Going Green & Saving Green

Want to be a better steward of the environment?  Our Independents Week campaign which runs from June 25 – July 4, can help you find goods and services from independent businesses that can help you achieve a greener lifestyle.  Here are some members that are accepting the Golden Coupon, good for 20% off purchases.  Restrictions may apply, so be sure to contact the businesses to find out how they are honoring the discount.GoldenCoupon_2016-FrontPersonal Care: Mass produced soaps and lotions can contain chemicals that aren’t the best for your skin.  Try some of these local companies that focus on natural ingredients.

  • Arizona Handmade Soaps, Online Store
    Peoria based handmade skin-care products. Handmade soap, solid lotion sticks, bath bombs, emulsified sugar scrubs, beard oil & balms, body butters, tub teas and more. We use Shea butter in all our products because of it’s skin-loving properties
  • FlowerSong Soap, Online Store
    Small batch handcrafted cold process soap that gently cleanses without stripping or stressing skin. Cold process method retains moisturizing glycerin and rich emollients. All vegetable oil recipe – palm oil, olive oil, coconut oil, and cocoa butter.
  • Golden Hive, Flagstaff and Online Store
    We are a small family business located in northern Arizona. At the Golden Hive our main goal is to provide quality all natural bee products. We choose organic raw natural ingredients for all our body care and beauty products.
  • Holistic Earth Remedies, Online Store
    Our best sellers are Herbal Muscle Mist, for more than just aches & Pains, and Organic Face Wash with Arizona honey.

silverliningSilver Lining Goods, Online Store
Keep your skin healthy and happy! All local, handcrafted and homemade in my kitchen: organic soaps, all natural deodorants, lip balms and more. Desert soaps including our best-selling Creosote Bush rain in the desert soap, plus ceramic soap dishes to keep your natural soap from getting mushy.

    • SimplyMadeByRo, Online Store
      We specialize in small batch handcrafted soaps, skin care products, bath and body luxuries. Our products are petroleum free, paraben free and pesticide free. We often use our home-grown botanicals and high quality essential oils, extracts and blends to make our gentle safe body care products.
    • Slather Lotions, Online Store
      Natural, high quality & organic ingredients, hand-blended with love.  Holistic face, body & hair care. Products based on the power of plants, skin chemistry & aromatherapy benefits of scent. We believe what is INSIDE a product is more important than fancy packaging on the outside.
    • Spa Essentials by Lola, Online Store, use code ShopLocal for discount
      As a professionally trained aromatherapist, I utilize my training to help others use essential oils safely and create special products for families focusing on natural aromatherapy based skincare. The spa and bath items I offer are of the highest quality, well priced, and without any of the unnecessary chemicals.
    • Strawberry Hedgehog, Online Store
      Luxurious and beautiful organic oils soaps, plus a full line of fabulous facial care and pampering spa-quality body products. We pride ourselves on small batches, high quality ingredients, and no animal byproducts, testing, or synthetic fragrances, parabens, or chemical fillers.
    • Studio11Studio 11 Soaps, Online Store, use code GOLDENCOUPON2016 for discount
      Handmade natural cold process soaps and spa products. Creating high-quality, eco-friendly products in downtown Phoenix since 2002.
    • Udderly Natural Products, Online Store
      We only use whole, pasteurized milk, high end oils (not lard or commercial cooking oils) and make soap the old fashioned way, letting our soap cure for a minimum of 6 weeks! Our lotions follow the same strict guidelines as our soap.

Restaurants: Forty percent of the food produced in the United States ends up in the landfill, so supporting these dining establishments that compost their food waste will help you have a greener meal.

    • Community Cuisine, Phoenix
      Tasty, healthy, organic vegetarian food for all people.
    • Cutting Board Bakery & Café, Mesa
      Creative  menu of plant-based vegetarian and vegan whole food cuisine featuring organic and locally sourced fruits and vegetables, along with fresh juices, gourmet coffees, house-made breads, and freshly baked pastries.
    • House of TricksHouse of Tricks, Tempe
      Serving lunch, dinner and private parties in two turn-of-the-century homes and tree covered patios. Outdoor bar featuring extensive wine list, including over 30 wines by the glass.
    • Mother Bunch Brewing, Phoenix
      We are dedicated to the fine art of craft brewing. Our menu will delight even the biggest foodie in your group. You will find your Mother Bunch experience to be sophisticated, but not complicated!
    • Pizza People Pub, Phoenix
      Our signature pizza dough is made from scratch from our secret family recipe, hand tossed and made to order then baked in our stone deck ovens. You can also enjoy wings, burgers, salads and other pub fare, including gluten-free and vegan options.
    • Urban Beans, Phoenix
      Independent coffee shop utilizing fresh, local, independent suppliers, offering an art filled atmosphere, with clean, cool modernist lines. We serve the finest locally roasted coffees, organic teas, sweets and savories in an eclectic and soothing atmosphere.

