17 Ways to Be a Localist in 2017

Many of us are excited to sweep 2016 into the rearview mirror and focus on being a healthy, organized, well-rounded person in the coming twelve months. Some of the most common New Year's resolutions can be fulfilled with opportunities and products from right here in Arizona.

Supporting businesses in Arizona does more than improve you; it also improves our state economy and community. When money is spent at a local business or organization over 40% more of your money stays within your state economy and more jobs are created inside Arizona. The money that stays here and jobs created assist in building a more vibrant community, while the presence of local business has been shown to increase community well-being and local character.

Here are 17 ways to fulfill your goals and positively for 2017 while being a Localist and making a positive impact on our state.

1. EAT GOOD FOOD

Eating food that is locally grown has been proven to have an increased amount of nutrients (see: 'Is local more nutritious?'). It is also common that livestock raised by independent farmers is less likely to contain additive chemicals such as hormones or excessive antibiotics compared to national conventional farms (see: 'Sustainable Table: Hormones').

Local First Arizona Foundation has made it easy to find Good Food in AZ with the healthy food initiative Good Food Finder. This website provides a way to search for exactly what you are looking and find an Arizona producer to contact. 

Our suggestion: 

A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box is an affordable, easy way to have fresh & local produce delivered to your door. Also, make a resolution to get to your local farmers market on a more regular basis. 

2. PUT EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE

Organization can be the answer! A lot of getting your house or office organized is going to be elbow grease but there are professional organizers such as Wave ProductivityMrs. Fix-It, and Create the Space if you need a hand.

Our suggestion: 

Don't forget about the space saving solution of storage units. If you don't need something there immediately, move it out. There are a number of local storage companies serving the Valley and Tucson.

3. GET YOUR FINANCES IN ORDER

Just about everybody would like to have more money. Make 2017 the year of prosperity by connecting with a local finance consultant. An unsung benefit of local financial consulting is meeting with someone that knows your state economy and can realistically guide you to your big financial goals (think: vineyard retirement).

Giselle Aguiar, of AZ Social Media Wiz, recently refinanced her car with Desert Schools Credit Union.

Giselle Aguiar, of AZ Social Media Wiz, recently refinanced her car with Desert Schools Credit Union.

Our suggestion: 

Switching to a local bank or credit union puts your money to work for you either personally or as a business. A local bank that functions within the community knows the needs of a community and is more likely to invest in the well-being of your city (see: 'Make the switch without the stress – local banking for local business').

4. LIVE FULLER

If you want to break the grind and experience more fun this upcoming year check out Arizona clubs for nightlife and entertainment. There are local venues for music, theater, art shows, and comedy throughout the state to plan a life-enriching night out.

Our suggestion: 

Arizona is a beautiful state. Local adventure companies are available to guide you as you get out there. There's zip lining in Flagstaff, horseback riding excursions, and guided climbing adventures available to get out and live fuller.

5. BE FIT AND HEALTHY

Beginning a work out routine is a common resolution, however it is also a commonly abandoned resolution. Local yoga studios are a welcoming environment for individuals at all levels of health. Doing yoga 2-3 times a week can be a routine on its own or can be used to supplement any activity level.

Our suggestion: 

This year do not buy into the big box gyms that see you as an enrollment number. Local health clubs in Tucson and the Valley see you as a person and will encourage you to be the healthiest person you can be.

6. GIVE MORE BACK

If your resolution is to be more charitable in 2017 by donating your time or money then good news: there are many local non profits that would value and appreciate your contribution. There are organizations working in Arizona to support animals, children, the homeless population, and many more.

Our suggestion: 

The Local First Arizona Foundation accepts donations that directly support three powerful in-state initiatives: Fuerza Local which empowers under-served Hispanic business owners; the Arizona Rural Development Council, which works together with those living in rural areas to develop the state; and the Healthy Food Initiatives which work to build a strong food system in AZ. You can donate online by visiting the LFA Foundation webpage.

7. LEARN SOMETHING NEW

Learning a new skill or cultivating a talent is an great resolution. There are Local adult education programs for continuing your career or honing a hobby.

Local botanical gardens like the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix are a great place to find classes to learn something new. 

