For nearly a year, Sally Boisvert worked on a business plan for her 12-year-old Mosquito Lake-based Four Winds Farm. 

“You know, I chipped away at it here and there,” she said. 

Now, Boisvert and two others – including another Chilkat Valley business – have the funds to help make that plan a reality. Spruce Root, a Southeast Alaska business incubator and economic development nonprofit, gave the business owners $20,000 a piece to support their plans. 

For Boisvert, those plans include expanding the vegetable growing space on the farm by building more raised beds. 

Sally Boisvert picks carrots at Four Winds Farm on Sep. 2, 2022, in Mosquito Lake. Boisvert's business recently won $20,000 to from Southeast business incubator Spruce Root. The funds are meant to be used to expand her business. (Photo courtesy Sally Boisvert)
Sally Boisvert picks carrots at Four Winds Farm on Sep. 2, 2022, in Mosquito Lake. Boisvert’s business recently won $20,000 to from Southeast business incubator Spruce Root. The funds are meant to be used to expand her business. (Photo courtesy Sally Boisvert)

“Part of what I’ll be using the money for is purchasing local lumber to build more of those,” she said. 

She’ll also create a plant nursery operation, so she plans to use the funds to buy equipment for making her own potting soil. That includes equipment for making soil blocks – because her business plan is to make an entirely plastic-free plant nursery. 

“Soil blocks are these little compressed blocks … then you don’t need to buy plastic cells for plants every year,” she said. 

Boisvert said she’s hoping that going plastic-free will help her stand out from other businesses in Haines. 

“It’s just a way to get away from those one-use or single-use plastics as part of nursery growing,” she said. “It’s so common and then, you know, you have to have more shipped in every year and they’re bulky and freight is expensive. So, yeah, it was a really big motivator.” 

Tawny Darling and Robert Chadwell of Adventure Harvest are also planning to use their $20,000 grant in part to buy more equipment.  

Adventure Harvest, which has been in business since 2019, combines foraged ingredients into gourmet, small-batch food products like spruce tip salt, and rhubarb barbecue sauce. 

Chadwell said the business needs more equipment for processing, like new pots, a bigger, freeze dryer and label-making machines. 

He said they were not expecting to win the funds. When he found out, Darling was out of the state in California hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. 

“I called [Tawny] then – she did the vast majority of the work for Path to Prosperity, I’m just here to take the credit — she happened to be in town when I tried to get ahold of her,” he said. 

Darling yelled in excitement and then cried. 

“We were not expecting it,” Chadwell said. 

Like Boisvert, Chadwell said he and Darling have used Spruce Root for business planning. But they also plan to use the funds for marketing. The business needs more foragers. 

“We are currently buying spruce tips and all sorts of other foraged products from locals,” he said. “We could definitely use more.”