Supporting the local economy with Local First Arizona

Local First Arizona seeks to promote, support, and celebrate a vibrant and sustainable Arizona economy by educating citizens about local business ownership, social equity, cultural diversity, environmental kinship, and collaboration.

Arizona is part of a growing trend as organizations like Local First Arizona are starting up across the country. Studies have shown that for every $100 spent in locally-owned businesses, roughly $42 remains right here in Arizona, while for the same $100 spent in a national chain store, only $13 remains in Arizona. Consumers have grown leery of the false sense of savings promised by national chain stores, and are becoming acutely aware of the homogenization of our communities. As a result, an explosion of sorts is occurring here and everywhere, as people look to define a sense of place, community, and quality of life for their families and their futures.

Current environmental challenges facing the world are also driving local economies. Consumers can no longer afford to pay for tomatoes trekked 1,500 miles (at $4.15 per gallon) to the local grocery store. They are seeking out Local Farmer’s Markets to buy tomatoes grown right here at home. Spending on local foods has quadrupled in the past 2 years. Average Americans are beginning to understand the consequences of over-consumption and are seeking out and discovering the benefits of “going local.”

City leaders are recognizing that the next generation wants more walkability and stronger neighborhoods with sustainable lifestyles. LFA is working to encourage density, infill, and the adaptive reuse of existing buildings as a way to ensure sustainability in the current economic climate as well as in the future. The sprawl of the past does not serve environmentally sensitive, educated, knowledge-economy workers who are choosing the cities they want to live in based on cultural interests, public transportation, and density. 

LFA is currently the largest organization of its kind in the country with over 1300 members, and is a proud member of the Business Alliance of Local Living Economies (BALLE). As a non-profit network of local, independently owned Arizona businesses and supporters, we facilitate sustainable economic development. 

Visit Local First Arizona for more information. For a list of Tucson members type "Tucson" into the directory search window.


Community members shop local in Phoenix at the annual Fall Festival: Certified Local hosted by Local First Arizona.

Education and Resources

Farmers’ Markets in the Tucson area

The Andersonville Study of Retail Economics

This study was designed to calculate the economic impact of Andersonville’s locally-owned businesses and assess the economic impact of increasing chain store activity in the region.

American Booksellers Association Economic Studies

These studies document the positive economic impact of locally owned businesses, and how they contribute significantly more money to the local economy than do retail chains. 

Business Alliance for Local Living Economies

The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, or BALLE, is the world’s fastest growing network of sustainable businesses committed to building local economies and transforming the community economic development field. BALLE is comprised of nearly 60 local networks of independent businesses in a variety of locales across the US and Canada.


Community Partners

4th Avenue Merchants Association

Formed in 1974 the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association (FAMA) is comprised of member merchants from the Fourth Avenue Historic Shopping District (the area between 9th St.; University Blvd.; 5th Ave.; and 3rd Ave). FAMA supports programs of a civic, social, cultural or artistic nature that are designed to increase the function and aesthetic values of the community, and also economic programs designed to strengthen and expand the economic potential of North Fourth Avenue.

Campbell Avenue Business Partnership

The Campbell Avenue Business Partnership is an advocacy group working in concert with neighborhood groups and local government to provide for economic growth and to preserve the local character of our community.

Tucson Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
One of the greatest pleasures of eating local organic produce comes from knowing that it is grown by farmers who have made conscious choices about cultivating their land in environmentally and socially responsible ways. Participating in such a mode of food production and consumption also fosters closer relationships among us, the foods we eat and those who grow it. Welcome to the Tucson CSA. The goal of Tucson CSA is to provide a direct connection between local producers and consumers.

Baja Arizona Sustainable Agriculture

Baja Arizona Sustainable Agriculture, (BASA), is a 501c3 non-profit organization working to increase local sustainable food production and marketing in southern Arizona. Search BASA’s Local Food Directory.

Tucson Originals

Formed in 1999, the Tucson Originals have been the driving force and model for similar groups all across America who are working to preserve the culinary spirit of their communities. With the rapid rise of chain eateries, this alliance has helped many of Tucson’s signature restaurants survive and thrive. Search their database to find locally-owned restaurants.