Clean Green: These cleaning companies help you improve your eco-footprint by offering natural cleaning products.

Eco Mama products

  • Eco Mama Green Clean, Metro Phoenix
    Eco Mama Green Clean has found that using green cleaning products is the best choice for homes with babies, children and pets.  For people with environmental sensitivities and various allergies, green is the safest way to clean.  Residential, Remodel Clean Up, Small Business.
  • Honest Maids, Metro Phoenix
    We provide detailed house cleaning services for our valued clients in Phoenix and surrounding cities. We offer 100+ point cleaning service compared to 50 by the competition. Our services significant lower than the franchise competition; all while using green, natural and organic options at no extra charge.

    Resale: Purchasing items that have been previously used keeps them out of the landfill and conserves resources that would have gone into making new items.

  • A Second Look, Phoenix
    Find that perfect something in our huge inventory of consignment clothing, accessories, jewelry, and housewares. We have over 25,000 consignors and thousands of items in our inventory.  We also carry a truly impressive selection of jewelry, watches, sunglasses, and hair and beauty products.
  • C&S Sporting Goods, Phoenix
    We are a family owned and operated, new and used sporting goods and fitness equipment store. We have a huge selection of fitness equipment and just about anything you are in need of for your sports enthusiast.
  • Furniture Affair, PhoenixFurniture Affair
    Twenty six year old Furniture Affair consists of fine furnishings and accessories from previous relationships. This includes model home furniture; designer showrooms and unique items resurrected from their shady past…..modern to vintage, choosy to cheap, cutting edge to over the edge.
  • Luv To Save Thrift Store, Phoenix
    Luv to Save is a thrift shop run by Boxer Luv Rescue which rescues homeless Boxers in need, providing shelter and medical care while they wait to be adopted. Stop by to see our ever-changing inventory of clothing, housewares, tools, furniture, bedding and more. Funds raised go directly to the dogs in our rescue.
  • sweetrepeatsSweet Repeats Children’s Resale, Tucson
    Sweet Repeats offers a great selection of trendy clothes, shoes, baby equipment, accessories, toys, games and maternity clothes that are all in excellent condition. We add fresh items to our shelves daily, so our inventory is always changing.
  • WHEAT Clothes Silo, Phoenix
    The Clothes Silo provides the smart shopper with great values in gently used and new designer, casual and professional wear for women. Each piece is just $5. The dollars raised through your purchases help WHEAT provide free, professional clothing to women in need.

    Miscellaneous: Check out these different ways to go green.

  • A&E Recycled Granite, Tucson
    We divert scrap from the countertop fabrication industry from local landfills and recycle it into split stone tiles, pavers and more. Our products contain no VOC’s and are LEED qualifying. Bring the beauty of natural granite into your house while keeping tons of granite from Tucson and Phoenix landfills.
  • EcoTrack Fleet Management , Tucson
    EcoTrack Fleet Management is the leading asset tracking supplier, specializing in real-time decision-making tools for businesses with any size fleet.  We help reduce fuel costs, increase vehicle life, reduce idling and reduce carbon footprint.
  • GreenLivingMagGreen Living Magazine
    Green Living magazine is dedicated to educating, empowering and inspiring our readership to get involved in the movement to save our planet. Green Living wants to reach everyone in the state and serve as true stewards of the planet with our print publication, website and growing social media and events presence.
  • Pop Cycle, Tucson
    We make decorator items featuring vintage imagery of the Southwest and beyond. We have recycled goods from all over the U.S. including wall hangings made from old cabinet doors, purses and apparel made from vintage fabrics and clothing, bags and wallets made from billboard vinyl and more.
  • SunHarvest Solar, Phoenixsunharvestsolar
    SunHarvest Solar is a local, independent, sustainable solar contractor. We are altruistic, ethical, progressive advocates for green energy. We provide complete commercial and residential Solar PV integration.
  • Sun Sprout, Tucson
    Sun Sprout is a local eco-friendly cloth diaper service using high quality natural fabric cloth diaper rental, greatly reducing land fill use with an eco-friendly and sanitary laundry process and efficient delivery that will contribute to the health of babies and ease family expenses.
  • Through the Closet Door, Phoenix
    Personal stylist, personal shopper and wardrobe consultant for women.  I focus on reuse and restyling of what you already own, as well as shopping at local, secondhand stores and sustainable, ethical and environmentally conscious designers and brands.
  • Zoolikins, Scottsdale
    Zoolikins offers parents a variety of natural baby products from cloth diapers, baby carriers, organic layette and wooden toys. Our experienced staff can help you understand products, see and touch with a deep selection of options.
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It begins at the roots

