Super Art and Action at the Heard

Tom Farris, "(Su)prerman" from the Heard Museum's Super Heroes: Art! Action! Adventure!

Tom Farris, “(Su)perman” from the Heard Museum’s Super Heroes: Art! Action! Adventure!

This past week I went to see the newest exhibit at the Heard Museum, Super Heroes: Art! Action! Adventure!

Walking into this exhibit you are greeted by the message “Be Inspired.” Inspiring children, families, and visitors to talk about what if superman was Cherokee, superheroes’ animal companions and animals graduating high school, and highlighting Native American art inspired by super powers the was the motivation behind the creation of this exhibit. Most importantly though, Dr. Ann Marshall director of curation and education, says “Our overall wish for this summer experience is to create a place where children and adults can talk together about what makes a superhero and think about how people can find the superhero in themselves.”

Arigon-Starr_superInd_cutout3Marking the entrance of the gallery are a number of familiar characters. Life-size superhero-superstars such as Green Lantern and Batman mark the entrance like sentries welcoming guests into the cheerily colored gallery. Wrapping through the space on most of the walls, this exhibit displays large graphic art stories. As you’re working your way through the gallery you catch up with Super Indian and his talking dog companion, Diogi, written and drawn by Arigon Starr; meet the average teenage boy turned into the super powered hero Kagagi, written and drawn by Kay Orlick; or read about real heroes such as the Navajo Code-talkers and Po’Pay with their stories converted into graphic novels.

My favorite thing about this exhibit was the representation of female super heroes. When I asked Dr. Ann Marshall about this she said, “It was impossible for us to explore superheroes without encountering women”, and that shows in this gallery. There’s representation of Lynda Carter’s Wonderwoman, ‘Pueblo Girl‘ by  Susan Folwell, and the main character of a featured (and interactive) game ‘Never Alone‘ is a young Iñupiat girl named Nuna who travels with her pet fox.

Besides getting a chance to play ‘Never Alone‘, two major draws in Super Hereos for children are the chances for kids to become super heroes. Kids can begin their superhero adventure with a paper cape making craft table.  Cape on and after reading through the easily ‘kids-translatable’ graphic novels, check out an interactive game that places an animal on a large screen to be their companion and follows their movements- a great photo op!

As you leave the exhibit, and into the rest of the museum with two other children’s areas: consider what makes a hero and what type of hero would you be?

HeardMuseum-LogoThis inspiring, and FUN, exhibit is now open at the Heard Museum! 

Dates & Times: Saturday, May 16, through Sunday, Aug. 23. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays. 6-10 p.m. First Fridays.

Admission: $23 for adults; $18.50 for seniors; $12.50 for students and children ages 6-12; $5 for children under the age of 5 and American Indians; free for museum members and children younger than 1.

More Information: 602-252-8840,

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Putting a Cork In It

As a sustainability intern at Local First Arizona, I have been working to transform the way local businesses approach sustainability. Naturally (pun intended), recycling has become a hot topic of discussion. What is recyclable? Why aren’t these things recyclable? Where can I recycle? I have been asked nearly every question in the book during my time with LFA, some easier to answer than others.

One item that had me stumped was the seal that preserves a favorite beverage, wine corks. With innovative re-purposers active in our local community like the folks of Refresh Glass who transform used wine bottles into trendy glassware, I assumed someone had to have a better alternative to the landfill for corks. Here is what I learned.

Photo from

Photo from

The large majority of natural cork comes from the cork tree forests in Portugal, Spain, Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia and France.  The trees are not chopped down in the process; harvesters simply peel back the bark which comprises the cork.  Once stripped, the trees will be left untouched for nine years until their cork is sufficient enough to harvest once again.  Many environmentalists believe cork harvesters to be wildlife stewards, arguing “that the cork industry is essential to the survival of Mediterranean cork forests; without it, these important natural habitats — home to endangered species like the Iberian lynx — would likely fall prey to fire and desertification.”  So by uncorking bottles, you may just be preserving one of the greatest ecosystems on planet Earth.

Now that I understood the sustainable, corks2renewable process of producing cork, I wondered where do the 13 billion natural wine corks sold in the world each year end their lives?  And what about the alternative wine stoppers out there?

