Solar Solutions for Northern Arizona

EV Solar Products is a locally owned business in Chino Valley, providing solar energy solutions to Yavapai County and Northern Arizona since 1991. Over the years, EV Solar has supplied hundreds of solar electric systems for homes, farms, and businesses.

“EV Solar installed our 1400 amp system with generator back-up in 1998 to provide 100% of the power requirements of our entire ranch (2 barns, house & well). The system has worked flawlessly, and the few times we’ve needed advice, assistance or service, the staff has been highly responsive and professional. We unequivocally recommend them.”
- Suncrest Ranch, Jan & Art Fetter, DVM, PhDev solar

They specialize in custom-designed solar electric systems. They also provide domestic and small business solar hot water systems and solar electric systems for remote water pumping. EV Solar features a full line of products, ranging from solar panels to components for solar electric and hot water systems.

EV Solar Product’s website easily provides the information needed to design and price your solasystem. If you are interested in installing solar energy for your home or business you can learn more at or you can contact them at (928) 636-2201. They are located at 2655 AZ-89, Chino Valley, AZ 86323. Their office hours are Monday thru Friday, 11AM to 5PM.

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Fuerza Local Spotlight: Priscyla Galindo and Melissa Ruiz, Inner Shot

–> En Español <–

1896890_1455563221428404_411936189940205784_nPriscyla Galindo and Melissa Ruiz are the owners of Inner Shot, a mobile coffee bar that delivers a selection of handcrafted locally-roasted coffee, hot chocolate, teas, and refreshing smoothies. Priscyla and Melissa pride themselves in providing quality products crafted using the freshest local ingredients available. But above all, they strive to give each customer a unique and authentic service experience – not just a great cup of coffee, a true “cup of joy”. Priscyla and Melissa are members of the most recent cohort of Fuerza Local’s Business Accelerator program, which graduated in June 2015.

11148378_1442062199445173_2001124577351277653_n“What inspired us to start Inner Shot was a series of events. My parents worked very hard to build a future for our family. Along the way my father started a business. My sister and I became involved and learned many aspects of how to run a business and we became interested in the coffee industry. Like a saying goes, “While you’re busy making other plans, life happens.” The initial plans did not go through, but we decided to continue despite the challenging circumstances and make it happen for our family. The concept evolved to what it is now, Inner Shot Coffee Catering.”

To learn more about the Fuerza Local Business Accelerator Program, click here.


Priscyla Galindo Y Melissa Ruiz, Inner Shot

11390160_1442093959441997_8016606299244358012_nPriscyla Galindo y Melissa Ruiz son dueñas de Inner Shot, un café bar móvil que ofrece una selección de café artesanal localmente tostado, chocolate caliente, té y batidos refrescantes. Priscyla y Melissa se enorgullecen de ofrecer productos de calidad hechos con los ingredientes más frescos y disponibles localmente. Pero, sobre todo, se esfuerzan por dar a cada cliente una experiencia de servicio único y auténtico – no sólo una buena taza de café, una verdadera “taza de la alegría”. Priscyla y Melissa son miembros de la última cohorte del programa Acelerador de Empresas de Fuerza Local, que se graduó en junio de 2015.

“Lo que nos inspiró a comenzar Inner Shot fue una serie de eventos. Mis padres trabajaron muy duro para construir un futuro para nuestra familia. A lo largo de la forma en que mi padre comenzó un negocio. Mi hermana y yo nos involucramos y aprendimos muchos aspectos de cómo dirigir un negocio y nos interesamos en la industria del café. Como un refrán, “Mientras estás ocupado haciendo otros planes, la vida pasa.” Los planes iniciales no sucedieron, pero decidimos continuar a pesar de las circunstancias difíciles y construir nuestro negocio para nuestra familia. El concepto evolucionó hasta lo que es ahora, Inner Shot Coffee Catering.