The Root Salon

Image via The Root Salon

The Root Salon is an award winning, up-scale, hair salon in the heart of Central Phoenix specializing in corrective hair color and individually modern hair design by expert stylists. They use the highest quality Italian hair color and offer boutique, take-home hair care products such as ALFAPARF Milano and L’Oreal Expert. The Root Salon’s stylists are expertly trained in the latest techniques including scissor and razor cutting; skilled balayage and foil placement; and the mastery of the perfect blow dry.

All this, combined with amazing dimensional hair color, flawless color correction, and expert gray coverage makes this salon the go to for uncovering your next look. The Root Salon is a wonderful go-to resource in hair beauty and for achieving a hairstyle or color that is sure to have you looking and feeling your best.

participant-2014-listingThe Root Salon is accepting the Golden Coupon during Independents Week, Local First Arizona’s annual summer celebration of local businesses! Save 20% at hundreds of independent businesses across the state June 25 – July 4 with the Golden Coupon. Some restrictions may apply. Get all the details here.

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Two Events Offer Independents Week Fun for Phoenix

LFA 2016 Indie FB banner

Independents Week is just around the corner, and this year, Local First Arizona brings you two exciting events to eat and drink your way through the Week! During Independents Week (6/25-7/4) we encourage you to “go local” by supporting as many locally owned businesses as possible. Join the thousands of consumers and hundreds of businesses who participate in this statewide celebration of the local and independent businesses that are the backbone of the Arizona economy. Plus, make sure to grab some golden coupons at the kickoff event to redeem 20% off at the over 400 participating businesses. Start at our Food Crawl at the Food Hall and end your Indie Week adventure with our Downtown Phoenix Pub Crawl. Find out all of the details below!

Food Crawl at the Food Hall


At this year’s Food Crawl at the Food Hall at DeSoto Central Market, there are many opportunities to win fabulous prizes and gift cards from local businesses! The fun begins on Saturday, June 25th at 5PM, Sign up here

See all the options below, and start planning your strategy to win:

  • Grand Prize: Support your independent businesses by spending the most money throughout the night and get two free tickets to attend the 2017 Devour Culinary Classic. If you’re a card-carrying Localist, you’ll also get bonus prizes of two free tickets to the Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition plus two tickets to Deerhoof at Crescent Ballroom in addition to tickets to the Classic. You can register to be a Localist at the event or online at LocalFirstAZ.com.
  • Explore Phoenix Award: Fill out the entire passport and be entered to win The Independents Package, including 4 tickets to Deerhoof at Crescent Ballroom, a Dinner Date with Devour Chef Stephen Jones of The Larder + The Delta, a $100 gift card to The Gladly, a Localist membership for self or gifting, a pair of tickets to Localist event Private Shopping Hour with Loren North, and a 20% off coupon to the Root Salon.
  • I Dig It: Independents Award: Be the first to complete and turn in your Independents Passport and you will win a $50 gift card to Dig It Urban Gardens.
  • Craft Cocktail Award: Support your independent bartenders (Spend the most $$ at the bar) and win two tickets to the 2017 Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition.
  • RSVP Award: Those who pre-register are entered to win $50 Devour Phoenix Restaurant Coalition member gift card of their choice. Must be present to win.
  • Get Social Award: Get the most likes on an Instagram post at the event and receive a $50 Devour Phoenix Restaurant Coalition member gift card of their choice plus two tickets to Deerhoof at Crescent Ballroom. Must tag #IndieWeekAZ and #AZLocalist in post to win.
  • Must use the tags: #IndieWeekAZ and #AZLocalist

  Independents Week Pub Crawl

Pub Crawl

Celebrate Independence Day early! Sunday, July 3rd at 6PM we’re hitting the streets of Roosevelt Row in Downtown Phoenix for our 4th Annual Independents Week Pub Crawl enjoying $4 libations, live music and prizes along the way! Meet us at DeSoto Central Market for your pub crawl map, golden coupon, and red tickets for your $4 special before moving onto the next stop.