To explore the fate of natural corks, screw caps, and synthetic alike, I reached out to restaurateurs  Upward Projects who allowed me to collect their corks for a month. When all was said and done, we collected over 20 pounds of corks and caps.  The majority of toppers were natural corks, but I also collected a fair amount of synthetic corks and screw caps.  Now I was faced with the task of determining the soundest resting ground for my collection.

wine screw capAluminum screw caps:  Most recycle plants cannot successfully recycle the caps because they  fall through the siphoning equipment or the magnets used to attract metals in the process do not pick them up.  To ensure that they make it through the process, you can smash them down and place them inside a larger piece of metal.


Synthetic corks: These are neither recyclable nor compostable making reuse the only option for these stoppers.


Natural corks: 100% recyclable but these wine stoppers do not belong in your standard blue bin as most commercial recycling facilities are not built to handle cork.  Cork Reharvest has collection boxes  in grocery stores, wine and bottle shops, and winery tasting rooms across the country. Visit their website to find a location near you.

The corks I collected ended up staying local, as they were donated to the Art Resource Center. This Tempe nonprofit is an amazing resource where artists, educators, crafters and anyone interested can find supplies to create art or work on projects.  These corks, previously destined for the landfill, will likely find new life in the hands of makers.

My hope is this tidbit of information will allow you to be a more educated consumer and think twice before (and after!) you enjoy a nice bottle of wine. It’s easy to set aside your corks and there are plenty of ways to keep them out of the landfill. Cheers!

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3 Fresh Summer BBQ Sides

Fire up your grills, bring out the cold drinks, and invite your friends and family over! It’s that perfect time of year when it’s warm enough for an outdoor gathering, but not too warm yet. You can keep your BBQs healthy and fresh with these seasonal side dishes. Many of the ingredients below, as well as your main meat entrees, can be found at a farmers market near you or by searching Good Food Finder. And stay tuned for an upcoming announcement for new and exciting changes to Arizona’s largest local foods directory!

Three Sisters Pesto Pasta Salad


For the pasta:
16 oz whole wheat pasta such as cavatappi, farfalle, rotini, or penne
1 c zucchini or other summer squash, diced
1 c corn, cut from the cob
1 c green beans, ends trimmed cut into how-to-cut-corn-corn-of-the-cob-for-freezing-canningone inch pieces
1 c tomatoes, diced
½ c crumbled, cooked bacon (optional)
1 recipe basil pesto, below

For the pesto:
2 c basil, loosely packed
2 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ c pine nuts
½ c olive oil, or more to achieve thinner pesto
1 to 2 tbs water as needed
2 tbs parmesan, grated (optional)
Juice of one lemon
Red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

  1. Place all the ingredients for the pesto in a blender or food processor. Season generously with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes as desired. Blend until completely smooth. Add more olive oil, or a few tablespoons of water as necessary to achieve desired consistency.
  2. Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. During last three minutes of boiling, add the green beans to the pasta and water. Drain both beans and pasta in a colander and immediately rinse in cold water to halt cooking.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a cast iron skillet over medium and add about one teaspoon of olive oil until just smoking. Add zucchini and corn and stir frequently until charred, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add all ingredients to a large bowl. Add half of pesto and toss to combine. Add more pesto as desired. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as desired.

Quick Cucumber Pickles, Asian Style


4 c cucumbers (about one pound), partially peeled, ends removed, and sliced
½ c red onion, thinly slicedCucumber-partially-peeled
½ c carrots, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
2 or more jalapeno or serrano chiles, thinly sliced
¼ c rice vinegar
1 tbs fish or soy sauce
1 tbs sugar


  1. Peel and slice cucumbers and place in a colander in the sink. Sprinkle the cucumber slices with salt and toss to combine. Let sit 20 minutes, rinse with cold water, and then pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Whisk together vinegar, fish or soy sauce, and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a nonreactive dish with a lid and stir to combine. Cover the pickles and refrigerate at least one hour before serving.


