Speakers Announced For First Arizona Living Economy Forum

The speakers for the first Arizona Living Economy Forum, presented by Mrs. Green’s World, Local First Arizona, and the YWCA of Southern Arizona, have been announced. Join these local leaders as they speak with community members about how to drive Arizona’s economy forward. The event will be held on Sunday, September 11th from 12:30 – 5:30pm at the YWCA of Southern Arizona at 525 N Bonita Ave. Space is limited; reserve your tickets now.

12:30 PM - Introductions by Gina Murphy-Darling of Mrs. Green's World and Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild.

12:45 PM -Keynote.

Gastronomy as Cultural Capital by Dr. Maribel Alvarez

Dr. Maribel Alvarez is an anthropologist, folklorist, and curator. She holds a dual appointment as Associate Research Professor in the School of Anthropology and Public Folklorist at the Southwest Center, University of Arizona. She is a Trustee of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and the Executive Director of the Southwest Folklife Alliance. In 2009 she was a Fulbright Fellow conducting research in rural Mexico and writes and speaks regularly across the country about heritage food, Latino arts, and community cultural development.

Breakout Session 1 | 1:00-1:50 PM

Food, Soil & Nature: Investing in soil, local food, and nature-based businesses and infrastructure to increase the circulation of local foods in our economy.


· Todd Hanley - Maynards Market & Kitchen.  Maynards’ mission is to integrate local products in their market and on their menus. They take it to the next level by producing a private label wine in collaboration with Arizona winemakers.

· Kara Jones - Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Farm-to-market initiatives building a network that supports the development of a strong regional food system and a more food secure community. CFB promotes access to fresh local food, economic development, and social capital.


· Chester Phillips - ASUA Compost Cats.  Providing students with green job and participatory democracy training while composting food scraps and organic waste that would otherwise have been sent to landfills.

· Jason Tankersley - The Fairfax Companies. Sustainable solutions for waste and recyclable materials. Tank's Green Stuff division produces organic landscape & garden products from recycled green "biomass".

Shared Ownership and Community Capital Cultivating democratic economic models: worker ownership, direct community investment and cooperative ownership.


· Howard N. Stewart - AGM Container Controls. AGM is a Tucson manufacturing company that produces environmental control hardware. Since 1988, AGM has been an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) company.

· Chris Squires - Ten 55 Brewing. A small batch company making great tasting beer. Ten 55 has raised over $900,000 towards expansion using new Arizona crowdfunding legislation.

· Kelly Watters - Food Conspiracy Co-op. Conspiracy is Tucson's community-owned retail grocer since 1971. Organic and local produce department, grocery, bulk foods, home of Conspiracy Garden, an enterprise growing veggies, herbs and flowers and Conspiracy Classes that seek to engage community members along their journey of well-being.

Breakout Session 2 | 2:00-2:50 PM

Innovation for Good - The Change is on our Backs - How innovation that moves us away from fast fashion strengthens our environment and our economy.


· Alok Appaduri - Fed By Threads LLC.  The first sweatshop-free American-made multi-brand organic clothing store and custom printing company that feeds meals to Americans in need.


· Kerstin Block - Buffalo Exchange.  Turning recycled clothing into a multi-million dollar business.

· Charlette Padilla - University of Arizona Norton School.@ethical awareness in the twenty first century

· Jennifer Radler - PopCycle Shop. Pop-cycle consists of a collection of art and home furnishings created by artists from reclaimed and recycled, or sustainable materials.

Health & Soul – Creating community health through innovation.


· Leslie Langbert - Executive Director, University of Arizona Center for Compassion Studies. The scientific investigation of the impact of cultivating compassion, kindness, gratitude, altruism, forgiveness and mindfulness on individual, group and environmental well-being.

· Susan Swan - Cottonwood Tucson. Using HeartMath and other integrated holistic approaches to treating co-occurring disorders of substance use addiction and behavioral health concerns.

· Shelley Whitlatch, MS - El Rio Community Health Center. El Rio Health Center is a health-driven full-service and a major downtown presence with over 1200 employees and 94,000 patients. El Rio offers an array of health builder classes to help patients and employees to stay well that incorporate mindfulness training, yoga and other integrative therapies aimed at whole person health.

Breakout Session 3 | 3:00-3:50 PM

Opportunity for All – Investing in opportunity in historically oppressed communities, aligning to create shared prosperity.


· Barbara Eiswerth - Iskashitaa Refugee Network. IRN helps rebuild the lives of UN refugees by creating partnerships between refugees, volunteers, and local organizations. Local food-centered programs emphasize community connections, networking, education, entrepreneurship, leadership and applied English language practice.

· Sahra Hirsi - Arizona Language and Transportation Services LLC. ALTS has been changing the lives of hundreds of refugees in Arizona. Many refugees living in the United States do not experience the benefits of the healthcare system because of language barriers and transportation limitations.

· Dora Martinez and Jesus "Tito" Romero - Flowers and Bullets. An art and sustainability collective working to address food, environment, and economic injustice. F&B hosts a series of workshops, installs gardens, provide job training opportunities to their underserved communities.

· Abby Rosen - Caridad Community Kitchen Program. A program of the Community Food bank of Southern Arizona, Caridad provides no cost meals at congregate sites, a 10-week culinary training program for unemployed and underemployed individuals, after school meals for at risk youth, and a specialty catering service.

Localism and Localist Policies – Promoting a culture of local, cooperative, and community owned businesses and organizations, and advocating for policies that support these initiatives.

· Presentation by Kimber Lanning. Lanning is an entrepreneur and economic specialist who works to cultivate vibrant and diverse local economies in cities and towns across Arizona. As the Executive Director of Local First Arizona, she leads the largest local business coalition in the country and works to develop new strategies for economic development that create opportunity and prosperity for all. Local First Arizona oversees such diverse programs as Good Food Finder, Devour Phoenix, The Arizona Rural Development Council, and Fuerza Local.

4pm – Changemakers Reception featuring complimentary appetizers by the YW Cafe and local wines and beers.