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Flagstaff Twitter Treasure Hunt

Local First Arizona and Bookmans Entertainment Exchange Flagstaff have partnered to bring a Shop Local, Give Local Twitter Treasure Hunt to Flagstaff, AZ from November 2nd to 6th. Treasure Hunters are invited to follow along on Twitter for clues about the local business holding onto a daily prize basket stuffed with local goodies! The whole week from Monday, Nov 2 through Friday, Nov 6th we will be tweeting clues leading treasure hunters to one of five different mystery locations to win.

On Monday Nov 2nd, starting at 8AM , tweets will be released from the Local First Northern Arizona account (@LFANorthernAZ) and the Bookmans Flagstaff account (@BookmansFlag) revealing clues about the location of the daily prize baskets.

think local buy local be local chalkboard“This collaboration of local businesses in Flagstaff is what we’re all about. Local businesses build vibrant communities and this partnership between Bookmans and LFA is a fun, interactive way for people to explore their city and win great local items.” says Jenny Strickland, Localist Program Coordinator at Local First Arizona.

Clues will be released from both accounts throughout the day, the beginning clues will be very difficult and then get easier as the day progresses. Once a treasure hunter discovers the business they must go in and say “I love local business!” to win. The first person to arrive in person will be the winner.

“Look no further than your twitter feed,” says Caity Evans, Event Liaison from Bookmans, on how participation and winning is as easy as following along on Twitter, “We are proud to bring to our little mountain town the first ever Shop Local, Give Local Twitter Treasure Hunt. Celebrate the local shops, restaurants, and bars that help make this town so great!


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What’s Your Story? Learn How to Tell It.

10616941024_69ed98b92e_o-300x300Have you ever read a book you can’t put down? Heard a great speaker captivate the room? Read an online blog that you can’t stop scrolling through? 

When hearing a well told, strategically shaped story you are engaged and care about the outcome. Research has show that individuals are motivated by emotional, story-telling appeals significantly more than rational data and facts. Storytelling can inspire loyalty, action, and create a sense of of intimacy, urgency and empathy faster than other communication methods. When it is focused on attracting people to your cause or business, storytelling is the most powerful tool in an entrepreneur’s kit.

Megan Finnerty, journalist/writer/storyteller, says, “Every great leader needs five key stories to get their messages out to the public, and to reinforce their values internally.” Finnerty will be speaking to Local First Arizona (LFA) business members on October 19th teaching leaders about Storytelling For Fun and Profit for LFA’s Monthly Business Seminar Series.

Participants will:

  • Personally experience the emotional pull of a well told, strategically shaped story.
  • Learn how and why storytelling can create a emotional connections between people faster than other communication methods.
  • Learn the two must-have stories every leader needs to be able to tell to customers.
  • Learn the three must-have stories every business leader needs to be able to tell to staffers and potential investors.
  • Leave with knowledge about the next step; including training, reading and Valley based education opportunities.

Storytelling for Fun and Profit, presented by Megan Finnerty, is happening on Monday, October 19th, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at CopperPoint Mutual (3030 N. 3rd St., Phoenix, AZ 85012) and costs $8 pre-pay or $10 at-the-door. RSVP here.
Seminars are currently only open to LFA Business Members, please email for information on LFA’s monthly seminar series.

RSVP button

About the Presenter:

StaffPortraitsMegan Finnerty is an Arizona Republic reporter, emcee, and founder of the Arizona Storytellers Project. In her own words she is a professional listener. She blends human connection into captivating stories and shares her thirteen years of journalism experience helping guide people to their most important narratives.

Finnerty has shared her expertise with over 460 individuals including CEOs, rock stars, Olympic athletes, politicians and entrepreneurs teaching them how to tell a compelling first-person story and make connections with their audiences. She has hosted more than 70 nights of live storytelling since founding Arizona Storytelling Project in 2011. These nights blend the authenticity and hype-free discipline of storytelling as an art form with the truthfulness, community-building and empowerment that’s at the heart of great journalism. She also prefers a bold lip to a smoky eye.

Finnerty is speaking to LFA Business Members without compensation because she enjoys helping others find their story and is a big supporter for local business!


