summer fixing fences, driving a tractor, baling hay and gaining a deep appreciation for the rigors of farm life.
Kelly worked in the field of dietetics in food service, health and wellness, and private practice before entering into food systems work. She took the leap in 2015 when she became the first registered dietitian to complete the Michigan State University Student Organic Farm's Organic Farmer Training Program. She remained at the Student Organic Farm as an assistant instructor in 2016 while simultaneously starting her own farm. In 2017, Kelly began working for TLD as a the SE Michigan Local Food Coordinator. She is currently TLD's Director of Community Partners.
Paula is a registered dietitian nutritionist focusing on public health. In her role as our Community Health Coordinator, Paula will be facilitating the Building Healthy Communities Grant. This program supports food retailers, local businesses and healthcare centers create plans to make healthy and local food choices the easiest choice. In addition, she will be providing support for community supported agriculture (CSA) wellness programs for Northwestern Michiga
Paula lives in Traverse City and enjoys spending time exploring the culinary delights this beautiful region has to offer.
Christina brings a diverse background of experience throughout the food system to her work with TLD. Since her graduation from the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment, Christina has a worked on farms and with artisan food businesses, managed farmers markets, taught cooking and gardening classes to youth, and worked with schools, farms, and local food businesses to coordinate school fundraisers featuring healthy local products.
Now her focus is on helping local food businesses market themselves. You can see her wielding a camera dangerously close to culinary works of art, a farmer's field, or the farmer herself. She also works behind the scenes on strategy, content writing, search optimization and more.
In addition to her work with TLD, Christina runs her own business (Toot Sweet) and writes for The Awesome Mitten. She offers a full line of photography services, digital marketing support, and can even bake you a cake! Contact her via her website at tootsweetness.com