Our mission is to grow our local agricultural economy. How? By providing a place where local farms can sell locally-grown produce and other goods conveniently to consumers! Year round!
Video by B. Rosewater Productions (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Here are some facts about our current food system
- Here in Washtenaw County, MI, we are at risk of losing the capability to produce food locally.
- According to the 2012 USDA Agricultural Census:
- 93% of our local farms producing food have disappeared since 1950.
- The five year survival rate of new farms is < 50% . The average farmer age is 58 years, and increasing. Once farms and farming skills are lost, they are extremely difficult to replace.
- Farmers on average receive only 17 cents on the retail sales dollar when selling through traditional channels. Middlemen and distributors take the remaining 83 cents
- Only 0.3% of food is purchased directly from producers through channels such as farmers markets and CSAs. These direct outlets foster direct connections with farmers so consumers can know who grows their food. Direct sales generates higher margins for farms. However, direct sales are limited by weather, seasonality and lack of convenience.
- 99.7% of food is purchased indirectly from producers. Food travels long distances from farm to table - on average 1,500 miles. The current food system is dependent on high levels of fossil fuels and is vulnerable to climate change, oil shortages and other disruptions.
In 2014, after researching our community's interest level in local food and capability to supply local food, we opened our "every day year-round" farmer's market at 325 W Liberty in a long-abandoned gas station. We immediately saw that consumers who wanted to buy food from local farms were enthusiastic about having a convenient place to shop. And we began creating a community of those folks. In 2016, this store paid over $1 million to local producers.
In 2017, at the urging of our farms, who have invested and grown their businesses, we opened our second location at 1200 Packard Road in Ann Arbor. The new location is as full and robust as the first, with wonderful locally grown produce, meat, dairy and prepared foods!