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Back Under The Water Tower

Gilbert Art Walk 1Image via Gilbert Art Walk Facebook

The fourth annual Gilbert Art Walk is kicking into full swing again, taking place on the first and third Saturdays from 9am to 1pm until March. Located at the Water Tower Plaza in downtown Gilbert, patrons can enjoy a family-friendly, fun-filled afternoon discovering up-and-coming and well-known artists. Since September 2011, the Gilbert Art Walk has become a blossoming event for artists to showcase and sell their creations. The Gilbert Art Walk accepts artists in a wide variety of mediums such as painting, sculpture, collage, three-dimensional art, calligraphy, architecture, photography, conceptual art, printmaking, jewelry, and many others. Artists qualify to be part of the venue through a jury selection process performed by other artists in the group.

Gilbert Art Walk 2Image via Gilbert Art Walk Facebook

This biweekly event is centrally located, close to Hale Centre Theatre, Postino Wine Cafe – East, Liberty Market, The Farmhouse Restaurant, Joe’s Real BBQ, Bergies Coffee Roast House, Oregano’s Pizza Bistro, and many more local businesses. Even more exciting – this eclectic event takes place the same time as the nearby  Gilbert Farmers Market. Now, you can swing by both events when in Gilbert on a Saturday morning, grab a bite to eat, peruse through a great collection of art for your newest art piece, kickstart your holiday shopping, and pick up some farm fresh eggs and locally grown veggies all within walking distance of each other. Admission and parking is free to the public too! Learn more about this great event in the heart of Gilbert on their website or check out the Art Walk’s latest updates on their Facebook page.

Written by Somlynn Rorie

Posted in Arts and Culture, Greater Phoenix, LFA Member Spotlight, Local First Movement | Leave a comment

The 11th Annual Certified Local Fall Festival

certified_local_fest_300x250Local First Arizona will host the 11th Annual Certified Local Fall Festival on Saturday, November 14, 2015, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Portland Parkway (10 W Portland St, Phoenix, AZ 85003) in the heart of Downtown Phoenix. The Certified Local Fall Festival is a free family-friendly event for all ages and an annual celebration of all things local to Arizona. 

“There is no other festival or event like the Certified Local Fall Festival, it is a completely unique event to Arizona,” said Local First Arizona Director Kimber Lanning. “This festival highlights everything that Arizona has to offer, from one-of-a-kind local shops, boutiques, and restaurants to Arizona-made wine, beer, and spirits.”

Local First Arizona Fall Festival

Practical Art at the Fall Festival 2015.

The Certified Local Fall Festival has grown into one of Downtown Phoenix’s premier community events, having been named Best Free Festival of Phoenix by the Phoenix New Times in 2011.

This year’s festival will feature more than 100 vendors with some of Arizona’s favorite local businesses; food samples from some of the best Arizona restaurants and food trucks; the Hensley Beverage Garden featuring Arizona-produced wine, beer, and spirits from Wren House Brewing Co., Mother Bunch Brewing, Mother Road Brewing Company, Historic Brewing Company, AZ Wilderness Brewing Co., Sun Up Brewing Company, Four Peaks Brewery, San Tan Brewing Company, Sand-Reckoner Vineyards, Pillsbury Wine Company, Dektown Cellars, Grand Canyon Wine Co., Arizona Stronghold Vineyards, Page Springs Cellars, 3 Amigos Tequila, and Arizona Distilling Company; live entertainment from some of Arizona’s most talented musicians at the Entertainment Stage; crafts and activities for kids and families provided by Kidstop Specialty Toys and Books; the Scottsdale Cat Clinic Bounce House; the Good Food Finder booth sponsored by Raise Arizona; the Bookmans Entertainment Exchange Musical Instrument Petting Zoo; a raffle with gift cards and prizes from local businesses; an online silent auction featuring items and experiences, along with staycation packages across the state; and much more.


Kids make a human tower in front of the bounce house at Fall Festival 2014. Picture via D’Elia Photographic.