Turn up the volume and play our scavenger hunt game for great prizes, including a bonus prize for the person who brings the most people! Play with your friends, or go for the win solo – either way you’re bound to win big!

Free to attend, open to everyone 21+, participants are responsible for any food and beverages they purchase. Sign up here

$4 Drink Specials Announced!

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Member Spotlight: The Rialto Theatre Foundation

This article was written by LFA Marketing Intern, Alexis Andrews.

The Rialto Theatre is one of the first buildings you see when driving into Downtown Tucson, and it is a beloved community landmark.

The Rialto Theatre is one of the first buildings you see when driving into Downtown Tucson, and it is a beloved community landmark.

Listed as a Top 100 Major Club Venue by Pollstar, and a Best Live Music Venue in Tucson Weekly’s annual Best of Tucson awards, the Rialto Theatre serves as a significant catalyst for the thriving Downtown Tucson area. Since its first opening in 1920, the Rialto has made a lasting impact on the Tucson community.

“A lot of people don’t know that the theatre is a non-profit, so we’re working to raise awareness about how important that is, ” says Julie Ragland, Development Director of the Rialto Theatre Foundation.

The Rialto Theatre Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to preserving the historic theatre and continuing to offer a diverse range of quality performing arts that reflect the unique community of Tucson. The Rialto Theatre Foundation is now involved in bringing in nearly 300 shows annually to the downtown area, including shows at the Rialto, Fox Theatre, Centennial Hall, Club Congress, and the Tucson Convention Center. Around 150,000 people are drawn to these shows annually, including many people from outside of Tucson. These audiences have also been enjoying the many restaurants and shops of the downtown area, contributing a noticeable economic impact thanks to the Foundation.

The R Bar is only a few steps away from the theatre and is a great spot for a drink before or after a show.

The R Bar is only a few steps away from the theatre and is a great spot for a drink before or after a show.

The Rialto partners with several local businesses within the Tucson community as well. Members of the Rialto Theatre Foundation get discounts at local businesses and the R Bar features local beer and spirits. These partnerships allow for local businesses to flourish together.

As Julie says, “The Tucson community is really unique, and also so diverse within itself, and our patronage really embodies that… we truly offer something for everyone. And it’s always fun to see people coming out to enjoy themselves—to leave their worries behind and lose themselves in their favorite music.”


Posted in Arts and Culture, Exploring Arizona, LFA Member Spotlight, Tucson & Southern Arizona | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to win $1,000 in gift cards this summer

passportimagesTucson’s Passport To Local Success shopping crawl is back and better than ever!  The Passport is part of Local First Arizona’s Independents Week celebration.  Visit any of the 20 local businesses listed and receive stamps just for stopping by.  No purchase is required.  A passport with at least 5 stamps can be turned in before July 7th to win great prizes.  The grand prize is a $1,000 local gift card package containing 20 gift cards worth $50 each from participating local business.  The businesses include A & E Recycled Granite, Alfonso’s Olive Oil, Antigone Books, Bookmans Sports Exchange, Borderlands Brewing Company, Caps and More Embroidery, Gourmet Girls Bakery/Bistro, Homestyle Galleries, Hops and Vines (bonus entry!), MAST, Maynards Market, Perri Jewelers, Presidio San Agustin Museum, Queen Creek Olive Mill at LaEncantada, Ritual by Kate’s Magik, Riveted, Sonoita Vineyards (bonus entry!), Sweet Repeats Children’s Resale Boutique, The Rice Bowl and The Running Shop.

hopsandvinesSecond prize is a one night staycation package at the Downtown Clifton Hotel and third prize is a $100 Downtown Tucson Gift Card good at  70+ downtown Tucson businesses.  “The passport is a fun way to visit places you might not be familiar with,” comments CJ Agbannawag, Tucson Membership Coordinator for Local First Arizona.  “Tucson has so many tucked away treasures like the Presidio San Agustin Museum.  In the summer, we want to give folks a little extra incentive to get out there and connect with some great local spots.”  This year’s Passport encourages people to explore all different areas.  The Passport also includes a special Explore Sonoita Wine Country section.  The first two featured stops are Southern Arizona wineries Sonoita Vineyards and Hops and Vines.  Beat the heat by heading down to the cooler weather of Sonoita/Elgin and receive an extra bonus entry for each winery stop.  Fill in the passport with all 20 stops and receive five extra entries.

