Heather Ratliff develops a different side of the supply chain—school customers. Ratliff works at Cherry Capital Foods, a Michigan-food distribution company with 50 employees located in Traverse City and Okemos which routes a fleet of 10 trucks throughout much of the state. It started in 2007, serving just northwest lower Michigan.
Ratliff saw a 49 percent increase in sales to the 10 Cents schools this year*. One district in west Michigan was one of Cherry Capital’s top 20 customers—including restaurants and stores—in February. A district in Ottawa County that had only purchased $52 worth of apples the previous year—for the Michigan Apple Crunch event—purchased $9,000 of various products this year, and another in Muskegon County that already had a robust farm to school program increased purchases by 50 percent.
The 10 Cents Program is opening doors for more markets.
“That is my greatest joy. These schools really wanted to do farm to school and these dollars have allowed them to increase what they are doing.”
-Heather Ratliff, Cherry Capital Foods
*Michigan’s 10 Cents A Meal for School Kids & Farms is a successful state pilot that provides schools with up to 10 cents a meal in match funding to purchase and serve Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Originally a $250,000 state pilot in prosperity regions 2 and 4, lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder expanded 10 Cents A Meal for the 2017-2018 school year to also include prosperity region 9 with an increased budget of $375,000. The is one in a series of stories documenting 10 Cents A Meal for School Kids & Farms.