According to Lanning, new studies show that when Arizonans support local and independently owned businesses, up to four times more money stays and circulates in the local economy to support local job creation, strong schools and local services, and vibrant and diverse communities. “The Certified Local Fall Festival is a fun way to engage the community with the local business community and remind them about the benefits of supporting local businesses,” said Lanning.

Furthermore, a thriving local business scene contributes to a community’s strong sense of place. Lanning points to a recent Knight Foundation study which shows “connection to place” as the single-most leading indicator in places that have prosperity. “We need to be sure that people living here feel connected to this place, and locally owned businesses play an important role in that connection. The Certified Local Fall Festival brings thousands of people out to celebrates Phoenix’s unique sense of place and inspires them to be proud to call Arizona home.”

Duck and Decanter at Fall Festival 2014.

Duck and Decanter at Fall Festival 2014.

The Certified Local Fall Festival is presented by Local First Arizona and is sponsored in part by Upward Projects, Pride Group, Hensley Beverage Company, CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company, PikFly, APS, Coiffeur’s Salon, Meritus, Think! Graphic and Printing Solutions, Brand X T-Shirts, Bashas’, and D’Elia Photographic.

Entrance to the Certified Local Fall Festival is free. Food and drink tickets will be available for purchase on site for $1 each. Food samples can be redeemed for one ticket and beverage samples can be redeemed for two tickets. Local business vendors will be selling a variety of unique gifts and products, prices will vary. The first 500 attendees to arrive at the festival will receive a handmade gift bag (sponsored by Adobe Awning) filled with goodies from participating local businesses. Public transportation is highly encouraged as the festival is easily accessible from the Valley Metro Light Rail station at Central Avenue and Roosevelt Street.

More information is available at

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Leading the Linen Industry

Specialty Textiles, a Phoenix-based, independently-owned commercial linen service, is paving the way for its industry to go green – and saving money while doing it.  In January 2012, Specialty Textiles became one of the first major commercial laundry companies to be LEED certified and the first LEED certified laundry company in Arizona.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a prestigious and rigorous building certification that recognizes the best and most environmentally sustainable building practices.

FullSizeRender (2)LEED Certification
To become certified, Specialty Textiles invested in renovations to complete energy-efficiency retrofits and upgrades at their 27,000 square foot facility.  The upgrades included installing efficient washing machines that reduce water consumption by 60% to 70% compared to their previous washers.  The new washers can clean a pound of linens with a single gallon of water, compared to the three gallons required to wash as many linens with the old system, and special care is taken by the company to ensure re-washing is unnecessary.  With this reduced-impact cleaning system, Specialty Textiles saves the community over 150,000 gallons of water per day.  

To reduce energy, Specialty Textiles completed an extensive lighting retrofit to convert to high-efficiency lighting that saves 145,000 kilowatt hours per year and implementedFullSizeRender (3) an electronic invoicing system to reduce paper waste by 35%.  These upgrades, as well as others to their HVAC system and equipment motors amount to a greenhouse gas reduction of 115.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. This is equivalent to removing 21 cars off the road every year.

Other Sustainability Initiatives
Specialty Textiles did not stop their sustainability efforts with the LEED certification. They implemented a recycling program throughout their company and eliminated paper towels from restrooms, opting for electric hand dryers instead.  72% of their waste is currently diverted from Arizona landfills.  They encourage their employees to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions through incentivizing the use of hybrid cars for commuting to and from work.  Additionally, they monitor their wastewater for pH and other pollution levels to ensure they are not damaging the natural waters to which they flow out to.

FullSizeRender (5)The Benefits of Going Green
For Specialty Textiles, sustainability has translated into financial savings through cost reductions.  Specialty Textiles washes 1,000,000 pounds of laundry per week from restaurants and hotels throughout Arizona, which requires a lot of energy!  Using less energy through efficiency improvements dramatically reduces the company’s electricity, natural gas, and water bills.  Sustainable practices also have a trickle down effect to customers and clients.  Resorts and restaurants are able to decrease their own environmental impacts through using Specialty Textiles as a sustainable linen service.  This provides valuable marketing opportunities for the Specialty Textiles’ clients, while allowing access to new markets, such as conferences and retreats that wish to hold a “green” event. We are proud to have members that are creating good jobs in our community while also being good stewards of the environment.