Borderlands Horchata AleYou can pick up Passports at the Pledge and a Pint Party at Borderlands Brewing Company on Friday June 24th from 4:30 – 7:30pm.  At the party, Tucson’s own Mayor Jonathan Rothschild will be on hand to take the pledge to buy local.  Everyone present who takes the pledge, will get a dollar off their first pint of beer.  Passports will be passed out and folks can pick up golden coupons good for 20% off at hundreds of local businesses.  If you can’t make it to the Pledge and a Pint Party you can also download a passport here or pick up one from any of the participating passport businesses.  Completed passports can be turned back in to a participating business or mailed to Local First Arizona 407 E. Roosevelt St,Phoenix, AZ 85004. Passports can also be turned in to the Local First AZ table at Summer Safari Night at the Reid Park Zoo on Friday, July 1, from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM.  Participants who drop off a passport at Summer Safari night will also receive a bonus entry.

The Passport is part of the celebration for National Independents Week. From Saturday, June 25, through Monday, July 4 Local First Arizona will honor locally owned and independent businesses across the state for National Independents Week. The nation-wide Independents Week campaign, coordinated by the American Independent Business Alliance and also known as “Indie Week,” takes place during the week leading up to Independence Day with the purpose of enlightening consumers to the importance of supporting local businesses. Learn more here.

Posted in Beer Wine and Spirits, Independents Week, Local First Movement, Tucson & Southern Arizona | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

New Pizzeria Opens in Chandler


Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 9.57.49 AMIf you have been searching for a new spot for classic Italian cuisine, look no further than Bella Gusto Urban Pizzeria. This gem recently opened in Chandler’s Warner Plaza, and they are dishing up Neapolitan style pizza and house made pasta, cured meats, and cheeses. They are also serving seasonal wines and craft beers.

This pizzeria is run by Matt Nobile and John Araujo, experienced managers of other restaurants such as the Las Vegas restaurant concepts of Bobby Flay and Mario Batali (managed by Nobile) and Cane Rosso, rated one of Eater National’s 38 Essential Pizzerias in America (managed by Araujo). Nobile stated, “This has always been a dream of John’s and mine, and we’re thrilled to bring it to life in Chandler where residents and visitors will love our modern twist on a traditional concept.”

Bella Gusto offers half off of all beers and house wines from 3:30-6:30 on weekdays, and they also offer food for delivery, pickup, and catered food in their private dining room. You can also order your food online. Their menu includes simple and delicious dishes like caprese salad and pasta carbonara, as well as more complex dishes such as burrata served with kale, apricot jam, rustic bread and a balsamic glaze, and pizza with pancetta, goat cheese, fig jam, mushrooms, arugula, and pickled red onion. Are you hungry yet?

You can visit Bella Gusto Tuesday- Thursday 11am -9pm, Friday and Saturday 11am-10pm, and Sunday from 12pm-7pm. The restaurant is closed on Mondays. They are located at 1964 N Alma School Rd #1, Chandler, AZ, 85224. They can be reached at (480) 696- 4455.

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Let Us Work Together: Improving AZ’s Food System

This blog post was written by LFA Intern, Meredith Marshburn:

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I spent most of my childhood in a comfortable home in North Central Phoenix. My parents cared about my wellbeing and education, I was fed good healthy food (except for the nutella sandwiches), and I have been lucky to travel outside of the country many times. Like many people I know who grew up in relatively privileged positions, I spent much of my life thinking that I should give back to people who have less than me. I felt guilty for what I had been given in my life, and I thought that the best way to make the world a more egalitarian place was to serve as an advocate for others and give as much as I could to deserving causes.


Me with my parents in my grandparents’ backyard

Until I entered Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, I was content with my life plan of using my position in society to help other people. But when I took classes that discussed people with seemingly altruistic intentions just like mine, those individuals were sometimes hurting the cause they believed they were helping.

I saw this phenomenon in many of my classes. I learned about missionaries in Zimbabwe who isolated children from their families and communities by giving them a Western education. I read about doctors and nurses who paraded into Laos to give vaccinations and other forms of medical care without providing context for their actions or obtaining consent. The people providing aid often were helping from a mindset of ethnocentrism. Granted, these people definitely made changes in communities, but the changes that occurred were not completely beneficial. I grew to understand that helping as if you are saving people is simply perpetuating structures of domination that keep certain people in more powerful positions than others.

An aboriginal elder and activist named Lilla Watson found this “savior” phenomenon to be a roadblock in creating change. As people were becoming aware of the impact that racism and colonialism were having on Aboriginal people, many Australians began asking what they could do to help. Lilla and others were frustrated by such questions because they did not feel that they could tell white people what they should do. The Aboriginal activists also saw signs of perpetuated colonial attitudes and structures of dominance in these offers of aid. (International Women’s Network).