Watermelon with Mint and Lime

Ingredientswatermelon with mint

6 c watermelon, cubed
1 tsp lime zest
Juice of two limes
2 tbs honey or agave syrup
¼ c mint, roughly chopped


  1. Whisk together lime zest, juice, and honey.
  2. Pour lime mixture over watermelon cubes and sprinkle with mint.
  3. Toss to combine and chill for at least one hour before serving.
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Memorial Day Furniture Sales: Keep it Local

beddrsShopping for home furniture is a huge decision for anyone, especially when looking for a new mattress. Finding the right size, comfort, price, and a company you can trust are all weighed into your choice. Sustaining Member of Local First Arizona, Bed DRS, offers a unique approach to selling mattresses by focusing on the health behind a good night’s sleep. You’ll also be taking advantage of savings and supporting a local business along the way.

Wes Harrington, General Manager of Bed DRS, has been a huge supporter of Local First Arizona for a long time and is a true advocate for working with other local businesses and keeping dollars in the community. Consumers throughout Arizona are often bombarded by chain mattress companies popping up on almost every corner, which makes the hometown ownership of Bed DRS unique. They are truly in business to treat each customer like a neighbor and make sure you go home with the right mattress that is going to make you healthier and sleep better.

One misconception about shopping locally is that local businesses have higher prices than larger chain companies. Bed DRS proves that theory wrong, especially by all of their upcoming specials for Memorial Day weekend (click here for even more specials!). This is a great reminder that you can always shop locally, even when making a major purchase for your home. So make sure when you are looking for your next mattress to remember that you can improve your health, save, and support a local business all at the same time!

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706 Reasons To Attend the BALLE Conference

Haven’t registered for the BALLE Conference on Localism yet? It’s being held in Phoenix June 10-12, and is the national forum for visionary local economy connectors who are making a difference in their communities. Here are 706 reasons why you should attend:

BALLE Attendees600 Localist Leaders All In One Place
The BALLE Conference is the one place each year where the local economy movement comes together to share ideas, innovate, and have important conversations about the emerging new economy. If you care about systems change, this is the place you need to be.


Watch a video to see the kind of people you’ll meet at this year’s BALLE Conference:

Van Jones70+ Incredible Speakers

Visionary business leaders like Dansko’s Amanda Cabot and Etsy’s Matt Stinchcomb, social change agents like Van Jones and CODEPINK’s Jodie Evans, and innovators on the forefront of restoring the land and building a new economy will inform and inspire. Click here for a full list of speakers.

BALLE 4 Tracks8 Interactive Conference Tracks
Through eight conference tracks that together represent What’s Working Locally, BALLE Conference attendees are true participants invited to share their knowledge and perspective to develop applicable solutions and executable plans. Click here for a full conference agenda.

Arcosanti Building6 Immersive Workshops and Tours

At what other conference can you learn how to build a food hub, get a Micro MBA focused on place-based impact investing, visit an experimental town (Arcosanti), and experience first-hand the adaptation of historic buildings, growing food in an urban desert, and revitalizing Main Street? Click here for more info.

BALLE Team 2014And 21 Days (and Counting) Left to Register!
The BALLE Conference offers extraordinary access to leading business leaders and social innovators through one-on-one mentoring and the Living Economies Lounge. Attendees make important connections, build skills and insights to advance their work, and have a lot of fun in the process.

BALLE FoodOne More Bonus Reason:
If you really needed another reason, what you’ve heard is true: BALLE does throw a better party! You won’t want to miss the delicious local craft brews and organic food, plus Arizona’s best entertainment, music, art, and culture. The agenda outlines the parties and activities planned each night.
Many reasons to register for this year’s BALLE Conference on Localism, but just one thing left to do. Register now and we’ll see you in Phoenix.

Are you a Local First Arizona member? Contact us for the 10% discount code! 

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Your Guide to the Acronyms Advancing Food Access

This article was written by Local Food Systems Intern, Sarah Schenck.

“A sustainable food system is not just about achieving economic viability and on-farm sustainability, but is also underpinned by wider social and ecological concerns, such as community food security, fair labor practices, food safety, equitable access to food and the means to produce food, healthy ecosystems and animal welfare.” Rebecca Duell


We’re stoked about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares. We’re also pretty fond of shopping at farmers’ markets. As wonderful as these outlets are for connecting us to our local food system, we want everyone to share in the bounty of health and well-being gained from participating, but presently, there are hurdles that hinder many in our community from partaking in the local food economy. Past discussions on the affordability and accessibility of locally produced foods have touched on the matter that localization aptly involves paying the full costs of food (environmental, social, and economic), but in order to have relevance for food security and social justice, these are costs we must all be able to pay.