FullSizeRender (4)

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Arizona Local Halloween Event Calendar

halloween decorationsGet your spooky scares and sweet treats while supporting the Arizona economy!

30% more of your money spent at a local business stays in Arizona when compared to the same amount of money spent at a national chain- and that’s no trick! Learn about the benefits of shopping locally.

Lucky for the witches and ghouls, there are tons of party people celebrating Hallows Eve in style throughout the state and through all of October.

RELATED: Statewide Dia de los Muertos Events

Below is a sampling of Halloween events, please select your region for events near you:

 Southern AZNorthern AZGreater Phoenix Area


downloadViva la Local Food Festival on Halloween
This Halloween celebrate the joyous local flavors of Baja Arizona at the Viva La Local Food Festival at Rillito Park on Sunday October 31st! Food, drinks, farmers market, and live music! PLUS, there will be plenty of fun family-friendly activities to celebrate Halloween! $6 Admission (Kids Under 12 FREE).

halloweek_web2_circle-180x180Halloweek at Hotel Congress
Dates Vary Throughout October
Where: The Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., Tucson
Enjoy spine-chilling days devoted to Halloween starting Friday, October 1 and running through Saturday, October 31.  They’ve got Voodoo & Black Magic, Nightmare on Congress, and our annually famous Halloween Party for your devilish pleasure.

Sells-Dead-People-2015-Promo-Box Bookman’s Halloween Costume Party
When: October 31, 2015. 2pm – 3pm.
Where: Bookman’s, 1930 E. Grant Rd. Tucson, AZ 85719
Some spooky fun as we parade around our store in costume. Enjoy Halloween inspired crafts & face painting. There might even be a few treats waiting for those in costume at our help desk!

kartchner halloweenKartchner Caverns Halloween Party
When: October 24, 5pm
Where: Kartchner Caverns State Park, Benson
Enjoy face painting, children’s games, coloring contest, candy & prizes, plus a costume contest. FREE park admission with costume!

6893894124_c3ed3506c1_o1-900x350Howl-O-Ween at Reid Park Zoo
Visit Reid Park Zoo in Tucson on October 23rd, 24th, & 25th for fun, safe trick-or-treating. At Howl-o-Ween you will enjoy costumed characters and decorations galore as you stroll through the Zoo. This is an event for all ages, with limited spooks and scares, but lots of excitement around every corner! The fun starts at 6pm each night or 5:30pm for members.


ImageHandler Town of Payson Trunk or Treat Festival
WhenOctober 31 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Where: Oxbow Saloon – Historic Main St. 607 W Main Street, Payson AZ 85541
Candy will be provided by the Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department and “trunk” participants will be handing it out.

Sells-Dead-People-2015-Promo-Box2nd Annual Mini Monster Mash
When: October 31, 12pm – 2pm
Where: Bookman’s Flagstaff
Calling all goblins, ghouls and ghost!  Bookman’s Flag will have scary movies, cool all hallows eve crafts and of course trick or treating through out the store. Plus a costume contest where the cutest little monster could win cool prizes from yours truly.

Screen-Shot-2014-10-10-at-4.36.45-PM-150x150 Halloween Tour at Riordan Mansion
When: October 28-30, 2015
Where: Riordan Mansion State Park, Flagstaff.
A special nighttime program during the week of Halloween this year. This very popular guided tour is a storytelling session involving tales of the fantastic and the factual.