The white Australians needed help from the Aboriginal people to free themselves from these attitudes of dominance that they subconsciously held; thus, the challenge was this:  


Presenting in my African history class

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Since learning about these events throughout history, I realized that I need a lot of help unpacking my own perceptions and attitudes about my position in society. If I ever want to have a positive impact, I will need to know 1) if help is even needed 2) what the need is and 3) If the people I am working with will help me better understand how my attitude can be changed in order to help others and myself most effectively.  

As an Intern for Local First Arizona, my first day on the job was attending the Food and Farm Finance Forum. This is an event whose purpose is to involve community members from all aspects of the food system to gather, network, learn, and develop new skills. The event brought together local farmers, restaurant owners, government employees, a USDA representative, public health workers, academics, and AmeriCorps program participants. I found the F.E.A.S.T ( Food, Education, Agriculture Solutions Together) Community Conversation the most memorable. The F.E.A.S.T conversation method allows participants to engage in an informed discussion about agriculture, food, and education in their community, and to work towards solutions that will make their food system more equitable and resilient.  Our particular conversation focused on relationships, institutional dynamics, and current food systems practices that are involved in providing food to people in Arizona. 


Phoenix’s Fresh Express bus, an initiative by Discovery Triangle

In my classes at Willamette University, my peers are passionate about resistance, activism, and reflection, but oftentimes their words come from opinions and lessons learned in school. In nearly all of the discussions taking place in the classroom, the voices of people who have lived experiences to share about the topic at hand are often missing. In some cases, the phenomenon of “saviorism” that Lilla Watson so opposed is hiding under well-meaning words.  This dilemma seems present in nearly every topic discussed, and that includes conversations around food systems. What impressed me most about the Food and Farm Finance Forum was that every person participating in the conversation had opinions about topics because of how their lives related to food systems.  This was so different from the conversations I have about food at Willamette, where most students have not and will not personally understand food insecurity, balancing tight farming budgets, or struggling to find fresh produce within 20 miles of their home. Of course, I have not and likely will not understand those experiences, either. And that is what made the Forum conversations so valuable to me. These people had stories to share about hardship, joy, success, and failure, and I was able to listen and try to wrap my head around the intricacies of these stories that were all new to me.

A teacher talked about the red tape that surrounds integrating local food into Arizona schools. She said there was a lack of processing plants in Arizona, so much of the food produced here has to travel to another state to be processed. In most cases, by the time that food has been processed, it is more cost-effective to bring in food from out of state than the original food grown here in Arizona.12049345_951081115011830_3227616486567253456_n

A farmer discussed the lack of quality in most foods offered to the public. “I don’t even enjoy going to restaurants anymore… The food is nowhere near as good as what I can get from my own farm.” He said there was nothing as flavorful as fresh meat, and that he has been served many disappointing restaurant dishes due to the lack of freshness of the ingredients. The flavorless meat served to the farmer at a restaurant was likely raised in a factory farm before it took a tour around the country to make various stops for processing and packaging. By the time the meat completed its road trip and arrived at a restaurant to be served to the farmer, it will have traveled an average of 1,546 miles. No wonder the farmer’s local fresh meat was more flavorful.  (Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture).

It was also intriguing to watch as such diverse opinions were shared at the Forum. When discussing food accessibility, it was observed by the moderator that many people are quick to identify problems, but it is equally important to create solutions. When identifying problems, people discussed transportation that limits some from traveling to places that sell healthy local food (The USDA recorded more than 6,500 food deserts in 2012), a perception that fresh food is expensive, and cultural norms and advertising that encourage the consumption of highly processed foods and drinks.


Food deserts in America. Image Credit: The Food Access Research Atlas, USDA

Finding concrete solutions to the lack of food access won’t be easy, but it isn’t impossible. Participants proposed bringing healthy local foods to more communities, cultivating  a culture that supports local foods for everyone, and bringing more healthy local food to schools. As we were thinking about the solutions, despite the diversity and experiences of the group members, we realized that what we needed was more voices in the conversation. The most underprivileged populations weren’t present to voice their concerns about quality and accessibility to food in Arizona. One statement by a participant in the conversation that echoes in my head is this: “My goal is to ask people what they need instead of guessing at what they want.”  In order to continue progressing the discussion of accessibility, we have an opportunity to invite people lacking access to healthy, fresh, and local food to join the conversation. But we also have to remain mindful that as we advocate for others, the help we are giving cannot be one-sided. What the F.E.A.S.T. discussion taught me was that the only way we can progress in creating a more equitable world is to ask for help from underprivileged groups in understanding what will benefit them and what privileged people can do to achieve this. In turn, this inclusivity and reciprocal help will benefit society as a whole.

