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Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Minor

Growing Local: Cherry Capital Foods Commitment to Michigan and Sustainability

This is a reflection of our visit with Cherry Capital Foods, examining the various attributes of sustainability that this site features, as well as our personal experiences with learning about the Michigan based distributor.

Cherry Capital Foods (CCF) began in 2007 with the hope of enhancing the connections between local farmers and local purchasers. They are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year with a long list of accomplishments worthy of notice. Our CSS 224 class was lucky enough to get a first hand view of this innovative company on a recent field trip.

One rainy Saturday this October Kate Brent met with our class to talk about Cherry Capital Foods. She is a Value Added Buyer for the company and her passion and dedication showed as she explained the company to our class. Throughout our tour, she described various aspects of the company and showed us some of the concepts that Cherry Capital is pursuing to increase their sustainability. The following is a brief description of some of the things that we learned from Kate about Cherry Capital.

During their 10 years running, Cherry Capital has established themselves as a prominent food distribution company focusing on Michigan based products and consumers. On one end of their business, they interact with farmers and food producers. They work with these companies to distribute their brands and products into new markets. Their services help local companies expand their product lines throughout Michigan, which enhances their business strength and positively contributes to the Michigan economy. Cherry Capital is unique in that they are very willing to help the producers with many of the details along the supply chain, even providing companies with boxes to transport their products in! They are also helpful when it comes to marketing. Many companies that are working on expanding their brands need assistance marketing their products, when they distribute through Cherry Capital they have the ability to include their logos on boxes, which is unique for distribution companies. Typically boxes have the distribution company’s logo, but Cherry Capital wants the focus to be on the producer, which goes a long way for brand recognition!

On the other hand, Cherry Capital works with institutions and businesses that buy the products coming from the local producers, including grocery stores, hospitals, and restaurants. Through their industry connections, they create a strong supply channel for institutions to purchase locally produced food products. By virtue of their position as a distributor, they have a profound impact on the sustainability of the supply chain that the food products go through to get from farm to table.

Cherry Capital’s commitment to sustainability is inspiring. As we know, sustainability is founded on three pillars: social, economic, and environmental. Cherry Capital is working diligently to develop their sustainable practices in all three sub factors. They accomplish both social and economic sustainability by supporting local farmers and consumers, and by proxy the entire Michigan economy! They are successful in regard to the environmental sustainability by strategically distributing goods to their customers. They are adamant about keeping ‘’duplicate trucks off the road’’ and they utilize GPS technology to assist their drivers in efficient deliveries. The basic foundation of Cherry Capital is rooted firmly in sustainable initiatives, and through their efforts to remain local and increase efficiency it is clear that those roots still hold true to the company today.

During our visit to Cherry Capital, we saw many details of the business that are telling of their commitment to local and sustainable. A great example is their farm-to-cafeteria program. This program provides local, fresh produce to children at participating schools, with the goal to reduce the consumption of packaged and processed foods being served. This program impressed us because Cherry Capital is directly working to shift school foods towards healthier and more nutritious options that will result in happy, healthy students. Additionally, this program supports local farmers and vendors by providing them a new market to sell to, which gives them business and keeps dollars cycling through our state's economy. This was one of the many programs that Cherry Capital is engaging with to help create a stronger local food industry that works to benefit all people in our communities.

Cherry Capital Foods is a company dedicated to ethically distributing local foods throughout the state of Michigan. Their commitment to local, sustainable, and the state of Michigan is inspiring and we walked away from our visit with a sense of hope regarding the future of the food industry. Their ten-year journey is inspiring and we truly believe that Cherry Capital will continue to make splashes in the food distribution industry in the future. We wish to sincerely thank Kate and the entire family of Cherry Capital employees for allowing us to visit and learn more about the inner workings of Cherry Capital Foods.

To learn more, visit Cherry Capital Foods.