Nick Knock was riding his bike to a coffee shop in January when inspiration came to him for a different twist on the concept of a farmers market.By March, he and a friend, Leconte Lee, had their new organization – go-go fresco – open to customers.Go-go fresco is a mobile farmers market with a philanthropic focus.Knock and Lee drive a 1997 Dodge Caravan to churches, businesses and community organizations around Charlotte, where they set up their signature red tent to sell produce.Their proceeds – except for operational expenses – go to charitable missions, and they are working on official nonprofit status, said Knock, a Mint Hill resident.“It’s never an afterthought for us – the missions. I mean, it’s always in the forefront, and we always say who we’re featuring,” Knock said.He noted that go-go fresco was able to give about $1,200 to local missions from its first month’s profits.On a recent Tuesday, go-go fresco was set up in the parking lot of Sardis Presbyterian Church, a host venue in southeast Charlotte. The market offered curly kale, rainbow chard, spring onions and spinach, but many items had sold out.“A lot of people think that we have the produce donated to us, and we actually take pride and joy in paying our farmers,” Knock said.All of the farms supplying go-go fresco are within 30 miles of Charlotte, Knock said. Lee said the market typically carries 13 to 20 items.Profits from sales at Sardis Presbyterian benefit Planting Seeds of Hope, a partnership between the church and Rama Road Elementary School to support students. Profits from other venues go to other causes.“People seem to really appreciate having the market here,” wrote Jessica Otto, director of administration at Sardis Presbyterian, in an email. “We remind members on our church Facebook page to stop by the market on their way to church meetings and Scouts, and they seem to be responding enthusiastically.” Knock, 26, and Lee, 22, met in Hawaii.Knock worked in public health education for an HIV/AIDS organization there, as well as church ministries and at a school. Lee studied at Hawaii Pacific University.Both appreciate the importance of food and nutrition.Lee said his family used to own a grocery store in Malaysia, where he is from originally.“Groceries are in your blood,” Knock told Lee. Knock, one of seven children, said he’s always been “a health nut just in general.”“We tell people what to do with red kale, what to do with rainbow chard, and why is this good for you and how you can make a meal out of the stuff we sell,” said Lee, who speaks four languages: Malay, Cantonese, Mandarin and English.Knock and Lee hope to diversify their selection to include items such as local goat cheese and honey.Knock said expanding the market to “food desert” locations where people do not have much access to affordable produce will be a priority. That may be a couple of months away.
Wednesday, Jun. 26, 2013
Charlotte mobile farmers market helps the needy
Want to go? Visit www.gogofresco.org for recipes and a schedule of upcoming market locations. Reach Nick Knock and Leconte Lee by email at email@example.com. Items are sold in bunches or bags. One item is $3; two items are $5. Eggs are $5 per dozen. Credit cards, cash and checks are accepted.
Hope Yancey is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Hope? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less