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The Village Eye Works Has Your Eyes Covered

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“They are the first thing you put on in the morning and the last thing you take off at night.” Bob Royden, owner of The Village Eye Works, has lived by this motto since he opened his first store in 1985 when The Village Eye Works first started as a small store in Surprise, Arizona. They have since risen to earn a ranking as one of the top 100 optical shops in the nation and is regarded as having some of the best customer service and eyeglass offerings in town.

The Village Eye Works is a high-end optical boutique with a unique selection of upscale eyeglasses, designer prescription glasses, fashion frames, and stylish sunglasses featuring exclusive brands and contemporary and traditional styles. This local favorite has two locations: Tatum/Shea and 7th St./Bethany Home Road – each location has friendly staff, as well as licensed and certified opticians available to service your eyewear needs. Maintain a crystal clear focus with professional optical service from The Village Eye Works. Eyes are the windows to the soul, but glasses and contact lenses help make everything rosier and clear.

participant-2014-listingThe Village Eye Works is accepting the Golden Coupon during Independents Week, Local First Arizona’s annual summer celebration of local businesses! Save 20% at hundreds of independent businesses across the state June 25 – July 4 with the Golden Coupon. Some restrictions may apply. Get all the details here.

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Independents Week Promises Summer Fun, Local Savings

IndieWeek-2016-Ad-1200x630 (1)

In recognition of National Independents Week, Local First Arizona will honor locally owned and independent businesses across the state from Saturday, June 25, through Monday, July 4. The nation-wide Independents Week campaign, coordinated by the American Independent Business Alliance and also known as “Indie Week,” takes place during the week leading up to Independence Day with the purpose of enlightening consumers to the importance of supporting local businesses.

“Independence Day is a time for us to reflect on what makes our state and country great,” says Kimber Lanning, Director of Local First Arizona. “Arizona’s independent business community is the backbone of our local economy and the driving force behind what makes us proud to call Arizona home. Up to four times more money stays in the local economy when consumers choose an independent business over a national chain. Independents Week is our way of drawing attention to the important role independent businesses play in our daily lives.”

This year’s Independents Week, sponsored by Credit Union West, will feature the Independents Week pledge, the return of the Golden Coupons, and fun events with local businesses and across the state:


Arizonans are encouraged to take the pledge to ‘Buy Local’ and support Arizona’s independent businesses during Indie Week. Anyone can take the pledge by visiting http://localfirstaz.com/independents-week/ and filling out the simple form. Pledgers can choose to publicly have their names listed on the Local First Arizona website or remain anonymous. All pledgers will be entered in a raffle to win a grand prize Prescott staycation package that includes a one night stay for two at the historic Hassayampa Inn, two passes to the Phippen Art Museum, and more.



The popular Golden Coupon, printed this year by Think! Graphic and Printing Solutions, is the ticket to saving 20% off purchases from hundreds of locally owned establishments including auto repairs, home furnishing stores, boutiques, florists, restaurants, yoga studios, nurseries, and more. As of June 14, 2016, over 300 local businesses have signed up to accept the Golden Coupon during Independents Week.

Individuals can simply print out the Golden Coupon from the LFA website or download the coupon on their smartphone and use it at as many participating locations as they please throughout Independents Week. The Golden Coupons present the perfect opportunity for consumers to visit participating stores that they have wanted to try and to find new spots they may not have known about, all while spending locally and saving money. Golden Coupon users will need to ask participating businesses about specific restrictions for using the coupon.

Indie Week 2015 Frances


Independents Week is always accompanied by several events celebrating local businesses throughout the state.

Tucson-Area Events and Promotions

Pledge & A Pint Party: On Friday, June 24, head to Borderlands Brewing Company (119 E Toole Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701) for a special Tucson Independents Week kickoff party. Attendees can take the pledge to shop locally during Independents Week, grab some Golden Coupons, and enjoy $1 off pints of beer. This event is free to attend. More information is posted here.

Passport to Local Success Shopping Crawl: During Independents Week, visit at least five stops on the Local First AZ Passport for free passport stamps and be entered to win the grand prize of $1,000 in local gift cards! At the conclusion of Independents Week, the grand prize winner will be randomly selected from completed passports that have been turned in. All passports must be turned in to Local First Arizona staff or headquarters by July 4. No purchase necessary to participate in this promotion. Participants can download their passport and find a list of participating businesses here.