Mortimer Family Farms Pumpkin Festival
When: Dates Vary
Where: Mortimer Family Farms, Dewey AZ
This huge festival’s centerpiece is a 15-acre Pumpkin Patch & 25-acre Corn Maze! Fun for the whole family includes “A-MAIZE-ing” attractions, games, farm activities, live entertainment, barn dance, and much more!



xg112-8836da38-de5b-4d2d-99ac-a93f06768541-v2Gatsby Masquerade at Corduroy
When: Thursday October 29th, 2015
Where: Corduroy. 2601 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Local First and Devour Phoenix partner with Corduroy restaurant to bring you an extravagant pre-Halloween event. Don your favorite costume, find a fun mask, or simply show up to enjoy! Join us for “Gatsby Masquerade”, a prohibition era fête that promises stellar drinks, devilish eats, and a festive atmosphere.

Altar-low-res-200x300Four Peaks Brewery Double Pumpkin Ale & Carving
When: Friday, October 30th
Where: Four Peaks Brewing Company, Tempe.
Be one of the first people to taste the new Double Pumpkin Ale from Four Peaks. Drop by for the Pumpkin Carving Contest on October 30th as well. Pumpkin Porter is also currently on tap all days!

Howl-O-Ween-2015Celebration of Fall & Howl-O-Ween
When: October 23 and 24th, 2015
Where: The Phoenix Zoo
Two Phoenix Zoo Halloween traditions in one! That’s right; this year Boo at the Zoo is joining forces with Howl-O-Ween for two nights of ghostly fun. Enjoy everything Boo at the Zoo offered, just in the evening. And thrill seekers need not worry, because all the scare Howl-O-Ween is known for is also planned.

Enchanted TrailAudubon Enchanted Trail
 October 23, 24 and 25, 2015. 5:30 – 8:00pm
Where: Rio Salado Audubon Center
Join us for a night of free family fun at our annual fall festival, Enchanted Trail, and get a rare glimpse of the Rio Salado by night while learning about Arizona’s nocturnal wildlife. Event includes crafts, bat cave, and trick-o-treating.

Hulas HalloweenHula’s 6th Annual Freaky Tiki Halloween Party!
When: October 31, 2015
Where: Both Hula’s Locations in Phoenix and Scottsdale
Look forward to our special Halloween cocktails, along with other drink specials and live music (at the Phoenix location). We’ll also be tossing treats out to those awesome people who come in costume.

 sunraysBaby Spook Night Out & Sleepover at Arizona Sunrays
When: Saturday, October 20, 2015
Where: Arizona Sunrays Gymnastics & Dance
Dress the kids in their costumes and bring them to a special Halloween-themed Kids’ Night Out! Ages 3 to 13 will enjoy a great evening of gymnastics, Halloween-themed games, sports, dancing, jumping in a bounce house and on trampolines, and then wind down the evening by watching a movie.

Zombie-Walk_kid-640x676Zombie Walk 7
When: Saturday, October 24
Where: Heritage Square, Phoenix
Since its inception, Zombie Walk has grown from 200 attendees to 20,000 (!!) in 2013, and is now positioned to become the largest zombie gathering in the world.

2nd Friday Present Nightmare on Main
When: October 10, 6-10pm
Where: Historic Downtown Mesa
Call your friends…it’s time for Nightmare on Main! Costume contest! Tour the Haunted Basement! Zombies Walk! Plus 50+ artists showing original artwork, live bands, entertainment, food, and fun with shops and restaurants open late!

The Great Pumpkin Festival
When: October 23-26, 2014
Where: Desert Botanical Gardens
Every autumn the Desert Botanical Garden’s Great Pumpkin Festival is one of the Valley’s favorite places to find that special pumpkin.

poefestPoeFest 2015
When: Dates Vary
Where: Ghost Lounge at the Hotel San Carlos.
Produced by Arizona Curriculum Theater, 2015 marks seven smash year of PoeFest, a month-long celebration of the works of Edgar Allan Poe and other horror authors of the era.

Posted in Arizona, Arts and Culture, Businesses, Greater Phoenix, Northern Arizona, Restaurants & Dining, Tucson & Southern Arizona | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Live Local with the Downtown Tucson Giftcard

This post was guest written by LFA Interns Lorena Contreras and Jessica Estrada

Downtown Tucson is filled with local wonders that many Tucsonans have yet to discover. The Downtown Tucson Gift Card is now available online for purchase to share the gift of local living with a friend or loved one today! Over 70 local businesses accept the gift card in exchange for delicious food, beer, vintage items and more.