This is a challenge that we’re working to address nationally and locally. In February, AZ SNAPHB 2469 was introduced, and if passed, SNAP recipients will gain a 50% discount on any eligible item purchased at a farmers’ market using SNAP benefits. Augmenting the purchasing power of customers paying with food assistance benefits is incentive for new low-income customers and can increase food security in the surrounding community.

“Encouraging low-income families to put more healthy food in their grocery baskets is part of USDA’s ongoing commitment to improving the diet and health of all Americans,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Creative community partnerships benefit regional food producers and local economies along with SNAP participants.”

Embodying this, a number of standup organizations across Arizona have partnered with the USDA in tackling the obstacles of getting nutritious, local food into the homes of all members of the community through various initiatives including:

farmers-market-roadrunnerOf the several challenges in increasing food access to underserved neighborhoods, there’s lack of awareness regarding who’s eligible for these programs, where benefits are accepted, and how to utilize benefits. Also, markets are generally not located in the most at risk neighborhoods.


Among local actors pushing for change, these three are making notable improvements:


  1. The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona
    Only 36% of farmers’ markets in AZ accept SNAP benefits. The food bank brings produce to low-income clients outside of the traditional market setting through its seasonal, mobile farm stands. They operate with a consignment model, providing community empowerment, education, and resource sharing for small scale farmers and gardeners. All vendors at the farm stands accept SNAP, WIC, and SFMNP. Strategic in their choice of location, they address accessibility concerns by stationing a farm stand outside of the food bank. Creative solutions increase access, like distributing SFMNP vouchers while seniors are waiting in line to receive food boxes so they can seamlessly transition to purchasing fresh produce afterwards in a single trip.Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 4.37.53 PM
  2. University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Cooperative Extension
    A major hindrance to getting healthy food to the community is the public’s general unfamiliarity with fresh produce. There are misconceptions that local produce is not affordable or it’s low quality, in addition to uncertainty about how to store and prepare fruits and veggies. The UA Nutrition Network is phenomenal in combatting these obstacles by making food “real” to people. Individuals need to grow familiar with seeing, smelling, and tasting produce in order to be comfortable seeking it out at the market, farm stand, or through a CSA. This is where the value of educational outreach, food demonstrations, and recipe provision comes in. The network spreads common nutrition messages using the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and to SNAP participants and those eligible for it. Decreasing social barriers to food access is just as important as addressing geographical ones.
  3. Maricopa County Department of Public Healthdph
    23% of people eligible for SNAP aren’t participating in the program. Furthermore, while redemption rates are high at some markets, in total, SNAP only makes up 1-2% of market sales. One goal of Maricopa County’s Department of Public Health is to help families increase their purchasing power with SNAP by directing them to healthy food. In part, this means eliminating the stigma of participating in federal benefit programs. More so, it means distributing information to increase awareness of CSAs and markets that accept benefits, in addition to locations, times, and dates. They’re undertaking efforts to get the word out with brochures, flyers, bilingual messages, signage at markets, and visible info in SNAP and WIC offices. Again, meeting the community where they are.
    Cindy Gentry, Food Systems Coordinator of the department says, “Community is the crux of it all. Word needs to get out that SNAP and FMNP are welcome. It’s as basic as distributing flyers door to door, bringing it up at homeowners and neighborhood association meetings, or working with advocates to volunteer and host tables at farmers’ markets to get information about signing up for SNAP.”


Posted in Agriculture, Farm to Institution, Local Food, Policy, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2015 Summer Camps for Kids

It’s time again for the kids to get moving, get active, get creative, and get to learning over summer vacation. Below is a breakdown of local summer camp options in the Phoenix and Tuscon areas.

