Giving Back to the Farmers: Argus Farm Stop

Did you know that farmers receive only 17 cents per retail sales dollar (on average) when their food is sold through traditional channels? The remaining 83 cents of this dollar goes to middlemen, distributors, and other players in the food system. Selling direct to consumer (farmers markets, roadside stands, CSA programs, etc.) generates higher margins for farmers (and strengthens consumer’s ties to their food) but can come with its own set of unique challenges and risks: unfavorable weather impacting sales, large time/energy demands, lack of convenience, and seasonality.

Enter Argus Farm Stop. Opened in 2014, Argus Farm Stop is the next generation of the traditional farmers’ market model. The store strives to grow the local food economy by serving as a modified direct to consumer option for farmers. With Argus’ model, farmers set their own prices and receive 80% of the selling price.  Inside Argus

Truly the everyday farmers’ market, the store is open year round and features products from over 140 Michigan farmers and producers. On any given day you can find an array of fresh seasonal produce, a wide range of pastured meats and eggs, local dairy, and delicious baked goods. Those with a sweet tooth can also find satisfying local chocolate, preserves, and maple syrup. And don’t forget the café! Creamy hot cocoa, smooth lattes, locally blended teas, and locally roasted coffee await you.

In just two years, Argus has funneled $1 million back to local producers, and our top 10 producers averaged $39,000 in 2016! Argus’ long waiting list of farmers and producers is evidence that local producers greatly value the model. To meet the demand of the growing waiting list, and to increase convenient access to local food, Argus will be opening a second Ann Arbor location this month off Packard. This location will follow the same business model and allow even more producers to sell their goods. To learn more about the new location, and how you can support the expansion, click here.

For more information about Argus Farm Stop, their model, and the products they carry, click here.

Argus Farm Stop, 325 W. Liberty St., Ann Arbor MI 48103

Kelly Wilson is the local food coordinator for Southeast Michigan. She is also a registered dietitian and operates Simple Gifts Farm in Oxford. Contact her at [email protected]