Announcing the 2nd Annual Arizona Food & Farm Finance Forum

Join Local First Arizona on January 15th and 16th, 2015 in Clarkdale for a gathering that will influence the way Arizona feeds itself and does business locally. --TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE--

The second annual Arizona Food and Finance Forum will be another opportunity for those involved in and contributing to Arizona’s local food system to gather, network, learn and develop new skill sets. This year’s forum will feature nationally acclaimed speakers with experience in farming, food system development, local food marketing and building local, living economies.

Similar to last year’s event, this forum will focus on bridging the gap between famers, local food entrepreneurs and both private and public opportunities for investment. We hope the event will bring meaningful learning and networking opportunities to attendees. The overall goal will be relationship building and setting the stage for coordination and cooperation across Arizona’s local food scene.

The forum will focus on access to capital and business development, marketing and outreach, and aggregation and distribution. These three main areas will bring together learning opportunities for those seeking funding for their farm operations, local food related nonprofit ventures, those seeking to boost their local brand, develop new markets and those interested in food hubs.

The forum will begin on the morning of January 15th and will end in the afternoon of January 16th, and will be held at the Clarkdale Clubhouse in historic downtown Clarkdale, Arizona. There will two keynote presentations and several breakout sessions following tracks focused on the three areas of business development and access to capital, marketing and outreach, and food hub development. The breakout sessions will wrap up by lunchtime on the 16th, and the afternoon will host a work session, where participants can roll up their sleeves and take what they learned and come up with strategies for moving forward with their ideas and new relationships.

  • The draft agenda for the two day event can be found here.

Who should attend this event? Arizona producers, buyers of local food, food manufacturers, financial institutions, farmers market organizers, CSA organizers, agribusiness developers, beginning farmers and ranchers, local governments, policy makers and elected officials, local food organizations and nonprofits, students and anyone interested in contributing to the local food movement in Arizona.

The event will be an exciting way to educate yourself about how to expand and enhance your local food business and connect with other key players in the local food movement.

The breakout sessions will provide opportunities to learn about and make connections related to: Marketing, outreach and branding, Business planning, Access to financing and grants, Developing relationships between buyers of local food and producers of local food, The regulatory environments that affect local food production and local food business development, Resources that exist for local producers and food system participants, Food hub models of aggregation and distribution of local food And more!

These sessions also provide networking opportunities between producers and buyers, and they hope to spur conversation amongst buyers and producers about specific ways local food can be incorporated into more purchases. The networking session at the end of day one, and breaks throughout the event, will provide opportunity for producers and buyers to connect, and will allow local food businesses to connect with financiers and grantors. The work session on day two will allow participants time to gather and constructively discuss the "where do we go from here" and develop work plans for furthering ideas and business development to enhance the local food system.

Early bird pricing for the event is $119 and is available until November 30th, with $149 full registration per person payable after that until January 14th. Registration will be live starting November 1 on Eventbrite here.


If you're interested in staying in Clarkdale or surrounding areas, there are several options to choose from:

In Clarkdale:

Alley Inn, 915 Main St. 928-451-4380, [email protected]

Blue Heron Guest House, 200 Main St. 928-634-3989, [email protected]

Flying Eagle B&B, 2700 Windmill Ln. 928-634-0663

Free Spirit Ventures, 1126 Valley View Rd. 928-634-5905, [email protected]

Mescal Canyon Retreat, 1550 Abbey Rd. South [email protected]

The Arizona Lighthouse, 2311 Morningside Dr. 928-300-6952

Peaceful Pines, 191 Gale Ave. 928-821-2865

Tuzigoot Mesa B&B 928-634-9316 / [email protected] check this listing out on Air BnB

In Cottonwood:

The Tavern Hotel, 904 N. Main St. 928-639-1699,

The Cottonwood Hotel, 930 N. Main St. 928-634-9455, use code: LOCAL1st on online reservations for 10% discount on one night, 25% discount on two nights

Verde Valley Inn, 1089 S. State Route 260 928-634-3678,

The Iron Horse Inn, 1034 N. Main St. 928-634-8031,

Pines Motel, 920 Camino Real 928-634-9975,

The View Motel, 818 S. Main St. 928-634-7581,

Best Western Cottonwood, 993 S. Main St. 928-634-5575, Say your with Local First Arizona for a rate of $79.99 before January 8th

Quality Inn, 301 Arizona 89A 928-634-4207 Say your with Local First Arizona or Food & Farm Finance Forum for a group rate of $69.99 

In Jerome:

Mile High Inn, 309 Main St. 928-634-5904,

The Connor Hotel, 164 Main St. 928-634-5006,

Jerome Grand Hotel, 200 Hill St. 928-634-8200,