Select your region:

Tucson & Southern AZPhoenix Area

 Tucson & Southern Arizona

thryve-next-pic- Startup STEM Camp
Give your child the skills they can use in the new economy at Startup STEM Camp by Startup Tucson! Registration is now open for middle and high schoolers who are ready to learn the innovation skills critical to a successful career in our new global economy! Middle School Session:July 20-24. High School Session: July 27-31. More information at

 10525690_10153032742068975_3332732720318649061_nArizona Theatre Company
Summer on Stage: Tucson is a five-week theatre training program that encompasses Summer Backstage and which culminates in fully-realized productions performed on the main stage of the Temple of Music and Art. The program is led by Arizona Theatre Company staff and local theatre teaching artists and provides in-depth, quality training experiences for high school students looking to unleash their creativity over the summer. More information at

Summer_of_STEAM_2014-17Children’s Museum Tucson
This summer enroll in S.T.E.A.M. Camps 2015 where campers will explore the wonders of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics through fun-filled learning all summer long at Children’s Museum Tucson! Subjects include LEGO engineering, Edible Science, and Dinoland. More information at

Riley-2-1024x76891.3 FM KXCI DJ Camp
KXCI is pleased to offer summer dj training programs for youth ages 9-12. This is a hands on class where students receive an introduction to: broadcast equipment and rules, music appreciation and selection, creating music sets, and public speaking. Session 1: Classes will run Monday June 8th – Thursday, June 11th. Session 2: Classes will run Monday July 13th – July 16th. At the end of each session the participating kids will be able to share their skills with the listening community. More information at

534370_10151179536256622_1444005796_nTuscon Museum of Art and Historic Block
Spend your summer making art and exploring the galleries at the Tucson Museum of Art! Inspired by the permanent collection and special exhibitions, the Museum offers summer art classes for ages 5 – 13. Children can discover new places and diverse cultures through visits to the galleries and historic buildings, express their creativity, and produce original works of art. Eight weekly sessions are available, with morning and/or afternoon classes offered. More information at

Playformance offers camps for kids to spend the day doing lots of fun, active, age appropriate activities including games, sports, and creative play! With special guests and activites kids can enjoy activies such as parkour, baseball, kickball, drama, gymasntics, and visal arts. More information at

Education-Camp-6-300x225Reid Park Zoo
Registration is now available for Zoo Summer Camp 2015! Treat your kids to a big adventure this summer without leaving Tucson. The Zoo offers action-packed day camps for kids who will enter grades 1-6 in the fall.  Games, crafts, scavenger hunts, and opportunities to meet Zoo Keepers–and even help out Behind the Scenes–make this camp unlike any other. More information at

juice-box-summer-camp-150x150The Juciebox
Have a budding young artist at home? Need a cool, creative alternative for the hot summer days in Tucson? We have the place for you! Camps are available in one week increments. Half day sessions from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm or 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. All materials are included in the camp cost. More information at

SMF_PageBanner_V2Harkin’s Theatre Summer Movie Program
If its summertime, that means blockbuster movies and the Harkins Summer Movie Fun program for kids. For more than 35 years, Harkins Theatres has brought back some of Hollywood’s best family films to keep kids entertained and cool during the summer. Kids can enjoy a movie a week for 10 weeks, for less than $1 per film. (All adults must be accompanied by children.)  More information at

??????????Tucson Botanical Garden
Plant Power Summer Camp is back! Join Tucson Botanical Garden for a week-long exploration of plants, biology, and natural history. Campers will gain a renewed admiration for nature at a tranquil setting in the heart of Tucson. Dates:June 1-5 (Grades 1st – 3rd) and June 15-19 (Grades 4th – 6th). More information at

1013246_901556379869392_4223151060014135734_nThe Mini Time Machine Museum
The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures offers two summer programs to keep kids ages 5 through 12 engaged and stimulated during the summer months. Our week-long morning camps are designed for ages 5-7 or 8-12. During a week-long summer camp, kids will work towards creating their very own miniature in accordance to the week’s theme. ClubHOUSE is a weekday afternoon program created to provide families the flexibility to drop the kids off for a few hours here and there or to add on to our morning camps for full day coverage. More information at

kids-swimming-448x150Summer Camp J
Summer Camp J 365 offers a little bit of everything including Early Childhood Camps for ages 2-5, Traditional Day Camps for those entering grades K-11, Sports Camps, Excell Tri Training included in Sports and Athletic Camps (Gr. 4+), Leaders in Training Camp for teens entering grade 9 and Specialty Camps for various ages. More information at

medievalcamp_shield-and-field_savedforwebWaldorf School
Keep your children engaged this summer with Tucson Waldorf School’s summer programs. Waldorf School is excited to offer weekly summer day camp programs for children from preschool to Grade 8. Creative opportunities in a safe and nurturing environment consistent with all of the elements parents love about Waldorf Education. More information at

clay-coopTucson Clay Co-op
Summer Clay Camp at the Tucson Clay Co-op includes wheel throwing, hand building, and sculpture for children 6 to 12 years old. Each educational and fun-filled 2-week session ends with a party and exhibit of the children’s work. Cost: 2 weeks $120. Ages: 6-12. 2-week sessions held on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 9 a.m.-noon. More information here.