Pueblo Vida DTGCOne business accepting the Downtown Tucson Gift Card is Pueblo Vida. Established in 2014, Pueblo Vida is located in a historic space first built in 1918. The owners of Pueblo Vida are University of Arizona alumni and came back to Tucson to open a brewery after learning craft brewing in Seattle. They have many beers including their Breakfast Stout made with Yellow Brick Coffee’s cold brew and raw cacao. Visit their website to look at the current beer list. Seasonal beers are common in our local breweries and Pueblo Vida is no exception. They are currently featuring a Oktoberfest beer ready to enjoy during this fall season. Pueblo Vida also features delicious infusions crafted weekly from ideas by the brewers, customers and neighbors. The staff trusts and enjoys the input by the community that goes into their brews, but once the keg is out, it is gone! Make sure to stop by to grab a beer, and if you are hungry, do not be shy to bring your own food and enjoy the unique environment that Pueblo Vida brings to Tucson!

Downtown Clifton DTGCLike Pueblo Vida, The Downtown Clifton Hotel is a new and old Tucson treasure. Folks can use the Downtown Tucson Gift Card at the unique Downtown Clifton Hotel. First built in 1947 along former US Route 80, the hotel was beautifully restored in 2014.  Guests enjoy  a unique experience as each room has a different design. The owners embrace localism – offering locally made in-room treats like RBar’s, discounts to downtown bars and restaurants, and feature remarkable art for sale around the hotel by local artists. The location of the Downtown Clifton Hotel is perfect for visitors because they can walk or bike over to many nearby destinations to use their Downtown Tucson Gift Card at other participating establishments. The Downtown Clifton Hotel faces towards Barrio Viejo and has a wonderful view of “A” Mountain, allowing visitors to truly experience the beauty of Tucson. 

Looking for great local cuisine options?  Proper is an exceptional restaurant which accepts the Downtown Tucson Gift Card. The restaurant focuses on Proper DTGCpractices that are sustainable, local, and organic. When you use the Downtown Tucson Gift Card at Proper, you support many local businesses because Proper partners with so many local farmers, ranchers, and breweries. The quality of food found at Proper is outstanding and they take pride in all of their homemade dishes. Some delicious dishes Proper offers are Lemon Carnaroli, Roasted Chiltepin Sausage, Fried Green Tomatoes and more. Proper is currently hosting, Beer vs. Wine Diners, pairing great local beers and wines with a three course meal. Be sure to reserve your spot for the Beer vs. Wine series or just stop by and indulge in great food.

Riveted DTGCIf you are in a shopping mood, head over to Riveted Studio on Broadway, next to Ben’s Bells and make all of your vintage wishes come true. Jenni Pagano, designer and owner, opened the location in April. Walk into the shop and the sensation of creativity, and love of all things vintage, is felt throughout the room. All of the items for sale are either hand crafted, new or second-hand. Pagano used to park her vintage trailer around town and sell the items pop-up style. The new location has brought more opportunities to the business and Pagano loves “having vintage stuff in a repurposed vintage building.” Riveted accepts the Downtown Tucson Gift Card and the owner is enthusiastic about what the gift card could brings to the business. Give someone the Downtown Tucson Gift Card to buy  a handcrafted table, jewelry or unique decoration for their home. Riveted Studio is a great shop that encompasses creativity and passion in one small local business.

