A New Favorite Arizona Getaway Location

Earlier this month, Local First Arizona took a group of Localists on a weekend getaway to Ajo, Arizona! This guest blog post was written by Rexomatic Productions:

La Siesta Motel

La Siesta Motel

Ok we now have another favorite Arizona get-away location – – Ajo Arizona. What a beautiful place and what great hosts we had. Thanks to Kimber at Local First Arizona for inviting us to discover Ajo.

We arrived at the La Siesta Motel on Friday afternoon after about a 2 hour drive from Phoenix and checked into our Cabin. We really liked La Siesta with their cool old school AZ vacation vibe, swimming pool, tennis court, shuffle board, ping pong and great landscaping. La Siesta is adjacent to Route 85, but the cabins are tucked away behind the motel and in front of an RV Park.

We were here for a mountain bike get away, but it would make a great car club, motorcycle and/or songwriters workshop destination (more on the music later).

Ajo Trip 6After checking in we headed downtown to Estrella 100 for dinner and to meet some of our other weekend explorers. The restaurant owner Tom (who happened to be a triathlete) and his wife served up burgers and salads with a great selection of AZ beers. Our friends Lanny and Carol stopped by on the way to Rocky Point.

Aaron, one of our hosts for the weekend outlined the mountain bike routes and the agenda for Saturday and Sunday. We also had a chance to visit with a few Ajo residents about the development projects they were working on and with some of the folks who were going to join us for the mountains bike rides.

Ajo Trip 7

A local artist created this dragon out of bicycle parts!

After dinner we wandered over to the town square for a bike centric art exhibit. Valerie found a bicycle dragon.

We started Saturday morning with hearty breakfast burritos from the Oasis restaurant at the downtown square followed by a tour of the town. Aaron and his partners are working hard to refurbish and restore the entire downtown square. It is a pretty amazing project. They have already refurbished the old high school into apartments/studios for artists and are completing a retreat complex with the other schools.

Ajo Trip 3At about 3:00 pm we met downtown to ride out to the mountain bike trails, and they were beautiful! Miles and miles of trails in every direction. A mountain bikers dream! We split into two groups – the fast intermediate riders and the rest of us who like to pace ourselves. (i.e. stop and take photos).

Note: We need to get a mountain bike for Kimber. She was a natural on a borrowed bike. The desert was extremely green with all of this rain during our monsoons. We had great support on the ride, thanks to our Ajo hosts.

Ajo Trip 5

Downtown Ajo

After the ride we headed back to the La Siesta for Carne Asada Tacos and music by Cliff (guitar and vocals) and his wife Tera (cello) the owners of La Siesta out on the patio under the stars. These two twenty-something artists make a great duo. Cliff has a small recording studio in the motel. We think La Siesta is a natural for songwriters.

7:30 am Sunday Morning donuts and coffee at La Siesta and we all jumped on bikes to ride out of town toward the Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge. Another great mountain bike ride with lots of washes and rolling hill jeep paths . Almost lost it on a 2 foot drop that surprised me, then I heard Valerie yell behind me, “Cowabunga!!!!! That was so cool!!!” We both made through okay without going over our handlebars. After reaching the Wildlife Refuge, we opted for the fast road back into town.

All in all we had a great time. We will be back.

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Green Living Gift Guide Connects Local Businesses with Holiday Shoppers

This guest post is brought to you by Green Living Magazine:

Green Gift Guide Flyer 2014-11 1Since its inception in 2010, Green Living magazine has dedicated the pages of our magazine to local thought leaders in the sphere of environmental awareness as well as innovators in the green industry from health and wellness to products and services. We are passionate about bringing our readers the most up-to-date information on environmental issues including water conservation, energy, wildlife preservation and beyond. We are grateful to have formed so many wonderful partnerships with other locally owned companies in the Valley and state, many of who also have a vested interest in environmental issues and the preservation of our planet.

We are happy to be partnering with Local First this holiday season to offer its members a special rate for our special advertising gift guide. We this is perfect place to showcase your holiday-themed ad as well as present some of the hottest services and products that can serve as great green gifts. In line with Local First’s Localist philosophy, we strongly believe in local businesses supporting one another as well.

We are constantly evolving, which includes further development of our web and social media presence. In between each month’s issue, these platforms give us an opportunity to bring new content to our readers as well as showcase our advertisers in additional avenues.

The holiday gift guide for the November and December issues offers ideal ad placement. With the special rates we’re offering for Local First members, we hope you’ll come join Green Living magazine today!