 Phoenix Area

sunraysThe Arizona Sunrays
Starting July 1: ‘Supercamp’ at Arizona Sunrays Gymnastics & Dance Center- Ages 3 to 13 can enjoy summer camp days filled with gymnastics, dance, karate, sports, special guests, a bounce house, and much more at The Arizona Sunrays.   Or on July 5, 12, 19, 26 – Family Tumble Time where children, ages 1 to 12, are invited to come out and play on the various pieces of gymnastics equipment and in foam pits, jump up and down on trampolines, and enjoy unstructured exercise/play. More information at (602) 992-5790 or

vyt-summer-camp_16apr2014Valley Youth Theatre
Valley Youth Theatre’s Education Department provides two types of fun-filled educational camps in downtown Phoenix.  Summer Camp is a four week long camp that includes a final day performance. The first sessions begin on June 1st and the second session begins on July 6. More information at (602)-253-8188 or

unnamedThe Arizona Animal Welfare League & Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
The AAWL and SPCA have expanded their unique, animal-themed day camps with more classrooms and opportunities for hands-on exploration this summer. Week-long sessions are offered for children ages 3 – 17 and cover a range of topics from animal care, veterinary medicine, responsible pet ownership and wildlife education. More information and registration at

HubbardHubbard Swim School and Sports Camp
Hubbard Family Swim Schools’ three Valley locations – in Phoenix, Peoria, and Mesa – offer helpful “Four-Day Blitz Lessons” all summer long starting on May 18. These weekly swim lessons occur on four consecutive days in one specific week. More information at Hubbard Sports Camp is for children ages 4 ½ to 13. It is a co-ed, multi-sport summer camp offering 11, one-week sessions from May 26 – Aug. 7. Dates vary by location. Campers enjoy soccer, basketball, volleyball, baseball, archery, swimming and many other fun, indoor and outdoor games and activities. More information at (602) 971-4044 or

25% Localist Discount to Camp Audubon for kids!

Audubon Arizona
Audubon Adventures is a week-long, nature-focused day camp in Phoenix capped with a one-night camp-out on Thursday night at Camp Colley in Payson.  Transportation to the camp-out and all camp equipment is provided.  The camp is open to all rising 5th and 6th graders. More information at

WebSite_002Missoula Children’s Theatre Camp
Presented by the West Valley Arts Council, Missoula Children’s Theatre Camp is a renowned children’s summer theatre program offering youth an opportunity to perform under the direction of professional tour actors/directors. In order to enroll, all children must be ages 6 to 18 years old. Auditions are on Monday, June 8th at 10am. More information at, or call (623) 935-6384.

dbg-150x150Desert Botanical Garden
Every day is an adventure as Desert Botanical Garden campers become scientists as they use their powers of observation in the classroom and on the trail to learn about the world around them. Each day brings new adventures in outdoor experiences, children’s literature, free-choice learning, art projects and more! Snacks are provided. Programs provided for children ages 4-12. More information at

camp zooCamp Zoo at the Phoenix Zoo
Kids can spend summer and winter breaks at the Zoo with Camp Zoo! Camp Zoo at the Phoenix Zoo offers children ages kindergarten through 8th grade an opportunity to explore nature and the zoo in a fun, hands-on and exciting way. More information at

arizona-science-center-kids-150x150Arizona Science Center
Arizona Science Center’s CAMP INNOVATION Summer Camps in 2015 inspire creativity, develop critical thinking and problem solving skills and help inspire and engage the next generation of innovators and scientists. From learning about the gross eruptions in a human stomach, testing robots, becoming a ‘Do It Yourselfer’, researching and learning about weather phenomenon, to hand-on lab work extracting DNA with scientists and neurosurgeons, CAMP INNOVATION 2015 has a camp for all ages, 3-14! ? More information at

PCA_SummerCamp_WebPromo1Phoenix Center for the Arts
Rather than focusing on just one artistic medium, Phoenix Center for the Arts present a well-rounded artistic experience that encompasses many different art forms, both visual and performance-based. They offer two-week camp sessions so your child can dance, sing, draw, and dramatize the summer away! Grades K-6. More information at

Arigon-Starr_superInd_cutout3Heard Museum
Bonanza Educational has partnered with the Heard Museum to provide a one-of-a-kind summer program for children ages 7-13 with four components of fun based on the exhibit Super Heroes: Art! Action! Adventure!, opening May 16 and on display this summer. The one-week workshop will be offered four times in June. Each session is the same. Each will be held from 8:30 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. More information at here.

