Local First Arizona Offers Online Tool for Identifying Local Food Sources

Local First Arizona  Oct. 23, 2014

In honor of National Food Day, on October 24, 2014, Local First Arizona will re-launch Good Food Finder, a statewide local foods directory. The interactive tool will provide a user experience that allows consumers to locate food grown or produced in their own community, and to identify sales outlets for that food.

“Taking Good Food Finder under the Local First Arizona umbrella fits perfectly with our mission of connecting consumers with local food producers and supporting Arizona’s local agriculture industry,” said Kimber Lanning, LFA’s executive director. “We have long identified the need for a reliable and consolidated information source that is friendly to consumers, and we are excited to now offer that service to Arizonans through Good Food Finder. If, for example, your family that lives in Mesa is having a barbeque this weekend and would like to find fresh, locally-grown corn to throw on the grill, Good Food Finder will help you identify farms that grow food in your area, as well as the sales outlets they use nearby.”

Good Food Finder was originally founded in 2011 by local foods advocate Natalie Morris, who currently teaches for Mesa Community College’s Sustainable Food Systems Program. “Having Kimber and the LFA team be the ones to take Good Food Finder to the next level is invigorating,” said Morris. “My underlying goal for this directory has always been to show the rest of the nation, or perhaps the world, what the Arizona food community is really made of. Our family food producers are, and should be, the backbone of the choices we make as food consumers. I’ve simply laid the puzzle pieces in place with Good Food Finder. Kimber and her team have the tenacity to make this directory be everything it is capable of, and the end result is that Arizona’s food culture and localized food system will be a thriving, recognized success story.”

In addition to connecting consumers to local food producers, Good Food Finder can also serve as an educational tool for Arizonans. “Hosting Good Food Finder under the Local First Arizona umbrella is a great opportunity to grow appreciation of good food and health in Arizona,” said Lanning. “The LFA team and past contributors to the original site have developed a litany of educational materials that are hosted on both the GFF website and our own website, so this is more than just a transactional tool; it’s an educational resource, too. And in conjunction with our recently launched Local Foods Newsletter focusing on issues related to food, this initiative will greatly expand our ability to influence public health in Arizona.”

LFA will launch a new, consumer-friendly version of the Good Food Finder site on Friday, October 24, and will continue to update data and improve the site’s functionality. “We have plans to restructure the entire Good Food Finder site to allow users to populate a map and get really specific search results based on location,” said Steve Russell, LFA’s local foods coordinator. “The database is needed in Arizona, where there is a large demand for local food, yet people often have a hard time exploring and connecting with the providers in their community. This is a huge opportunity for Arizona and we are honored to have been selected to carry the Good Food Finder torch.”

Local First Arizona will rely on input from the local food community to compile and update data on the Good Food Finder website. Users are encouraged to visit the website and send feedback to goodfoodfinder@localfirstaz.com. Arizona producers and sales outlets for local food can apply for a listing on GFF using the registration forms on the “Contact Us” page at http://goodfoodfinder.com.

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