Local botanical gardens like the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix are a great place to find classes to learn something new. 

Our suggestion: 

Local botanical gardens offer one day workshops to learn a special skill including upcoming classes for seed saving, cooking, and desert design. Zoos also offer animal education for children and teenagers.

8. PLAY WITH YOUR KIDS MORE

While it's not necessary to have physical toys to have a good playtime, toys help fuel the imagination and can promote teamwork and problem solving. Local toy stores have unique and fun ideas for bringing the family together for a playtime adventure or board game night.

Our suggestion: 

Children's Museum Tucson and the Arizona Science Center set the stage for your children to have a blast. Across the state, our beautiful AZ State Parks have a new activity worksheets in most parks for kids to learn about nature and wildlife while hiking a trail. Select the park you are interested in visiting to view their children activities.

9. GET RID OF CLUTTER

This may be related to getting organized but sometimes a person collects so much stuff that a clean sweep is extra challenging. If you find yourself hanging on to things that you no longer need please consider donating your gently used items to local non-profits 

Our suggestion: 

Don't throw papers with sensitive personal information into the trash! If you or your business have a lot of paper and want to consult a digital transition or professional shredder there are a handful of local document handlers to assist.

10. READ MORE

If you want more time with a book and tea in 2017, local bookstores are a more affordable way to purchase new or used books compared to bookstores or department stores that exclusively stock new books.

Bookmans Entertainment Exchange is a great spot to find your new favorite book.

Bookmans Entertainment Exchange is a great spot to find your new favorite book.

Our suggestion: 

Don't forget your public library!

11. EXPLORE ARIZONA

Arizona is one of the most beautiful states and exploring some of the towns outside your own can be a fun way to spend a day or weekend. Our Weekendzona videos can provide some inspiration, check out the Globe and Miami episode below: 

Our suggestion:

Local bed & breakfasts often provide a more homey experience than a generic hotel chain. Your local hosts will also be able to suggest the best places to dine, shop, and sight-see.

12. FIX UP THE HOUSE

2017 may be the year to finally tackle the home improvements you've been planning. There are a lot of local construction and repair companies out there to help smooth the process. There are carpenters, designers, A/C specialists, and more!

Our suggestion: 

Converting to solar energy is beneficial to the environment and, in a sunny state like Arizona, your wallet. Most local solar and renewable energy companies offer free quotes.

13. CREATE ART

Scratching a creative itch is rewarding because it soothes the soul and has been shown to improve brain function. (Also it's fun!) There are a number of local art classes and studios that exist to bring out the artist inside you.

Our suggestion: 

When starting a new art project consider shopping a local art supply store instead of a chain craft store.

14. EXPAND YOUR MUSIC HORIZONS

This fun resolution is great to build a more heartfelt connection with Arizona. Many local music venues host local musicians and are a fun way to experience your town.

Our suggestion: 

Swing by a local record store next time you want to own some new physical copies of music for a guaranteed knowledgeable staff.

15. PLANT YOUR GARDEN

Planting a garden is a rewarding way to accomplish a number of common resolutions at once: you'll grow healthy food and have an enjoyable new hobby. When gardening consider a local plant nursery for your seedlings.

Our suggestion: 

Check out our local gardening supply stores and consultants to aid in the "greening" of your thumb!

16. GET THAT FLUFFY COMPANION

Maybe you've been thinking about getting a dog or a cat for some time. If the time is right for you, consider spending 2017 with a fluffy friend that will stand by your side all year long. 

Photo: D'Elia Photographic

Photo: D'Elia Photographic

Our suggestion:

Check out a local animal shelter to adopt (don't shop!) for a new pet. Then visit a local pet store for everything you need to spoil your new family member. We have recommendations for veterinarians and pet sitters, too, as well as other animal-related resources

17. BE A LOCALIST!

Being a Localist is a great way to get involved in your community. The Localist program is an individual membership that gives you discounts, events, and information for all things local (for only $20 a year!). Being a Localist in 2017 will offer you access to more food events and more family friendly chances to experience what Arizona has to offer.

Photo: Harrison Lai Photography

Photo: Harrison Lai Photography

Our suggestion: Become a Localist!