April 30, 2024

Seed Award Spotlight: South Winds Acres

In our “Seed Award Spotlight” series, we asked our inaugural Seed Award winners about their…


A display of five jars of jam on a patterned tablecloth. The jams are labeled "Plum Jam," "Cherry Jam," "Apricot Jam," "Strawberry Jam," and "Blackberry Jam." Each jar has a white label with illustrations of the corresponding fruit.

Image of stacked jam jars on a table.In our “Seed Award Spotlight” series, we asked our inaugural Seed Award winners about their experience as a food or farm entrepreneur, including the passion behind their business, and what motivates them to do the work they do every day. In early 2024, 11 Seed Award winners were chosen to receive seed funding totaling almost $150,000, based on their businesses’ commitment to promoting racial equity, enhancing healthy food access, fostering job creation, and embracing resilient climate practices.   

Raissa Carvalho-Ruehle of South Winds Acres sees the role of the packaged good company as not just a business but a community beacon. By prioritizing quality, taste, and integrity, Carvalho-Ruehle has built a homemade jam and baking goods business that makes breakfast a more meaningful endeavor. With the Seed Award funding, South Winds Acres is set to invest in product innovation, expand operations, strengthen local sourcing efforts and so much more.  

Keep reading our interview with Carvalho-Ruehle to learn more about South Winds Acres’s aim to create a vibrant ecosystem of sustainable and interconnected businesses in Charlotte, MI. 

What does being selected as a Seed Award winner mean to you personally, and how does it reflect on the journey of your business so far?  

Being selected as a SEED Award winner holds profound personal significance for me and South Winds Acres. It symbolizes recognition and validation of the passion, hard work, and dedication that I’ve poured into building this homemade jam and baking goods business. It’s a validation of the quality and taste of our products, which have been the cornerstone of our success thus far. 

This Award is a significant milestone. It underscores the progress we’ve made from our humble beginnings of going to local markets to gaining recognition on a larger platform. It validates the choices we’ve made to prioritize quality and taste above all else, and it reinforces the value of our commitment to excellence. 

Winning the SEED Award also opens up exciting opportunities for the future of South Winds Acres. It provides a platform for increased visibility and credibility, which can attract new customers and partners. Importantly, it enables us to take our business to the next level by expanding beyond the limits of our physical presence and providing our products countrywide. 

In what ways will the Seed Award funding support your immediate and long-term business goals? 

With the support and recognition of the Michigan Good Food Fund, and the SEED Award, we can explore avenues for online sales, nationwide distribution, or partnerships with retailers. This expansion not only allows us to reach a wider audience but also creates opportunities for growth and sustainability. It enables us to scale our business while maintaining the integrity and quality that have been the hallmark of South Winds Acres. 

Can you share your vision for the positive changes you hope to make in your business and the broader community?  

Winning the SEED Award is a transformative opportunity for South Winds Acres, my homemade jam and baking goods business in Charlotte, MI. It allows us to expand our operations and impact, investing in product innovation, scaling our reach, and enhancing our community involvement. With increased resources, we can maintain our commitment to quality while exploring sustainability initiatives and expanding marketing efforts to reach a broader audience. Additionally, winning the award enables us to give back to the community by creating jobs, engaging in outreach programs, and empowering aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly women. We plan to strengthen our commitment to sourcing fruits from local farmers, and fostering collaborations with other local producers and small businesses. By promoting local agriculture and supporting fellow entrepreneurs, we aim to create a vibrant ecosystem of sustainable and interconnected businesses in Charlotte, MI. The SEED Award not only elevates our business but also enables us to contribute meaningfully to the growth and prosperity of our community. 

What led you to start your business? What motivates you to do what you do? 

Cooking is my passion. Not cooking professionally, but for family, friends and neighbors, as a form of expressing love. And I see a morning breakfast, eating toast and jam as a manifestation of this love. To me, our business translates this love into a delectable assortment of jams, preserves and baked goods. We can share it with connoisseurs of homemade delights, gift-givers, Michigan-lovers. It’s a celebration of flavors and love. 

Looking to sample some jam from South Winds Acres? Visit their Facebook page to find where they will be selling their jams next.  

Interested in working with the Michigan Good Food Fund? See if your business is a good fit here.

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