Multicultural Theatre Camp is back again! In 2001, the Herberger Theater Center began a collaboration with Free Arts for Abused Children to heal young lives through the performing arts.  Teens from group homes, shelters and treatment facilities throughout Maricopa County have an opportunity to create and experience the arts through a two-week theater camp at the Herberger Theater Center. More information at

 Arizona-Braodway-Theatre-Camp-150x150Arizona Broadway Theatre 
Arizona Broadway Theatre Academy for Young Performers provides children interested in the performing arts the opportunity to explore their creativity and expand their imagination. All classes focus on acting, music and movement instruction. Classes are great for beginners, but also effective for those with theatre experience. All classes focus on acting, music and movement instruction.  Five sessions available (based on age). More information at

 national comedy theatreNational Comedy Theatre
Improv camps starting on June 8 and continuing until the last session on July 20th. There are sessions availble for kids, tweens, and teens. More information at

Screen-Shot-2014-05-20-at-5.34.27-PM-150x150Peaceful Warrior Martial Arts
Children ages 5 to 13 learn new skills, make new friends and have hours of fun in a safe and controlled environment. Karate Camps are a great way for a beginning child to build basic martial arts skills or for the experienced martial artist to better their skills. Camp participants gain life-skills like problem solving, conflict resolution, respect, discipline and confidence. Hours of fun are spent challenging kids both mentally and physically. More information at

AZR-10-yearAZ on the Rocks
Campers will spend their day: ROCK CLIMBING, YOGA, GYMNASTICS, PLAYING GAMES, AND OTHER FUN ACTIVITIES. AZ on the Rocks’ high energy, well qualified counselors will help your child build new friendships, discover new interest and improve self-esteem, all in an inviting environment. No experience is required. AZ on the Rocks camps focus on movement, physical activity and having fun. This camp does not teach children how to be professional climbers or to be at a high performance level in any of the activities. More information at

FlipDunk Sports is 19,000 sq.ft. of indoor, high-flying fun! It’s a one-of-a-kind recreational experience that offers fitness activities for all ages and skill levels found nowhere else in the Valley. You’ll literally be bouncing off the walls! With trampolines on the floors and walls, bungee trampolines and tumble tracks with basketball hoops for a slam dunk finish, the sky’s literally the limit at Flip Dunk Sports. See class information at

Posted in Arizona, Exploring Arizona, Go Local Guides, Greater Phoenix, Tucson & Southern Arizona | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Simple Decadence

Simple Farm 1

Image via The Simple Farm

If you haven’t yet experienced the divine caramel goodness from The Simple Farm, now is time. Handmade in small batches from the milk of the farms’ Nubian goats, The Simple Farm’s caramel treats are made from only the best ingredients – sweet goat’s milk from their own hand milked herd, organic butter, cream and non-GMO light organic corn syrup along with fair trade Madagascar Bourbon vanilla. Their caramel story began with a visit to France, and transformed into a weekly process in which owner Lylah Ledner, her husband and a group of volunteers hand made creations three to four days a week to produce soft, buttery and creamy goat milk caramels.

Simple Farm 3

Image via The Simple Farm

Located smack dab in the middle of Scottsdale suburbia, past the freeways and busy shops, you’ll find the farm that is home to the darling dairy goats and a three-acre farm loaded with beautiful vegetable, herb and flower gardens. In 2014, their caramels gained national recognition with the Good Food Awards and are now available across the valley as well as in  a variety of upscale markets in Arizona, California, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington. Besides making caramels, The Simple Farm also grows and offers a seasonal CSA program that provides an opportunity for those who haven’t yet started their own gardens to enjoy a fresh bounty from their farm’s gatherings. Be sure to check out their website to read more about their story and where you can pick up a simply divine treat.

