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The Communicator

Argus Farm Stop approaches 10 year anniversary

How Kathy Sample has made Argus Farm Stop a mainstay of the Ann Arbor community while supplying locally grown produce, advocating for farmers’ rights and creating a welcoming space for all.
Kyrie Garwood

The door opened. In came a customer, who was greeted by a warm smile and the smell of fresh coffee. 20 years ago Kathy Sample could not have imagined this as her reality: greeting customers, advocating for local farmers and introducing fresh produce to her community.

10 years ago, Sample was on a college visit with

her son and found a new passion in Wooster, Ohio. An unsuspecting visit to Local Roots, a local business that specializes in locally sourced produce, set her on a new path, introducing her to the world of farm to table food.

A common problem that consumers face is finding locally grown food that’s also easily accessible. A small business in Wooster was working to combat it. Although farmers markets provide locally grown produce, it can be hard to source your entire diet due to the limited opportunities of the market. Sample and her husband noticed this problem and made it their mission to find a solution. 

“We realized that there was a disconnect between what the consumer could access with their lifestyle and what the Farmers Market offered with their one day a week or short, seasonal market,” Sample said. “So we decided that we would try to address it by forming a solution. It was really an experiment to see if it could work.”

Although it may seem more convenient, commercially grown produce can bring lots of unforeseen consequences, such as pollution as a result of transportation methods, unethical farming practices and inhumane treatment of workers. Supporting locally grown produce is not only healthier and better for the environment, but it also promotes the fair treatment of farm workers and can benefit the local economy.

“Right now if you go into a big box grocery store and you buy a head of lettuce, and it says that it was grown in Yuma, Arizona, and if you think about that, Yuma, Arizona is 2000 miles away,” Sample said. “And you think about the fact that the farmer in Yuma, Arizona in the industrial food system gets paid 15 cents for every dollar you spend. That’s the national average.”

The farm to table growing process that Argus Farm Stop utilizes creates a relationship between the consumer and the farmer. Knowing who grows your food, where it comes from and the ethical processes behind it really helps to ease your peace of mind.

Due to the nature of Argus Farm Stop, the extra costs of the supply chain and production are eliminated, enabling the farmers to make 70% of the price of the goods sold. This presents a unique opportunity for farmers because it encourages the partnership between Argus Farm Stop and for farmers to grow products in Michigan. 

Sample and her husband have successfully made local and ethically grown food an everyday reality while still advocating for farmers’ rights. The success of Argus Farm Stop can be highly attributed to Sample’s driven nature and the welcoming environment she has fostered throughout her stores. 

Argus Farm Stop employee, Paige Durr, values the nurturing environment that Sample has created. 

“We’re treated as if we’re all a part of the community,” Durr said. “The very welcoming and positive energy is a big part of what I initially noticed when I first started working at Argus, and also what keeps me working here today.” 

The core values of sustainability, ethical farming and community oriented business has led Argus Farm Stop to expand, now operating three locations across Ann Arbor. As the 10 year anniversary of Argus Farm Stop readily approaches this August, the store continues to be a staple in the Ann Arbor community. 

Summing up her last 10 years, Sample said, “I can’t think of anything I would rather do than what I’m doing right now.”

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About the Contributors
Kyrie Garwood
Kyrie Garwood, Journalist
Kyrie is a junior at Community and is in her first semester on staff. When she's not at CHS you can probably find her at Pioneer where she dives, plays basketball, and plays softball. On the rare occasion, she's not at Pioneer she enjoys going to the movies with friends, playing Euchre, and working as a lifeguard at Vet's Pool. Kyrie is eager to write and share important stories about those in our community.
Kate Groves
Kate Groves, Journalist
Kate is a Junior at CHS and is so excited to be joining the Communicator for her first semester on staff! In her free time, she loves playing soccer, participating in musical theater, reading, listening to music and being outdoors. She is an avid Taylor Swift fan and can be found re-creating her performances.

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