Hub Ice Creamery DTGCAs the weather begins to “cool down” , Hub Ice Cream Factory offers delicious treats to enjoy while strolling around downtown. Give the gift of Hub Ice Cream Factory to someone that makes your life sweet. Use a Downtown Tucson Gift Card to enjoy a delicious Wildcat Sundae (Vanilla ice cream, fresh berry sauce, whipped cream, cookie crunch), a house baked cookie, or a cone of one of their signature ice cream flavors, or all of the above! Signature flavors include Birthday Party, Bourbon Almond Brittle, Cookies and Cream and Mexican Wedding Cookie. Visit their website and take a look at their ice cream list. Hub is a proud local business and their “carefully crafted confections are a love letter to the Tucsonans who have supported” them throughout the years. The Hub Ice Cream Factory was founded to satisfy Tucsonan’s love of Hub Restaurant’s homemade frozen desserts. Sarahi, manager of Hub Ice Cream Factory, recalls her days as an Ice Cream girl at the Hub Restaurant and remembers how long people would wait in lines to enjoy Hub’s ice cream. Hub Ice Cream Factory was created to satisfy everyone’s need for the delicious treat.

The Downtown Tucson Gift Card takes people throughout Downtown Tucson and gives them a sensational tour of the wonderful local businesses. Do not miss out on the opportunity to purchase a gift card for a coworker, friend, mailman or even for yourself this season!


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National Food Day at The Farm at Agritopia

Celebrate National Food Day at Agritopia with us on October 24th, 2015!

logo-the-farm-at-agritopiaThe Farm at Agritopia is 15 acres of USDA certified organic farmland in the center of the Agritopia community in Gilbert, AZ. Join us for Food Day at the Farm in Gilbert this October 24th.

Food Day is a National holiday which inspires Americans to change their diets and our food policies. Every October 24, thousands of events happen around the country to celebrate real food and discuss food policies. This year the Healthy Local Food Initiative and the Local First Arizona Localist Program are inviting you, your family, and your friends to tour the urban farming community at The Farm at Agritopia and enjoy a locally harvested lunch delivered from Liberty Market.

The mission of The Farm at Agritopia is to be sustainable, educational, and feed the community with nutritious and high-quality produce. In addition to 100+ crops, there are sheep, chickens, and honeybees which play an integral role in the ecology of the farm.


Sunrise on The Farm at Agritopia.

This “B.Y.O.B” (Bring Your Own Blanket) Food Day begins at 10 AM on Saturday where we will meet Joe Johnson, the farm’s founder, and Eric Schulz, the head farmer. Start the morning with freshly baked scones (made with dates grown on the farm!), mini muffins for kiddos & adults, and local coffee. After everyone is gathered and the coffee has warmed us up against the pleasant weather of a late October morning, Johnson and Schulz will guide a tour of the acreage. This tour will be fun, interactive, educational, and maybe even allow for some nibbles straight out of the ground!

After the tour, settle down in the grass on your blanket and enjoy a wholesome meal prepared by Liberty Market. Vegetarian options are available.

This day of relaxation, catered lunch, and education about sustainable farming is $15 for kids and $25 for adults. Tickets are available here.


In the field at The Farm at Agritopia.

The Healthy Local Food Initiative organizes events, partners with higher education, and works with the USDA to improve systems supporting healthy and sustainable foods in Arizona. Some of the keynote events hosted by the Healthy Food Initiative are Farmer + Chef Connection and Devoured Culinary Classic.

Eating food grown locally makes a positive local impact on your community. For every $10 spent on local food direct from the farm, CSA, and farmer’s market, $8-9 can be retained by that family business. That means more of your food dollars are staying in the local economy and benefiting farmers and food entrepreneurs. When you choose to eat locally the food will travel less distance and pack more nutrition than processed alternatives, while building a vibrant community and protecting biodiversity in your region.

The Local First Foundation Healthy Local Food Initiative has recently made it easier to search for local Arizona farmers, food producers, farmer’s markets, and CSA programs with the re-release of Good Food Finder AZ. This statewide online directory of local foods provides a hub where consumers, procurers, and other institutions can learn about and connect with Arizona’s local food providers in order to shorten food supply chains, improve access to local foods, and create a healthier, sustainable food system in Arizona. To learn more about what the Healthy Local Food Initiative does to progress food policies and access to healthy food, click here.

Local First Arizona believes in healthy local food and can’t wait to celebrate Food Day 2015 with you!

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