New School Year, New Food Source


Photo courtesy of Cherry Capital Foods. (view larger image)

Photo courtesy of Cherry Capital Foods.

Michigan public school students will enjoy Michigan-grown fruit (pears, peaches and apples) starting this school year, thanks to a partnership with Cherry Capital Foods and Chartwells School Dining Services.

 “This may be the largest farm-to-school project to date in the country”, noted Kelly Lively, Special Projects and School Liaison for Cherry Capital Foods “We applaud Chartwells for their interest in local foods and dedication to nutritious food for Michigan students.”

Photo courtesy of Cherry Capital Foods.

Photo courtesy of Cherry Capital Foods.

Chartwells provides dining services to 144 districts within Michigan and serves 2.7 million students at approximately 550 public school districts and private schools nationwide, comprising over 6000 separate elementary, middle and high schools. 

The fruit itself will be provided from farms throughout Michigan, including Friske Orchards in Antrim County and Gavin Orchards in Grand Rapids. Cherry Capital Foods, a distributor based in Traverse City, will then gather, store and coordinate the transportation of these fruits to school districts in Leland, Lansing, the Upper Peninsula and many districts in between. Local peaches and pears will be served during their respective seasons and local apples will be served year round.

“Through our partnership we’re able to provide fresh, local foods that are at the height of their nutritional value to the students of Michigan,” Chartwells regional Vice President, Brian Casey commented. “We are very pleased to partner with Cherry Capital Foods. 

Kelly Lively said “We are calling this year ‘The Year of the Apple’ as the apple crop has done so well”. In honor of the amazing apple crop, Cherry Capital Foods will also be hosting “Michigan’s Apple Crunch” a statewide event on October 24th to celebrate the abundant apple harvest. The event will be part of Food Day, a nationwide celebration, and movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food.

Peaches, pears and apples are a step in the right direction toward the big-picture goal to serve Michigan school-aged children with food of all types grown in Michigan. Lively added, “It just makes sense – nutritionally and economically”.

For more information, contact Kelly Lively, special projects and school liaison at Cherry Capital Foods, (231) 943-5010, or visit For the full press release please visit Michigan Land Use Institute