Summer Safari Nights: Enjoy the Reid Park Zoo (3400 E Zoo Ct, Tucson, AZ 85716) each Friday during cooler evening temperatures with the added benefits of live music, family-friendly animal features, special dining options, and even gift shop discounts. On Friday, July 1, from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM, drop off a completed passport for the Passport to Local Success Shopping Crawl at the Local First Arizona booth to receive a second entry to win the $1,000 gift card grand prize.

Phoenix-Area Events and Promotions

Food Crawl at the Food Hall: Kick of Independents Week in Phoenix on Saturday, June 25, at DeSoto Central Market (915 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004) with this new event. From 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM, attendees will sample special bites from some of the valley’s top chefs. By completing a tasting of the Desoto restaurant concepts, attendees will receive free tickets to a local show, and other prizes throughout the night. Attendees can register for the event in advance by clicking here, those who register in advance will be entered to win more prizes.

The event is free to attend, attendees will be responsible for any food or beverages they consume. Participating restaurants and their specials ($2-$5) include:

  • Desoto Burger Joint: PB&J Sliders
  • Walrus & The Pearl: Blue Point Oysters
  • Adobo Dragon: Oaxacan rice croquette with roasted corn sambal
  • Radish: Mini tostada salad bite with mixed greens, adobo chicken, queso fresco, and watermelon radish on a mini tostada
  • Tea and Toast: 8oz specialty tea
  • Desoto Bar: DeSoto Smash OR Motor Mule sample cocktail
  • The larder + the delta: Pig Ears

Independents Week Pub Crawl: Local First Arizona is taking over downtown Phoenix on Sunday, July 3, for our annual Independents Week Pub Crawl. Attendees can hit the streets with Local First Arizona to visit multiple bars and restaurants in the heart of downtown Phoenix. Festivities will start at Desoto Central Market at 6:00 PM. Subsequent stops include Cafe at Phoenix Public Market, FilmBar Phoenix, Carly’s Bistro, and The Nash. Each local stop along the way will feature one $4 drink special exclusively for attendees. Attendees can participate in a scavenger hunt throughout the evening for the chance to win prizes. Free to attend, guests are responsible for purchasing their own beverages. More details are here.

Find more details on Independents Week at http://www.localfirstaz.com/independents-week/

Official Independents Week hashtag: #IndieWeekAZ 

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Free Social Media and Marketing Workshops Offered to Payson Small Businesses

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In partnership with Local First Arizona, the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, and Too Busy Gals, a series of free social media and marketing workshops will be offered to local businesses in Payson. The first workshop on Wednesday, June 29, will focus on marketing strategies for small businesses, and the second workshop on Thursday, June 30, will feature beginner and intermediate sessions on social media.

“Local businesses in northern Arizona need to be able to market themselves to their local and statewide audiences,” said Cara Corbin, Local First Arizona’s Northern Arizona Director. “Our goal through these workshops is to give local businesses across the state the resources to promote themselves and their towns to a wider audience, so that all of Arizona and beyond can witness the amazing things happening in these communities.”

The workshops will be presented by Too Busy Gals (http://www.toobusygals.com/), a Local First Arizona member and Tucson-based company that trains businesses on social media, customer service, team building, and leadership communication. The workshops are supported through a grant from the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Administration.

The marketing workshop will help local business owners and representatives understand basic marketing principles and give them the tools to evaluate if their current marketing strategies are effectively generating business.

The full-day social media workshops will be offered in two parts. Social Media 101 will be covered in the morning, and will be an introductory course on the best methods for deciding what social media platforms to use based on the business and their needs. Social Media 201 will be offered in the afternoon, and will cover more advanced social media marketing strategies and detail how to maximize marketing results.

Workshop details:

Marketing Workshop
Date: Wednesday, June 29
Time: 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: CABR – Central Arizona Board of Realtors, 600 E State Highway 260, Ste 12, Payson, Arizona 85541
Registration: RSVP is required to [email protected].

Social MediaWorkshop
Date: Thursday, June 30
Location: CABR – Central Arizona Board of Realtors, 600 E State Highway 260, Ste 12, Payson, Arizona 85541

  • 10:00 AM – 12:00 AM – Social Media 101: An introductory course to using social media platforms for your business, and deciding what’s best for your business.

  • 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Social Media 201: A second level course that will help you analyze your social media marketing and make sure you are maximizing your results.

Registration: RSVP is required to [email protected].

Those interested in more information on either workshop can contact Jaime at the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce at 928-474-4515.


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