This article was written by past Local Food Program Director, Steve Russell.
Earlier this week, Local First Arizona Foundation was a proud partner on the Fifth Annual Arizona Farmer+Chef Connection, an event that helps build new relationships in local food and shorten Arizona’s supply chains. The room was packed with over 225 local farmers, chefs, and everyone in between. The energy was palpable and the room abuzz with the formation of new local food partnerships.
The cornerstone of the Arizona Farmer+Chef Connection is the Suppliers’ Marketplace, where our local producers showcased their products. This year, we featured 48 different businesses. Among the attendees were: Double Check Ranch, Pillsbury Wine Co., Peanutbutter Americano and many more.
Just before the Suppliers’ Marketplace, we started the day with a presentation from Arizona Storytellers, followed by 5 concurrent breakout sessions to help build the toolkit for local food procurement. Topics covered included: strategies for buying local food, marketing your localism, food policy, heritage foods/native crops, and what buyers look for.
The event was organized by Edible Phoenix, Local First Arizona Foundation, Desert Botanical Garden, and Slow Food Phoenix. Our sponsors included: Edible Baja Arizona, Fabulous Foods and Specialty Textile Services, Duncan Family Farms, Gertrude’s, Sonoran Waste Disposal and Whole Foods.