Green Gift Guide Flyer 2014-11 2

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Shop Local. Dine Local. Bank Local.

shop local dine local bank local

RepublicBankAz at the Chandler Business Expo

Local First Arizona member RepublicBankAz is walking the walk when it comes to being a Localist. CEO Ralph Tapscott penned this letter to 400 business owners in his neighborhood:

Dear Business Owner,

I have recently had the pleasure to meet Kimber Lanning with the Local First Arizona organization. The principles that this organization supports have prompted me to consciously consider where I shop, dine and spend money in general. Whenever possible, I choose to eat at locally owned restaurants, shop at locally owned home improvement stores and so on.

Why do I make these choices? First, the service level and products are great, but I am also choosing to help a local business person. It has been proven that every dollar spent locally has three times the impact on the local economy. Locally owned businesses give back to the community, provide jobs, spend more and care more about their community.

You run a local business. Your taxes, payroll and community contribution help support our local community. You know the importance of supporting local businesses which, in turn, helps the community as a whole. As a business owner, you know that many local businesses are the “David’s fighting the Goliath’s” of this world. Too often, we don’t notice and value other locally owned businesses as they struggle to compete against large corporations.

This same principle holds true for banking. RepublicBankAz is the $90 million bank fighting the trillion dollar giants. We are predominantly a small business bank owned by 300 investors who are largely your friends and neighbors. Please join us in making a difference in Phoenix by shopping, dining and banking local – RepublicBankAz. We have been your neighbor since 2007.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can help convert you to a “localist”.


Ralph E. Tapscott
President and CEO

Thanks Ralph for helping to spread the word about the impact of supporting local businesses! It’s especially true that by moving your money to a local bank, you are making a big move to support local businesses and the community. Everyone wins when we make the commitment to support our neighbors, whether it’s the corner market, the local restaurant, or your community bank.

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Good Food Finder Now an Initiative of Local First Arizona

[ARIZONA-J-0002] Salt River ValleyArizona’s local food and agriculture economy is one of the most biodiverse in the nation, yet many Arizonans are unaware of the thousands of local food producers in their own backyards.

Enter Good Food Finder (GFF), Arizona’s interactive online database of local foods. GFF is a statewide, web-based directory of Arizona farms, food crafters and local markets, established to tell their stories and promote food diversity. The goal of GFF is to provide a centralized online gathering space where anybody can learn about and connect with their local food providers, and help to disseminate local food products as widely as possible.GoodFoodFinderrLogo

Local First Arizona (LFA) is proud to partner on this initiative, as it represents an important cornerstone piece in our commitment to growing Arizona’s local food economy. By providing this information to consumers in an interactive, easy to use fashion, we can help to build visibility and demand for good food on behalf of local food producers across the state.

Natalie Morris, the founder of this statewide food directory, is an Arizona native and formally trained culinarian who earned her Masters of Arts in Food Culture and Communications from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy. In 2012, she was awarded the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Fellowship grant for the Borderlands Food and Water Security program at the Southwest Center within the University of Arizona. In September of 2012, she utilized this funding to design and launch the Good Food Finder website. Natalie is currently teaching in the Maricopa Community College’s Sustainable Foods Program and focusing on writing her first book on Arizona’s culinary heritage.

GFF now hosts nearly 1,000 local food providers, approximately 4,500 varieties of food, and almost 100 community resources to support local food providers and help consumers identify sales outlets. Users can search the directory by item or producer then use the Buyers Guide, the Eat Local Guide and the Resources page to find markets, restaurants and further education—all located in the state of Arizona.

gff User StickerMoving forward, the LFA team plans to throw the full weight of resources at our disposal to updating the site and ensuring data is accurate and useful to the user; we have even taken on new staff specifically to work on the research and distillation of information on the local food economy.

Our first priorities for the site are: to grow available information on the site by adding new food sources from across the state, to update information, and to optimize the database’s search functionality. We also aim to make a more consumer-friendly experience to help everyday folks to eat better, locally!

We have big plans for the future of GFF! These include creating a plugin widget for community partners who wish to host local food information on their own websites as well as adding special designations to the listings such as food safety & quality certifications and recognition programs, such as Slow Food’s Ark of Taste. In the near future, we will also create a data-filtering system to allow for location-based searches, and the option to browse by categories, much like on our own Statewide Local Business Directory.

What good food are you looking for? Give us a test run at www.goodfoodfinder.com and shoot an email to goodfoodfinder@localfirstaz.com with any suggestions you may have to improve this resource.


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Holiday Shopping Road Trip to Tucson

Looking for a different holiday gift buying experience? Join Local First Arizona on Saturday, November 22nd for our 2nd Annual Holiday Shopping Road Trip to Tucson! Local First staff will be your tour guides to some of the great shops that the Old Pueblo has to offer, where you can find treasures for everyone on your list.

