BALLE 2015 Injects New Energy Into Localist Movement

– By Kathryn M. Miller

An enthusiastic crowd officially kicked off the BALLE 2015 Conference the evening of June 10 at the majestic Orpheum Theatre in Downtown Phoenix, led by the Valley’s own localist rock star, Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona (

Although the conference was well underway with local tours and an opening Vision Session, the Phoenix Sparks event at the Orpheum truly set the stage for the remainder of this week’s activities.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton welcomed conference goers from Arizona and around the country saying, “What Local First Arizona does for Phoenix makes it a stronger city, what you do in your respective cities as passionate localists makes your community stronger and therefore, we are a stronger country because of the work that you do.”

The mayor continued, “Our economy is stronger when we are supporting the health and prosperity and happiness of our local businesses, community leaders and our local organizations.”

And the line-up of Phoenix Sparks speakers went on to underline the mayor’s point.

Speakers included Angela Hughey, ONE Community; Kade Twist, Postcommodity; Oye Waddell, Hustle PHX; Joe Larios, Center for Neighborhood Leadership; Silvana Salcido Esparza, Barrio Cafe; Miguel Jardine, The Local Soil Company; Ann Morton, Artist/Social Practitioner; Joe Johnston, Agritopia; Heidi Jannenga, Web PT; Maynard James Keenan, Caduceus Cellars & Merkin Vineyards. Each provided inspiration and the story of their own localist path and shared how their respective businesses and organizations are making an impact within local communities.

BALLE events picked up again this morning and continue into the afternoon with Conference Tracks on a variety of topics ranging from Community Capital and Local First to Soil & Nature and more, followed by and evening Party in the Park at Civic Space Park and after-hours at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour – with more of the same tomorrow. The week of events wraps on Saturday with the final two tours of the 2015 BALLE Conference: Arcosanti Tour and Revitalizing Mainstreet in Rural Arizona Tour.

BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) was founded in 2001 to nurture and curate the emergence of a new economy – one that will support the health, prosperity and happiness for all people and regenerate the vital ecosystems upon which our economy depends. Learn more at


  1. […] “BALLE 2015 Injects New Energy Into Localist Movement” by Kathryn M. Miller, City Sun Times, June 11 […]

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