Alexis has a Masters from Clark University. After a year and a half of working on organic farms in Europe and the U.S., Close returned to Central Appalachia and co-founded the community organization “Build It Up East Tennessee” in 2012. In 2015, BIU started a cooperative of 10 low-income “market gardeners” who collectively grew over 11,000 lbs of food and sold $8,000 worth of fresh produce in 2015. Sales in 2016 have topped $15,000. Close was responsible for much of this coordination. She was the USDA-funded Local Food Promotion Program Coordinator for the southwest VA and northeast TN region from 2014-2016. She is currently the Beginning Farmer Services Coordinator for the Appalachian RC&D Council, which includes arranging more than 12 workshops a year according to beginning farmer interest, consulting beginning farmers on farm resource inventories, and teaching market-garden crop planning, horticulture, harvesting, processing, local marketing.