Artisans MarketThe tour begins at the Holiday Artisans Market at the Tucson Art Museum. Over 100 of the Southwest’s best artisans set up shop in the Museum’s courtyards to exhibit and sell their work.  The Museum will be offering free admission so you can spend time perusing the exhibits, visiting the Museum gift shop and checking out El Nacimiento, a traditional Mexican nativity scene.

At your leisure you can walk across the street to told town artisanshe Old Town Artisans Center that is home to a variety of eclectic shops including jewelry, art, gifts, vintage clothing and more. Stroll through the shops in this historic building and you will see original ceilings made of saguaro cactus ribs, packing crates, and whiskey barrel staves with remnants of imported wallpaper and gold-leaf mouldings. Enjoy lunch at your choice of La Cocina, Café a la C’Art or food trucks which will be at the Holiday Artisans Market.

sunshinemileNext we’ll hop back on the shuttle and head to the Sunshine Mile, a Modernist architecture and great shopping destination. This two mile strip is lined with a variety of shops including Arte de la Vida, Picante, Little Bird Nesting Company, Yikes Toys and Deco Boutique Shop for books, artisan housewares, antiques and collectables, clothing, toys, jewelry and more.

This trip is designed so that attendees can visit the shops of their choice. Timeline is as follows:

7:30 a.m Meet at the Arizona Grand Resort, 8000 S. Arizona Grand, Phoenix, AZ 85004 to board shuttle and leave for Tucson at 8:00 a.m.

10:00 a.m. Arrive at the Holiday Artisans Market at the Tucson Art Museum. Shoppers can walk to nearby Old Town Artisans center. Enjoy lunch at your leisure.

2 p.m. Board shuttle to go to the Sunshine Mile.

4 p.m. Depart Tucson to arrive in Phoenix at 6 p.m.

Grab aBuyLocalMonthAZ friend, skip the stress of the mall and join in our road trip to whittle down that growing holiday gift list while supporting locally owned businesses. Cost per person is $30 which will cover transportation to and from Tucson in a comfortable shuttle bus. You are welcome to bring multiple guests but space is limited. Click here to RSVP or email Helene@localfirstaz.com with any questions. Check out a recap of last year’s trip!

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Throwback to 2005: The First Ever Certified Local Fall Festival

Ten years ago, a brand new organization banded together with 30 local businesses to bring about the first ever Certified Local Fall Festival in November, 2005.
Fall Festival 2014 Throwback 2005

It was a beautiful, sunny day in Phoenix at the Duck and Decanter, where nearly 1,800 attendees perused the local vendors, enjoyed food samples from local restaurants, and visited with the community.


A scene from the 2005 Certified Local Fall Festival

Local First Arizona, then known as Arizona Chain Reaction, was a brand new organization on the scene but had already garnered attention from local business leaders. At the time, Director Kimber Lanning was the owner of an independent record store and an art gallery, and had grown frustrated with the lack of awareness from consumers about the effects of their spending habits. She also noticed a “brain drain” in Phoenix, where young people were leaving for other cities like Austin and Portland, and that local governments were handing out tax dollars to lure big box corporations rather than invest in the local community. Kimber founded Local First Arizona to combat these issues and to build community prosperity and pride across Arizona. 

Ten years later, the Certified Local Fall Festival has grown into a beloved community event that is expected to attract 10,000 attendees to downtown Phoenix.

Fall Festival 2014 Ten Years Later

Over 100 local businesses will participate in this year’s festival and will provide a variety of kids activities, food samples, and unique wares for sale. There will be live music all day from some great local bands, and a beverage garden filled with exclusively Arizona-produced beer, wine, and spirits.

You won’t want to miss the awesome local-fest! Click here for more information, or click here to RSVP on Facebook!

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Food Day 2014: Join the Movement



This Friday, October 24th, more than 8,000 events will be held nationwide in recognition of National Food Day 2014. The number of events has grown from 3,200 in 2013, more than doubling the event’s reach!


Food Day’s mission is to inspire Americans to change their diets and our food policies. Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are among the biggest health problems that relate to the typical American diet, costing Americans over $150 billion dollars per dietyear [ref]. Not only is the typical American diet unhealthy, but also negatively affects the environment.


Celebrate, learn, and join the movement to end diet related health problems, promote sustainable food systems, and utilize our national resources to end hunger, low wages, and inhumane conditions for the farm animals – – and improve YOURS and your children’s lifestyle.


Local First Arizona will be participating in the action at the “Get Growing, Get Healthy, Get Real” Phoenix Food Day Celebration. Come check out, and support, healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced food at the Cesar Chavez plaza in downtown Phoenix starting at 10am to 2pm.


