This article is from my monthly Hyperlocal Travel column in The Community Edition (August 2019).
This already happens in so many ways in my community of Kitchener. I would love to organize something more formally…
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was recently in Phoenix, Arizona. While there are many think I don’t like about this sprawling desert city, there was also much to love. The least of which is a healthy local scene of independent local business. Arizona was whacked pretty hard in the 2008 recession and is still reeling. For sale signs and empty lots galore.
Here’s one thing I do love about Phoenix. This local campaign called “Shift the Way you Shop” encourages residents to shift 10% of their spending to local shops, foods, and services. Pretty do-able.
What I really love is that they launched the campaign with a HUGE wrap on the Metro Valley LRT!!! Brilliant. They also worked with an advertising company to launch a mobile app that points the user to local shops and restaurants around each of the LRT stops. How brilliant is that.
We could certainly do this in Waterloo Region with our new LRT on the way and planning in the works ‘as we speak’!
Find more at Shift ARizona.
Well, where to start with Phoenix, Arizona. I went there in early December for some sun and desert warmth. I found both and a whole lot more.
Being the localist that I am, I also explored and roamed as many local, independent corners and streets as I could. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Phoenix has a vibrant and thriving local scene, largely prompted by the initiative Local First Arizona. They’re all about buying locally, building community and supporting a vibrant local economy.
With their Small Wonders guides, I managed to find some of the most wonderful and weird places on (and off) the map. Here’s a a small selection.
The Phoenix Public Market captured my interest for the better part of a Wednesday. It started out with lunch at the Urban Grocery & Wine Bar, followed by espresso at the back of the grocery/deli/bar, followed by some reading at the community bulletin board…. by which time, the outdoor market was starting to set up for the 4 – 8pm evening market. The big anticipation was all for the food trucks scheduled to arrive! They did not disappoint.
Starting with the Filipino truck, the Mondo Bowl of mung beans, rice, veggies and sauce only served to whet the appetite! It was the blackened catfish with rice, peas and salad that finished off the evening. That, and the fresh carrot bread….
Roosevelt Row was another impressive area. Completely supported and promoted by the area merchants, there was a lot going on.
For more on my Phoenix explorations, also read, Shift the Way You Shop.