Restaurants Lease Farmland

barbeefarms_fieldThe idea of restaurants “leasing” farmland from local farmers for certain produce items is not new but may be something for our Charlotte area restaurants to consider.  One of the stumbling blocks in restaurant supported agriculture (RSA), where food businesses buy from local farmers for resale, is the forecasting that farmers must do at planting times throughout the year.  They have to use data from previous years and increase their intended yields based on estimated future sales.  There is a lot of risk and unpredictability for the local farmers around Charlotte.  Sometimes when food businesses ask farmers to grow a certain amount of food with a promise to buy it four months later at harvest time, the promises are broken and farmers can be left without much-needed sales.

Restaurants Can Reduce Farmer Risk

One of the interesting and high-impact ways restaurants can help local farmers and get great food to their customers at the same time is to help farmers reduce the risk of losing future sales.  We think it would be great for restaurants to provide secured future sales to local farmers in exchange for foods that chefs would like to have in their kitchens.  The idea is not simple but can be done.

If a restaurant(s) offered to “lease” a certain amount of land from local farmers to grow certain things in certain quantities, farmers might feel more comfortable dedicating a portion of their growing space for this transaction.  We will throw in a word of caution here: 

Please, please do not consider this option unless you really are dedicated to following through.  Farmers can sadly recount past experiences where they grew for people who guaranteed future sales, only to find out the sales had vanished when the crops were ready to be harvested. 

Restaurants Plus a CSA Offer Farmers Low Risk

Know Your Farms CSaThere is also an even more secure way for both restaurants and farmers to accomplish this mutually beneficial restaurant supported agriculture.  Know Your Farms CSA could act as a backup for these guaranteed crops so restaurants could request a whole row of produce but only have to use less than the whole row if things changed in the future.  Our goal is to protect the farmers from negative impacts of this kind of change.  It also gives chefs a safety net with their credibility with the farmers so if they do fall short of their purchase estimates, the excess will still be purchased from the farmer by the CSA.  We hope both parties will want to begin a dialogue about how to use our CSA as a safety net to facilitate the connection between restaurants and farmers.


Partner Highlight – Pura Vida Worldly Art

Partner Highlight – Pura Vida Worldly Art

puravidalogoYour senses are in for a multicultural treat! Pura Vida Worldly Art is colorful, eclectic and fun. Come visit and you’ll find yourself spending hours exploring!

You’ll enjoy discovering a variety of treasures from all over the world. From Latin American folk art such as Day of the Dead art and Catholic saint carvings to Asian, Middle-Eastern, and African pottery, textiles and prayer items. As you browse through the Mexican wrestler masks, musical toys, and all the good luck amulets and spiritual items you’ll be glad you stopped by.

Pura Vida Worldly Art is located in NoDA and is a public Know Your Farms CSA drop site.


Pura Vida Worldly Art
3202a North Davidson St
Charlotte, NC 28205

Phone: 704-335-8587

Hours of Operation:

Sun: 12pm-4pm

Mon-Thurs: 10am-2pm/4pm-6pm

Fri: 10am-2pm/4pm-8pm

Sat: 10am-8pm.

  • organicsoverview
    Organics – Who is behind it? Organics – Who is behind it?

    Organics – Who is behind it?

Organics – Who is behind it?

For those of you who have ever spoken to the KYF crew about organic foods, you may have been surprised by our comment that this is a tricky subject.  First, we do support the ideals that food should be grown in a healthy way, free from toxins that we would not want in our bodies either.  However, our need for labels has made our search for healthy foods slightly more of a gray area.  Labels may not necessarily mean what you think!

The word organic conjures up different meanings for everyone.  One of the common preconceptions is that it implies a certain level of cleanliness or wholesomeness.  To some, it may even evoke a feeling of the way things used to be in agriculture…a sort of mom-n-pop farm with a roadside stand and so little produce that it just has to be free of the “bad stuff.”  Whatever you definition is of organic, we would like to provide this information to you so you can continue to form educated opinions about what it means to you.  We are not defining it for you!

Did you know that a large number of the familiar organic brands are actually owned by someone else?  Did you know that some of the organic brands we all recognize have sibling products that are negating any of the good that their organic siblings might provide?


Click the image for the full version of the diagram.  This diagram is a large part of why the KYF crew will sort of stumble around when asked if the CSA is organic.  So, we wanted to post this for your consumption and hope you will find it useful in your journey for finding the best foods for you and your family!

Charlotte Food Tours Thriving

Did you know that Charlotte has several food tour services that are helping make our city’s diverse food culture?  Companies like FEAST offer the “local” perspective on our food options.  These services are really nice to have for those of us involved with our local food system because they help build awareness about the many food choices Charlotte has to offer.  The food tours are not just geared toward visitors.  Locals can benefit from food tours because they offer a great way to quickly see several food businesses in one day.  These tours naturally promote the food businesses in town thinking outside the box and quite a few of those businesses are supporters of the local food system.  We encourage people to keep these tour services in mind and consider going on one if you want to spend a nice afternoon getting a little more in depth with our food culture!


Young Farmers in Local Food Growing

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent statistics, the average age of farmers in the United States is 57. In 1982, 16 percent of head farmers were younger than 35, but by 2007 that number had declined to 5 percent. But behind the aging industry an even larger force is at work: the consolidation of U.S. farmland, experts say.

In order to remain competitive, farmers had to grow larger amounts of commodity crops over the past century to make up for the decreasing value of food.  This subsidized part of the food system has decreased the number of farmers as farmland has been consolidated to grow more commodities.  The difficulty in achieving an income consistent and large enough to support families has also made farming a less appealing career to many of the next generation growing up under the current farmers.

