Here in Washtenaw County, we have an active, robust local food movement. But Census Bureau statistics show some alarming stats on farms. The average age of a farmer is 58, and new farmers have a tough time getting a foothold in this business.
We decided to get involved after seeing a market in Wooster, Ohio called Local Roots, which is open year round and sells product for local farms in an indoor setting.
After talking with local farms, our local farmers markets, and local retailers, we were convinced that the Local Roots model would work here.
We opened Argus Farm Stop in 2014; we are an “every day, year-round” farmers’ market. We strengthen the local food economy while being accessible to customers who were not getting to the local markets but were still interested in buying as much local food as they can.
We sell a full line of produce, fruit, meat and dairy, as well as prepared foods. We have what is in season as well as frozen products for times that it is not in season. Farmers deliver when they want to, and we encourage them to stay awhile and have a cup of coffee with customers when they can.
Above: Farmers meeting in our greenhouse – Tilian Farm development, and Farmer Norm Holtz dropping off some potatoes and onions.
Our indoor setting is designed to offer a full grocery experience, and the consignment-based system allows farmers to achieve attractive margins without having to be present for the sale. In 2.5 years, we have contributed over $2 million to local farms and producers.
We are energized by working in this environment, where our mission of growing the local food economy is so clear to everyone – customers, farms, staff. Being in a university town also gives us access to the younger set who is interested in local food!
Kathy Sample, Bill Brinkerhoff, and staff work hard to make local food available and keep farming alive in SE Michigan. You can visit Argus Farm Stop at 325 W. Liberty st, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. Contact Kathy at [email protected]