The Seeds of Success program is a subdivision of Community Action Duluth, a non-profit organization based in Duluth, Minnesota. The mission of the non-profit organization is “engaging our community to end poverty.” The program strives to fulfill its mission through: (a) providing transitional employment to an inexperienced workforce by seeking to build work history and skills; (b) offering healthy and fresh produce at competitive prices; and (c) producing apple fruit leather snacks. Selling fresh, locally grown produce through farmers’ markets has been the thrust of the program for years. However, making fruit leathers arose out of necessity in 2017 when the program was faced with surplus produce (mainly apples) that was destined to go to landfill. The resulting product was sold under the brand Fruit Bits at locations around the community. Although apples were either grown in vacant lots around the city or donated by local farms, the program struggled to cover its production and distribution costs. In early 2018, Angie Miller, Community Action Duluth’s executive director, and Aimee Foster, Seeds of Success’s program manager, recognized the pressing need to make the Fruit Bits project sustainable. Aimee had either to turn this around or face the gloomy possibility of going under. Maintaining the status quo was not an option. She had to figure out a plan to salvage the program.
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