However, not all hope is lost.  A growing national trend of learning where our food comes from is rejuvenating the local food system – on a national scale.  There are a growing number of younger farmers (and former professionals interested in turning farmer) who are creatively breaking down barriers to entry in small-scale agriculture.  The biggest barrier to start farming is land cost versus the expected value a young farmer can expect to get out of a farming operation.  Land has simply become too expensive if it can actually produce something useful for us.  But, this new wave of farmers is taking a lean approach to growing, which makes it more affordable.  It actually costs very little to grow vegetables in small-scale and there are lots of creative ways to make small pieces of land produce quite a bit of food.  Bowing out of the commodity rat-race helps new and young farmers find niche markets for less expensive foods.

We have seen and learned so much from our local farmers here in the Charlotte area.  The creativity they have to circumvent problems in farming is amazing and inspiring.  We are lucky to be in an area with such potential for a healthy, sustainable food system.


Did You Know? Buying Local is Important!

On a dollar-for-dollar basis, the local economic impact of independently owned businesses is significantly greater than that of national chains, this study concludes. Analyzing data collected from 28 locally owned retail businesses in Portland, Maine, along with corporate filings for a representative national chain, the researchers found that every $100 spent at locally owned businesses contributes an additional $58 to the local economy.  By comparison, $100 spent at a chain store in Portland yields just $33 in local economic impact. The study concludes that, if residents of the region were to shift 10 percent of their spending from chains to locally owned businesses, it would generate $127 million in additional local economic activity and 874 new jobs. Read the full study here.

CSA Membership Benefits

Know Your Farms CSaDid you know that joining the Know Your Farms CSA is easy and offers you maximum convenience and flexibility?  Our CSA members are part of the most flexible and convenient local food delivery service in the Charlotte area. 

  • Multiple Produce Share Options
  • Set Your Delivery Schedule – Great for vacations, sick days, and conflicts!
  • Ability to Change Your Share Size
  • Ability to Change Your Pickup Location
  • Locations throughout Charlotte region
  • Signups at any time during the season with no commitment!

Know Your Farms CSA

Once the season begins in April, you can join anytime.  We encourage CSA members to participate for at least 4 deliveries and after that, there is no commitment.  We support multiple farms and list the contents on this page, Facebook, and your CSA account each week.  You will know the farms providing the food.  Recipes are also posted online every week to help make it even easier to Eat Local!

Supporting Know Your Farms CSA makes it possible for us to continue our important work for the benefit of the Charlotte community.  Unlike other food services popping up, we are fully invested in our community here.  We have been supporting Charlotte area farmers since 2008 and are based in Charlotte, NC.  You can help us continue to improve the local food system and local economy in Charlotte by participating in the CSA.  It’s a great way to eat healthy and get to Know Your Farms!

Find out more by visiting Know Your Farms CSA!

Charlotte’s CSA Home Delivery

Know Your Farms Home DeliveryHome delivery from Charlotte’s CSA service, Know Your Farms, is now available for a growing number of neighborhoods.  The Elizabeth neighborhood is the first of a growing number of areas supported by the home delivery option.  Each area will have at least one coordinator who lives in the area helping KYF distribute local food shares.  Other neighborhood areas that can get home delivery are Dilworth, South End, South Park, NoDA, Plaza-midwood, and Sedgefield.  Uptown Charlotte will be able to participate in home delivery later in 2013.  Neighborhoods north of Charlotte that can participate are Highland Creek, Skybrook, and Davis Lake.

Anyone interested in adding their neighborhood to the service areas should contact Know Your Farms through their website drop site form and area coordinator form.  The forms are located under the Get Involved menu.

Know Your Farms

Know Your Farms has been providing local foods from Charlotte-area farms since 2008.  Their CSA supports small family farms surrounding Charlotte.  They are the only home delivery service in Charlotte that uses local foods from farms within 40-50 miles of Charlotte.

Local Food – Fastest Growing Sector in Iowa’s Food Production

We are lucky to be in a state where local food interest has been increasing over the past decade in most parts of the state.  In Charlotte, we have seen a significant increase over the past few years in supporting local ag and keeping our dollars in the local economy.  Thanks to groups like the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Appalachian Sustainability Project, and the NC Cooperative Extension, North Carolina has really set an example for other parts of the southeast.  Our state is not the only one showing a growing interest in moving back toward our roots in local agriculture.

Iowa, known for its commodity farming, is starting to see a bigger push for local and organic foods.  Jason Grimm, a food systems planner in Iowa, says that local produce “is the fastest growing segment of food production” right now.  One large cooperative grocery store there increased their local food purchases by almost 40% totaling around $1.7 million dollars last year alone.  The cooperative’s manager says that they have seen their members seek out the local foods and are willing to pay slightly higher prices for better quality foods.

We are happy to be right in the middle of the NC local food system movement.  KYF is proud to be a part of the local food system here in Charlotte.  Our CSA and workplace CSA continue to get support from people in the community seeking out local foods from our Charlotte-area farmers.  The increased interest has been noticeable over the past several years and it’s really encouraging to see this trend continue.  If you would like to learn more about local food in Charlotte or get fresh, local food delivered to you, please visit online.


NC seafood to be focus of Local Catch Summit


SKYCO, N.C. – Speakers for the 2013 Local Catch Summit in Skyco are focusing on ways to include North Carolina seafood in the local food movement.

Most of the summit is scheduled for Friday at the Coastal Studies Institute campus in Skyco, near the Wanchese waterfront.

It begins with a dinner presentation about local food and beer Thursday at Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe by the owners of the Weeping Radish Farm Brewery and Farmer to Fork Butchery Market.

Activities begin Friday with tours of Wanchese fish houses. Talks focus on the seafood supply chain, the growing demand for local food and innovations by chefs and watermen to improve the seafood industry, among other topics.