Don’t miss out, Arizona will be hosting five more events across the state:

Go Local, Eat Real, Get Healthy
            Healthy, affordable, sustainable potluck and food film 6pm-9pm
12:00pm-3:00pm Chandler, AZ

Food Day at Desert Mission Food Bank
            Bringing the community together to celebrate a healthy lifestyle. Activities
           include a healthy cooking demonstration.
10:30am-2:00pm Phoenix, AZ

The Dhaba on Food Day
            Eat REAL, certified, healthy, sustainable food
11:00am-9:30pm Tempe, AZ

UA Food Day 2014
             Bringing together University of Arizona and the Tucson community to celebrate
a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food.
10:00am-2:00pm Tucson, AZ

Food Demo & Taste Testing
             Food demo, taste testing, and nutritional resources outside the Coconino County
Public Health and Community Services office.
11:00am-1:00pm Page, Arizona





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Member Spotlight: Flagstaff Jean Company

This is a northern Arizona member spotlight for Flagstaff Jean Company in Flagstaff


The Flagstaff Jean Company is dedicated to helping women and juniors find the perfect pair of jeans at prices suitable for every budget and sizes for every body shape. Serving customers at the Aspen Place at The Sawmill in Flagstaff since 2011, this locally owned company specializes in everyday basics, ranging from tops and jewelry to premium denim. Their recent merge with Flagstaff Jean ‘The Rack’ has expanded the discounted brand options available to customers.

However, Flagstaff Jean Company far exceeds customer expectations by offering additional services to ensure the perfect fit. Those services include free jean fittings and free personal shopping, as well as discounted jean hems. The trained and knowledgeable staff is committed to helping customers find a fit that leaves them feeling polished and confident based on their personal style.

FlagstaffJeanCo3While committed to providing an exceptional experience for customers, Flagstaff Jean Company has also taken on the role of a contributing citizen who values the improvement of our community. Each month, they sponsor one local charity and promote it through creative marketing efforts. At the end of each month, Flagstaff Jean Company donates $1,000 to that charity. October’s appointed local charity is the Flagstaff American Cancer Society. Upcoming charities include Hope Cottage, Flagstaff Family Food Bank and Sunshine Shelter.

FlagstaffJeanCo1The remainder of October will focus on continuing to raise awareness for the fight against breast cancer. Located at the Aspen Place at 319 S. Regent Street #203, the Flagstaff Jean Company invites you to stop by and support this cause. Each day in October, the first customer of the day will win something from Flagstaff Jean Company and all customers have the opportunity to pop a pink balloon to win a $5, $10 or $25 gift card that can be used right away. Their hours are Monday through Thursday 10am-7pm, Friday & Saturday 10am-8pm and Sunday 12pm-6pm. For more information, call (928) 226-7600 or visit their website at www.flagstaffjeanco.com.

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AWGA Celebrates 6th Festival at the Farm

Sunglow Ranch B&BArizona Vineyards and Wineries are growing in number, and are even earning international acclaim. At nearly 100 vineyards and wineries currently in AZ, there are opportunities across the state to enjoy, and purchase your wine—and do it locally.


The Festival at the Farm is an event sponsored by the Arizona Wine Grower’s Association, which is held at the historic The Farm at South Mountain. Come down and learn more about the Arizona wine production, enjoy wine tastings and a picnic lunch, and participate in the live or silent auctions on November 14th-15th.

You can buy tickets now for $65, or $75 at the door.

Don’t forget to check out Local First Arizona members at the event:

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Home Is Where the Heart Is

arizona-home-care-logoWhen unpredicted events happen to those we love, we yearn to provide the best care possible. One option that may be overlooked in the frenzy of urgent decisions and good intentions is the concept of home care. Home infusion therapy is a welcome option for children and adults with health issues who are comforted by the familiarity and warmth of home. Arizona Home Care offers home therapy and care to assist patients with prescribed medical treatments in the comfort of their home. In cooperation with physicians, a care plan is designed that specifies the type of infusion therapy required and the duration of the treatment.

AZ Home Care peopleExamples of home infusion provided by Arizona Home Care include: Chemotherapy, Antibiotics, Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN), Hydration, Pain Control, Line Maintenance, Growth Hormone, and Anticoagulation Therapy. With careful assessment and evaluation, Arizona Home Care’s skilled nursing professionals administer medications, are equipped to manage the most complex therapies, and are trained to educate the patient and/or caregivers on the various aspects of infusion therapy.

Arizona Home Care is recognized for their excellent patient outcomes and have been chosen as preferred providers for many of the Valley’s premier hospitals and healthcare networks. Visit Arizona’s Home Care’s website to learn more: www.azhomecare.com

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