Making Eating Local Easy

CHRISTY SHI founded Know Your Farms, which makes it easy to be a locavore.

CHRISTY SHI founded Know Your Farms, which makes it easy to be a locavore.

Christy Shi will deliver farm-fresh food to your house -- along with recipes

When she's not talking to farmers about cheese and eggs, ground lamb, or fresh collards, Christy Shi may be on the phone with legislators. The thirty-five-year-old Davidson grad behind Know Your Farms is passionate about connecting people to the land.

"The membership requirement when we first started was you had to be adventurous, flexible, and community oriented," she explains. "Also, I didn't have room on my pickup truck for food for more than twenty families," she jokes.

The subscription-based food program now uses a refrigeration truck and offers members weekly selections from farms within a thirty-mile radius of the company's Davidson office. Subscribers can order à la carte each week or get a box of mixed produce assembled by the staff. Staples, such as poultry and meat, are available year round. Drop-off points range from Mooresville to Ballantyne, with weekly tips and recipe ideas on the company's Web site. When little-known garlic scapes were offered in June, members could reference two New York Times articles about the slender green stems. This month the company introduces Meal-in-a-Box, ingredients with recipes created by a professional chef.

Shi grew up in a military family and moved often, which brought about her desire to connect to the land. Experience with a food co-op inspired the 2008 launch of Know Your Farms (; she'll keep working as a technology training consultant while the business gets off the ground. "We could have gotten nonprofit status," she says, "but if we want our local food system to be sustainable, it has to be financially sustainable." Her younger brother Wes Shi, who has an MBA from Mercer University, has joined the company to implement her vision.

Photo: CHRISTY SHI founded Know Your Farms, which makes it easy to be a locavore.

Big Idea

Get People to Dine Out Together Larken Egleston promotes, markets, and hosts events and also has a passion for food. Last year, the Johnson & Wales grad started the Charlotte Culinary Club, which holds dinner events at restaurants around the city. And he recently joined the management team of Amelie's French Bakery. Here's his big idea: "We have more than 1,200 members in the Charlotte Culinary Club. It's my attempt to not only get people thinking about their food choices -- supporting local restaurants, markets, and farmers -- but also to show them that just because we're in a poor economy doesn't mean you can't go out and have a great meal." -- Jarvis Holliday

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