March 18, 2024

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Michigan Good Food Fund Celebrates Inaugural Seed Award Winners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Michigan Good Food Fund Celebrates Inaugural Seed Award Winners  Detroit, Mich., March…


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Michigan Good Food Fund Celebrates Inaugural Seed Award Winners 

Detroit, Mich., March 18, 2024 – Michigan Good Food Fund is happy to announce the recipients of its inaugural Seed Awards, recognizing Michigan-based food and farm businesses making an impact in their communities. With a focus on promoting racial equity, enhancing healthy food access, fostering job creation, and embracing resilient climate practices, the Seed Awards are a cornerstone of the Michigan Good Food Fund’s commitment to supporting local food and farm entrepreneurs. 

From a pool of 338 submissions, eleven businesses were selected to receive seed funding totaling almost $150,000. These grants represent not just financial investment but a recognition of these businesses’ vital role in advancing Michigan’s food value chain. The selection committee prioritized BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and women-owned companies, underscoring the collaborative’s dedication to fostering equity within Michigan’s food value chain.  

The Seed Award winners were chosen by a committee comprising Michigan Good Food Fund Stakeholder Board members, including Daniel Cornelius, Jerry Ann Hebron, Aaron Jackson, Ana Jose, Jamie Rahrig, Tony Vu, and Adrienne Wolf. Their decisions were guided by the proposed utilization of funds and the alignment of businesses with key performance targets related to food value chain representation, race, gender, stage of business, and geographical impact. 

“In our inaugural year of the Seed Awards, we were overwhelmed by the quality of submissions we received,” said Aaron Jackson, Director of Michigan Good Food Fund at Fair Food Network. “It’s a testament to the incredible talent and innovation within Michigan’s food and farm sector. The selected businesses truly embody the mission of the Michigan Good Food Fund, and we are excited to see the positive impact they will have on their communities.” 

The winners of the inaugural Seed Awards are: 

  • Baobab Fare, LLC (Detroit), named a 2024 James Beard Award semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurateur, celebrates East Africa’s vibrant cuisine and rich culture through its Detroit restaurant and catering services. The Seed Award funding will support product line expansion, marketing, and staff development.
  • Cafe Rica LLC (Battle Creek) is a family-owned and operated coffee company and café with roots in Costa Rica that will use their award to facilitate the purchase of essential equipment crucial for expanding their wholesale operations.
  • City Commons Cooperative (Detroit) plans to use Seed Award funding to build the capacity of its Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, seven urban farms supporting food sovereignty and committed to building a healthy local food economy in Detroit.
  • Dynamite Hill Farms (L’Anse) is dedicated to producing traditional, clean, and artisan foods that reflect the owners’ Ojibwe heritage. Funding will be used to make infrastructure improvements on their Upper Peninsula acreage.
  • El Jalapeño, LLC (Kentwood) is a women-owned and operated Mexican food business that will expand to a second food truck to respond to increasing demand for its Guanajuato cuisine.
  • Linda Carol’s Kitchen (Grand Rapids) will enhance its capacity, expand production, and hire part-time staff to meet growing demand for its gourmet cupcakes and premium baking ingredients.
  • Madre Masa & Tortillas (Grand Rapids) will use their award for equipment purchases to support traditional tortilla making at Michigan’s first organic heirloom nixtamal tortillería.
  • Old City Acres (Belleville) collaborates with local producers to operate a year-round flex-CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. The funding will enable them to increase storage capacity by converting their refrigerated box truck into a walk-in cooler.
  • Peace Pie Company (Marquette) is an Upper Peninsula bakery that will use Seed Award funding to cover startup costs, equipment purchases, and fair wages for their employees.
  • Sanctuary Farms (Detroit) will leverage funding to connect to the municipal water system, enhancing their self-sufficiency as a cultivator of organic produce and creator of nutrient-rich compost on the lower eastside of Detroit.
  • South Winds Acres (Charlotte) offers homemade jams, preserves, and baked goods and will use their award to obtain licensing and purchase the necessary equipment to establish a commercial kitchen.

The total awarded amount of $148,569 was distributed strategically across various regions of Michigan, with $52,569 allocated in Southeast Michigan, $34,500 in West Michigan, $30,000 in Northern Michigan, $17,500 in Southwest Michigan, and $14,000 in South Central Michigan.  

“We’re so excited to support this initial group of businesses. They are all poised for great impact in our food communities across the state and we can’t wait to see what’s next,” commented Tony Vu, Michigan Good Food Fund Stakeholder Board Chair. 

The Seed Awards represent just one facet of the Michigan Good Food Fund’s comprehensive approach to fostering a more equitable and sustainable food system. Through continued collaboration and investment, the Michigan Good Food Fund aims to support Michigan’s food and farm entrepreneurs in driving positive change in their communities and beyond. The Michigan Good Food Fund will announce information about an additional round of Seed Awards later this year. 

For media inquiries, email or call 734.213.3999 x221.

About Michigan Good Food Fund 
Michigan Good Food Fund invests in food and farm entrepreneurs across the state, offering flexible financing and tailored business assistance that supports vibrant, equitable communities. We meet entrepreneurs where they are, connect them with what they need, and build long-term relationships that help their businesses thrive. As we work toward a more resilient, inclusive food industry, we focus on entrepreneurs whose access to power and capital has been historically limited because of their race, ethnicity, and/or gender. Our efforts are guided by the shared vision of our Stakeholder Board, a diverse group of entrepreneurs, farmers, funders, and policymakers with deep roots in Michigan. 

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