About Us

Chow Locally

Chow Locally is a brand new business, and the first of its kind in Arizona. Chow Locally is an online marketplace that allows you to easily access the freshest seasonal foods grown by local ranchers and farmers.

You can think of us as a food hub, a business that does two important things. First, we bring together all the best foods that local farmers and ranchers produce, creating volume that no single farmer can achieve. Second, we get that amazing food out to individuals, families, restaurants, and organizations through our website and through our distribution mechanisms. Really, we’re a new model for the local food system, and we think this model holds a lot of promise because we can simultaneously meet the needs of our customers while supporting multiple local farmers at once.

The Team

Christopher Wharton, Ph.D

Chris has always been passionate about every aspect of food and has pursued the topic academically his whole adult life. He received his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Illinois in Nutrition Sciences. He went on to complete a PhD at Arizona State University, after which he took a postdoctoral research position at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University. His focus there was food policy, food environment, and obesity prevention.

Chris came back to ASU in 2007 as a professor in Nutrition in the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion. At ASU, he broadened his research and teaching to include focuses on local food systems and sustainability. After working hard to improve food access through local foods programs like farmers’ markets, Chris realized how important the broader local food system could be in improving health, community, and the environment. It was about this time that Chris met Derek, and the idea of Chow Locally was born. Chris is excited about Chow Locally because it offers a solution to so many concerns people have about food these days. It gives people the chance to buy food that is local, fresh, healthy, ethical, and sustainable. You can’t eat better food than that.

Derek Slife

Derek began writing software in the computer labs of ASU at the age of 12, keeping himself busy while his mother was attending graduate school. He had found his passion, and ever since, Derek has excelled at writing great software. Fast forward to his freshman year at Northern Arizona University, where he created his own custom software development business. The business, whose first projects included software development for architecture firms and Arizona-based utility companies, grew rapidly.  In 2001, the firm was sold and Derek embarked upon his adventures in the corporate world.  For ten years he led development teams on various software projects, which included automating supply chain operation, master data management, product search engines, pricing engines and other projects used to enhance the critical operations of Fortune 500 companies.

In 2011, Derek saw an opportunity he believed he had the skills to address, the need to give people better access to high quality, local food. So, he left the corporate scene to co-found Chow Locally with Chris. Derek took his expertise in software design and applied them to an important problem in the world today: improving the food system for the health of all. Through his work, the Chow Locally site was built, making accessing and eating local foods more convenient than ever before. When he's not writing software, he enjoys cooking for his family and friends.

Chef Stephanie Green, R.D.

Stephanie is a registered dietitian and trained chef. As past-president of the Arizona Dietetic Association, she is well connected to the Arizona food scene and a respected local authority on nutrition. As part of the Chow Locally team, she helps develop our weekly Chow Share assortments and related recipes.

Shaun Jacob

Shaun is the director of Chow Locally's operations. He diligently works with our farmers to help them update their offerings on our site, he manages sales, and he generally leaves no rock unturned in helping Chow Locally run smoothly. He a complete novice in the kitchen and helps bring the amateur cook's perspective to Chow Locally. He has "eaten out" most of his life and has traditionally been is more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy. With the help of Chow Locally he is enjoying learning about a whole new world of local food that he and his wife can cook at home. Shaun is an online marketing expert and project manager who helps manage the many plates we have in the air at Chow Locally He is married with three kids, has a new mastiff puppy and has a flock of 20+ urban chickens.

Janie Paulson

Janie is an amazing Chow Locally employee who manages many of our farmers’ market booths. She loves what Chow Locally is doing for your health, supporting the local farmers and all of our communities. She is an Artist/Designer who has been working with paper and carving glass and varied mixed mediums for the past 30+yrs. Janie has had her own interior design business with retail studio. She now teaches art to autistic adults, with Seeds, a nonprofit for young adults, taking them from "learning to earning". Without Janie, Chow Locally couldn't get to as many markets as it does!

Annie Cowan

Annie is a passionate, hard-working medical student who has been with Chow Locally from the beginning. Around the time her partner, co-founder Derek Slife, came up with the idea, she was in the middle of learning about nutrition and obesity in her classes and jumped at the idea to be a part of a company that stood for changing the face of food and health in the U.S. Annie was instrumental in establishing many of the initial farmer relationships, spreading the word through social media, creating interesting web content, and brainstorming the company’s founding concepts. When she isn’t immersed in medical textbooks, you can often find her and their daughter Eislynn pitching in with packing Chow Share boxes or talking up fresh food at a Chow Locally booth!

The Consummate Volunteers

Tim Hardy and Erin Hertzler have been there every step of the way for Chow Locally, and they’ve helped us each weekend as we prepare our customers’ orders. They make absolutely sure we send our customers home satisfied every single weekend. You can normally find them playing their didgeridoos after a hard days work at the Phoenix Public Market.

The ASU Intern Team

Chow Locally is fortunate to be able to work with many great Arizona State University nutrition student interns who help us with the innumerable tasks related to making our social entrepreneurship company run. From connecting with the public to updating our website, our interns help us do good in the world, and they get great community experience in return!