The Office of Sustainability and Innovations and Argus Farm Stop are excited to announce the Ann Arbor Local Food Festival, an event to celebrate and enjoy the abundance of this year’s harvest from local farms. This event will showcase the many restaurants, chefs, and others in the Ann Arbor area who prioritize local ingredients at their businesses. It will also offer opportunities for community members to hear the stories of those who produce their food – our local farmers and the organizations focused on elevating those farmers and their products.
Join us at the Festival to purchase prepared food from a variety of vendors in attendance; sit down at tables to eat, grab an apple cider, and enjoy live music; and connect with others in the community. Kids of all ages are welcome, as there will be fun activities for individuals of all ages! There will also be opportunities to talk to farmers and others doing work in the local food space and to learn how you can get involved in our local food system. This event is FREE to attend, and food and non-alcoholic drinks will be available for purchase from a variety of local vendors.
What: Ann Arbor Local Food Festival
Location: Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market (315 Detroit St.)
Time: Thursday October 13th, 5PM to 10PM
Local Food's Impact and Benefits
There are many reasons to buy locally grown food, including:
- Local produce is often of better quality and lasts longer than produce shipped from further away. Oftentimes the produce you purhcase at the farmer's market was picked the day before, rather than spending days en route to the store, and additional time on the shelf. Local really makes a difference in freshness!
- Local farms are often smaller in size and have growing practices that are gentler on the planet. Many of the farms in Washtenaw County use organic practices, regenerative soil practices, and little to no harmful chemicals.
- Buying local builds the economy and puts money directly into the hands of the farmers who grew it. Conventional grocery stores take the majority of the profits, often leaving 15% or less to go to the producer. Consignment store models often give 70% or more to the farmer, and buying directly from the farmer gets 100% of the profits back into their hands.
- Increased food security for our community. The pandemic revealed the risk of having large supply chains. Investing in the local food system helps to increase food security for our community now and in the future.
Opportunities to Donate and Support Local Food
There are opportunities to donate and volunteer with many organizations pursuing of a more equitable and sovereign food system right here in Washtenaw County and in Michigan at large, including:
- Fair Food Network: An organization who works to increase access to healthy foods by suppoting programs like double up food bucks that help to make food more affordable to families facing food insecurity.
- We The People Opportunity Farm: Has a mission to break the cycle of incarceration in Washtenaw County by investing in the employment and development of formerly incarcerated people through farming and community engagement.
- Growing Hope: Their goal is to grow an equitable and sustainable local food system where all people are empowered to grow, sell, buy, prepare, and eat nourishing food in Ypsilanti.
- Washtenaw County Black Farmers Fund: Aims to build a more equitable food system by investing in Black Farmers.
- Project Grow Community Gardens: Provides residents with community garden space to grow, and resources on how to grow your own food.
- Slow Food Huron Valley: A non-profit working to strengthen our region’s food system, build community food security, and preserve the cultural value of food.
- Food Gatherers: A food bank and food rescue program in Washtenaw County.
- National Young Farmers: An advocacy group committed to supporting the next generation of farmers having equitable access to land. The Michigan chapter is based out of Grand Rapids.
- Michigan Good Food Fund: Provides funding to many start-up and small farms or food ventures across the state of Michigan.
Purchasing produce directly from farmers at a Farmer's Market, purchasing a weekly produce subscription or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) from a farmer, or visiting the farm directly to purchase your food are the best ways to directly support local farmers and put money back into our local food economy. Shopping at a farm stop or food hub like Argus Farm Stop, where farmers get 70% of the profit on produce sold is also a great way to support local farmers year round.
Food Insecurity In Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County
1 in 10 people in Washtenaw County are food insecure. That means that there are people in our neighborhoods who lack reliable, consistent access to affordable and nutritious foods. The City of Ann Arbor and many organizations in the county are working to increase food access and affordability. This can be accomplished in part by having a more robust local food system.
If you find yourself or your familiy in need of food assistance, Food Gatherers has a list of food pantries and banks in the area, as well as times to access them. Go to the Food Gatherers website for more information on how to find free food resources.
Event Vendors and Participants
Food and Drink Vendors:
- Rite Spice - Pakistani Cuisine
- Humus Falafel - Mediterranean Cuisine
- Vegano Italiano - Vegan Italian Cuisine
- El Harissa - North African Cuisine
- Ginger Deli - Vietnamese Cuisine
- Pilar's Tamales - Latin American Cuisine
- Harvest Kitchen - Farm-to-Table Cuisine
- Venue by 4M City Club - Four Restaurants in One!
- Apple Blossom Kombucha - Locally Brewed Kombucha
- Argus Farm Stop
- Washtenaw County Food Policy Council
- Live Zero Waste
- Fair Food Network
- Leslie Science & Nature Center
- Food Gatherers
- Nature and Nurture