Volunteer Spotlight: Tim Ness

If you’re not already Tim Ness will make you fall in love with Arizona. Tim has been a volunteer with Local First Arizona for almost 5 years now, and ever since, our Farmer’s Market tables haven’t been the same. If you’ve been to the Phoenix Public Market in the last few months, you’ve probably seen Tim behind the Local First Arizona table, talking with folks about how much he loves Arizona.

We wanted to get a better idea of what makes Tim such a Localist, so we sat down with him for a conversation.

After moving back to Phoenix in 2010, Tim attended the Arizona Fall Festival and was amazed by all the local opportunities that were out there. Like many of us other ALFAs would, he asked right then and there, “How do I get involved?” Since the beginning, Tim has enjoyed our fan favorite Devour Phoenix events. But says that the more he gets involved, the more he appreciates the smaller Localist events like mixers and tours. “You really get to meet neighbors and business owners and understand what is making this community thrive.”

While living abroad, Tim quickly found his own favorite places in cities he wasn’t familiar with just by asking the locals. “Everyone loves to talk about their favorite bars, hikes, shops, venues, restaurants. Inevitably, I have had a wonderful time at places I never would have found in a guidebook.” This made him realize that he really didn’t know much about his own city back home. There are so many new businesses opening up, or ones that have just always been here, but it’s easy to continue going with what you know best.

After becoming an ALFA and a Localist with Local First Arizona, Tim’s now got a handle on all the best local businesses and events happening around town. While recently hosting some friends who came from a city with well-known cultural history, Tim was able to wow them with the arts and food culture we’re growing here in Phoenix. He was also even recognized by local business owners from attending the Localist events. “My friends realized that they have that longer cultural history, but we're building that history in Phoenix ourselves today, and that's something special.”

We also asked Tim a few other questions:


What are some of your favorite local businesses?

All About Book and Comics has been a favorite for years. Alan and Marsha have fostered a business that often feels more like visiting friends than going shopping. Recently, Phoenix General has become a go-to boutique. On top of curating a uniquely-Phoenix style, Josh and Kenny are leaders in organizing community events and highlighting local artisans.


Besides volunteering with us, what are some other things you enjoy doing?

I try to enjoy live music in Phoenix as often as I can, especially The Phoenix Symphony where I serve on the Young Professionals board. Dining around the city. Otherwise I spend my time reading, discussing, and exploring.


How has your approach towards (thinking, shopping, eating, etc.) more locally changed?

I think about people much more, instead of just thinking about things. Whether I'm choosing a restaurant, shopping for tires, or just planning a weekend, I consider if I'm surrounding myself with the sort of community I want, rather than just consuming the product I want.


Why should others volunteer with Local First Arizona?

Arizona is rapidly changing, and we have a unique opportunity to build the kind of community we want”. Local First is here to make sure our communities are being supported and getting the kind of care it needs to flourish the way we want it to!

At Local First Arizona, volunteers are one of the most powerful ways to help us mobilize local communities across the state. The time and passion dedicated from our volunteers aid in supporting our work while creating dynamic ways to empower individuals to ‘go local’!