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

Discover AZ Wines: After The Harvest

ByPeggy-headshot Peggy Fiandaca

October marks the end of the Arizona grape harvest. As reported by many in the industry, harvest was good. Terrific weather throughout most of the growing season statewide has resulted in better than average yields and high quality grapes. After the harvest flurry, the work turns to winemaking.

Did you know that there are almost 100 farm winery licenses operating in Arizona? If you haven’t visited wine country in recent years, fall is the perfect time to visit the many of new tasting rooms.

Historic Downtown Clarkdale has its first tasting room called Four Eight Wineworks located in the former National Bank. The building was refurbished, keeping its early 1900’s charm and serves as an “incubator, passion vortex, and metaphorical leg up” for start-up wineries as the company’s website proclaims. The project is the creation of Maynard Keenan, owner and winemaker of Caduceus Cellars and showcases wines from Tim White’s Iniquus Cellars and Joe Bechard’s Chateau Tumbleweed wines.after-harvest

Northern Arizona is home to many beautiful vineyards and wineries offering wine tastings or tours in Williams, Prescott, Page Springs and Chino Valley as well as wine tasting rooms in Downtown Cottonwood, Jerome and Clarkdale to name just a few. Picturesque fall colors in vineyards are all within an hour and half from Phoenix.

Just one hour east of Tucson, you can sample award-winning, unique and fascinating wines from the largest grape-growing regions in Arizona. From big, bold reds to vibrant, crisp whites, there is something for everyone in Southeastern Arizona’s wine country. Visit Wines of Willcox for a great map and information about the region or attend the Willcox Wine Country fall festival October 18-19 in historic Downtown Willcox’ Railroad Park.

Lastly, I am thrilled to announce the opening of our wine tasting room, wine retail and gallery featuring Lawrence Dunham Vineyards’ estate award-winning wines in Downtown Scottsdale. We are bringing the essence of our vineyard in the Chiricahua Mountain foothills to Scottsdale. Visit for grand opening events and tasting room hours.

If you can’t get to one of the great Arizona wineries around the state, The Festival at the Farm is the place to meet grape farmers, wine producers and try dozens of Arizona wines close to home. Wineries from around the state will be pouring their wines on November 15; 12-5pm at the annual festival. The picturesque setting of Phoenix’ historic The Farm at South Mountain provides a beautiful backdrop to enjoy music, a boxed lunch under the pecan trees, workshops, specialty local products, silent/live auction and, of course, great Arizona wine. The evening before (November 14; 6-8pm) winemakers and wine enthusiasts gather to celebrate Arizona wines as The Arizona Republic announces the award-winning wines from the annual competition. Enjoy passed and stationed hors d’ouevres paired with the award-winning wines at Quiessence at The Farm restaurant. Cost for each event (including food, wine tastings and entertainment) is $75. Purchase tickets early for discounts at

There are so many more events happening in wine country statewide this fall and winter. Visit the Arizona Wine Growers Association website for a complete listing

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