Local Food A Trending Topic In Flagstaff

By Elisha Dorfsmith

The topic of local food in Flagstaff has long been discussed on social media sites and local blogs (including this one). The subject has taken off lately with two recent articles in the Arizona Daily Sun discussing local beef and restrictions on animal keeping within the City limits.

A lot of people take the food supply on their local store shelf for granted. What many people don’t realize is that most cities and towns across the country only have a 3-day (at the most) food supply on hand. Since most of our food travels a great distance to get here, natural disasters or other catastrophic events could easily disrupt the supply line.

The near complete reliance on outside food is a very shortsighted and dangerous position that we have allowed ourselves to be put in.

Animal Keeping Restrictions

One of the barriers to a local, more sustainable food supply in Flagstaff is restrictions on Animal keeping. Right now chickens and other small animals must be kept at least 50′ from any structure. Very few people in Flagstaff have that much space on their property.

See: Urban Chickens and the City of Flagstaff

The Flagstaff Sustainability Department is currently working with Community Development to revise the animal keeping part of the City Code to ease the excessive restrictions. The details are still being worked out but from what I’ve heard and read I think that things are moving in a very positive direction. Once the changes are ready to present to Council we will need people to speak up and let Council know that Flagstaff supports urban farming.

Food Freedom

As many of you know, Flagstaff Liberty Alliance spent a lot of time working on and collecting signatures for a local Food Freedom Ordinance. After meeting with and discussing the ordinance with several Council members, we have decided that it would be best to start with a resolution at the City and County level.

We’re currently working out the wording of our proposed resolution and will be sharing it with the Flagstaff City Council and Coconino County Board of Supervisors soon. The resolution won’t have the teeth that the ordinance does but it will make a powerful statement and is a great first step in our quest for local food freedom.

Please keep in mind that we have not given up on a future Food Freedom Ordinance. We have just come to the realization that it is more realistic to take the issue on one piece at a time rather than in one giant step that could potentially fail.

Food freedom unites people across the political spectrum and we need to get everyone on board and working together to achieve our goals. This takes time but things are moving in the right direction.

Further Reading

What Is Food Freedom?


Food Freedom USA


Raw Milk Now Available At Flagstaff Farmers Market





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