News and updates from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Living with Nature: Choosing Local

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation | Nov 26, 2019

As the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation embraces more sustainable, innovative practices in our preservation work and beyond, we’re sharing some of these methods, and providing some tips on how you can incorporate these practices into your own home and life. Here, we discuss the benefits of choosing and shopping local.

Header image by Rick D’Elia

At Taliesin and Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright locally sourced materials for the buildings. At Taliesin West, Wright used a technique known as desert masonry, where apprentices would collect stones and rocks from the surrounding desert, as well as sand and soil from the local washes.

Today, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation continues this legacy in our preservation work, by sourcing local materials and partnering with local contractors whenever possible. In this edition of Living with Nature: Sustainable Practices from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, we’re focusing on the benefits to the environment and the economy when choosing local options.

When going green and trying to become more conscious about our overall use of materials and energy, starting on a local level is a great way to start. By buying and eating local products, and patronizing small, local businesses, you are not only reducing the energy it takes to transport and deliver these products to your home or plate, you are also helping your local economy thrive.

According to Kimber Lanning, Founder and Executive Director of Local First Arizona, an organization that promotes these ideas by providing resources to the community, three times more of your money stays in the local economy when you spend your money at a local business.

This means that for every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $43 remains in the local economy as opposed to only $13 when spent at a non-local business (Indie Impact Study Series, Civic Economics).


The Arizona Fall Festival, an annual celebration of all things local to Arizona featuring over 100 local vendors. Photo courtesy of Local First Arizona.

Another great reason to choose local options is because you have the opportunity to support companies and people who share your values. For example, if the environment is important to you, you may want to support a company that is green and recycles materials. When you shop local you can meet the owners of the business, and truly see if their values align with yours. When you shop at a non-local business, it’s harder to know exactly where your dollars are going and what the business may be invested in.

According to Go Green, when you shop at the grocery store, many of the food items you buy travel over 1500 miles to reach your plate. By shopping local and lowering the amount of miles it takes to get the food to your plate, you are reducing the overall environmental impact of your food. Local food doesn’t create large carbon footprints through overseas plane travel or extended truck trips, and eliminates the need for shipping facilities, packing facilities, and refrigeration.


Tracy Dempsey Originals, Photo by Rick D’Elia.

There are plenty of great examples of local businesses in Arizona where the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is headquartered that are using sustainable practices.

  • Tracey Dempsey Originals: local bakery implementing waste and water reduction practices as well as locally-sourced ingredients
  • Redemption Market: online shop that sells ethical goods including jewelry, handbags, home accessories, journals
  • Strawberry Hedgehog: handmade soaps, lotions, and body care products that are made from eco-friendly, vegan materials
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Store: design-focused store featuring local artisans and products inspired by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright

These are just some of the businesses that Arizonans can support. Through Local First’s comprehensive directory, Arizonans are able to find small, local businesses in almost any category you think of all over the Valley. There are many organizations like this around the country that are starting to recognize the importance of local businesses and are working to encourage community members to shop, eat, and spend locally.

“Spend your money like it matters and understand that every dollar that you have actually has a vote,” Lanning said. “You’re building the future that you want to see.”


Here are some more great tips on how you can implement these ideas into your life:

  • Choose local! When shopping or looking for services of any kind, put your community first and choose a small business over a big-box chain retailer or service provider.
  • Find a directory of local businesses in your city. Many cities offer online directories of locally-owned businesses. A great place to start is the American Independent Business Alliance. Educating yourself about what local businesses are in your community is the first step to finding great businesses you can support!
  • Encourage others in your community to buy local. The more people in your community who shop local, the bigger the positive impact it will have on the environment and local economy.
  • Dine at restaurants that source local ingredients. Eating things that are fresh, in-season, and grown locally will reduce your carbon footprint and help support local farmers.


Check back soon to learn more about the sustainable practices we’re using at Taliesin and Taliesin West, and for even more tips on how you can help contribute to a more sustainable, beautiful world.




This content was made in partnership with Local First Arizona. Visit to find more useful tips and information about supporting local businesses.





Living with Nature: Sustainable Practices from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is a year-long campaign where we’ll be sharing sustainable practices and how they play an important part in conservation for National Historic Landmark sites, like Taliesin West in Arizona and Taliesin in Wisconsin. Along the way we’ll be sharing helpful tips on how you can incorporate these practices into your own life, to help you live a more green life.