Written by Somlynn Rorie

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City of Phoenix Approves Contract with Wist Office Products


Last week, the City of Phoenix unanimously voted to approve a contract with Wist Office Products, a locally-owned office supply company based in Tempe, Arizona. This new partnership is great news for Arizona as it will keep dollars circulating in the local regional economy and create jobs.

In a statement, Phoenix Councilman Bill Gates applauded the new contract with Wist Office Products. “This contract will save the city $320,000 per year and will keep more taxpayer dollars in Arizona, supporting the local economy,” said Councilman Gates. “Congratulations to Wist on the contract award and to the city for finding additional savings that can be used for essential city services like police, fire, parks and libraries.”

In an email, Ian Wist, owner of Wist Office Products, mentioned that because of the contract with the City of Phoenix, Wist has created two new positions at their company. These are high quality jobs that are fully benefited as well. It goes to show that when cities work to keep procurement dollars in the local economy, they are directly responsible for creating jobs. 

Local First Arizona applauds any efforts of local governments to keep their dollars in the local economy! Studies have shown that when awarding government agency procurement contracts, local suppliers and businesses generate dramatically greater local economic activity than their chain competitors.

Wist StudyThe 2007 study by Civic Economics Procurement Matters: The Economic Impact of Local Suppliers analyzed the economic impact of a procurement contract made with an Arizona-based independent office supplier (Wist Office Products), a chain office supplier with a local presence (Office Max), and a chain office supplier with no local presence (Staples):

“For example, assume a single government entity in the State of Arizona purchases $5 million worth of widgets each year. If that contract were made through Office Max Contract, only $580,000 would remain in the state of Arizona at the end of the year. If the same contract were made through Wist or a similarly situated local supplier, an additional $1 million would find its way to the people of Arizona. Finally, by contrast, were that contract made through Staples, only nominal amounts would remain in state… In the case at hand, using the most locally invested of the national chain suppliers, one with a sizable physical presence in the Phoenix area, the local firm generates nearly three times the economic impact.”

The City of Phoenix has been quick to understand the benefits of keeping procurement dollars in the local economy. In 2012, the City of Phoenix adopted a Buy Local policy where for goods and services costing less than $50,000, Phoenix must first offer the contract or job to a company based in Maricopa County or Arizona before offering the work to an out-of-state company. This new policy resulted redirecting millions of taxpayer dollars back into the local economy, creating jobs and supporting vibrant local communities.

The benefits are clear: when cities and states direct their procurement dollars to local businesses, local economies thrive. Read more about the benefits of supporting local businesses.

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Partnering with the Community: Meet Betty!

UntitledThis guest blog is written by Margo Brown from Wave Productivity. Wave Productivity has a program each quarter where they Partner with the Community. This program is to support the endeavors of Valley non-profits who do great work. 

Untitled2This quarter Wave Productivity has partnered with Arizona Animal Welfare League (AAWL) to help Betty the kitty get adopted. Betty has been at the no kill shelter since August of 2014. She’s a quiet cat that needs a quiet calm environment. She would love to be in a home where she is the only cat or with cats that are mature. Her eyes and fur are a soft butter cream color. She is poly-dactyl, she has extra toes on her paws. Not a kitten, Betty is 5 years old, purrfect for someone looking for a mature cat.

So that you can get to know Betty, we helped her answer the questions asked of actors on Inside the Actor’s Studio. At the end of the Actor’s Studio, the host James Lipton asks every guest the following questions. It’s called the Pivot Questionnaire after Bernard Pivot who originally came up with this famous inquiry. Here are the questions and Betty’s answers:

What is your favorite word? Adoption!

What is your least favorite word? Shelter

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Being pet by someone who adores me.

What turns you off? People who aren’t responsible pet owners.

What is your favorite curse word? Woof!

What sound or noise do you love? The can opener.

What sound or noise do you hate? The sound of the shelter cage locking shut.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Catnip Farmer

What profession would you not like to do? Dog Walker

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? You were the best cat a person could ever have!

Betty has been at the shelter for almost a year.

Please consider adopting Betty or sharing this blog with someone who is looking for a pet. You can find more pictures of Betty by following the Wave Productivity facebook page 

Visit Betty’s AAWL page at!

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