In April 2017, the Government of Ontario committed up to $830,000 in funding toward local agri-food projects. In total, 24 projects will use these agriculture grants to increase consumer awareness, demand, and consumption of local foods and beverages.

Ontario government funding was awarded through the Greenbelt Fund: Local Food Investment Fund. The program offers up to 50% of project expenses to implement initiatives benefitting local food companies. This includes expanding the amount of food consumed by the Ontario private sector, improving market access to individual farmers or food processors, and improving food literacy among public consumers.

The $830,000 investment will allow organizations to accomplish a range of projects, including facility expansions, local food hub development, and improving local food literacy. These projects will provide Ontario-based consumers with greater access to locally-sourced food and beverages.

Related Post: Ontario Farmers’ Markets: 4 Tips to Increase Local Food Consumption

Greenbelt Fund Awards Ontario Agriculture Grants to 24 Businesses

The Greenbelt Fund: Local Food Investment Fund helps improve the awareness and reputation of Ontario-made food and beverages. Funding is awarded through three possible streams; this enables greater flexibility so that a wide range of for-profit and non-profit applicants can benefit.

In April 2017, 24 agri-food projects were awarded Ontario agriculture grants through the Local Food Investment Fund.

The program has invested a total of $830,000 in small business grants to support local farmers, food processors, and non-profits organizations. These investments have helped increase local food sales to strengthen Ontario’s food economy.

Some of the most recent projects to receive Greenbelt Local Food Investment Fund grants include:

Recipient Project Outcomes Funding Contribution
Select Food Products
  •    Implement a new production line to develop a made-in-Ontario (with Ontario ingredients) French’s Ketchup; and
  • Triple production capacity.
$75,000
Cohn Farms
  • Increase the number of farms supplying Cohn Farms to 25-30;
  • Create more than 15 full-time jobs; and
  • Boost company capacity and annual food sales by over $4M.
$72,500
Wendy’s Mobile Market
  • Convert a barn into a local food processing and storage facility;
  • Create new processed products including preserves, dried fruit, and frozen entrees; and
  • Offer extended seasons to local farmers.
$71,538
Greenhouses Canada
  • Purchase mobile “grow truck” to serve as an indoor demonstration and training site;
  • Provide a method of transportation for fresh produce to remote northern communities; and
  • Increase local food sales by $117,000 per year.
$52,283
Halton Healthcare
  • Increase the amount of local food served in its hospitals;
  • Develop recipes using Ontario foods that meet patients’ nutritional needs;
  • Establish branding to identify local food choices to patients; and
  • Develop a marketing plan to promote local food offerings at Halton’s facilities.
$51,500

Greenbelt Fund: Local Food Investment Fund

The Greenbelt Fund: Local Food Investment Fund was created to increase awareness and consumption of Ontario-based food and beverage products. The program provides agriculture grants to help food producers, processors, and non-profit organizations increase their production capacity, enhance internal process, and drive sales revenues. Through the program, applicants may receive up to 50% coverage of eligible project expenses to help improve access to local food and beverage products across the province.

The Local Food Investment Fund is divided into three funding streams, including:

  1. Broader Public Sector: Promotes the development of strategies that will increase the public sector and food services’ demand for local food products.
  2. Market Access: Provides access to regional food aggregators, encourages sustainable value chain relationships, and provides insight into new or growing markets.
  3. Local Food Literacy: Expands awareness and understanding of how to use more local food and increase the development and communication of Ontario’s value chains.

The Local Food Investment Fund is currently accepting applications. Interested businesses must submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) by Thursday August 3, 2017 at 5:00pm EDT.

How to Apply for Greenbelt Fund Grants

The Greenbelt Fund opens for application intake at various times throughout the year. Therefore, Ontario food producers, processors, and non-profits are encouraged to prepare applications well ahead of time and be diligent in checking when applications can be submitted. Currently, the program is accepting LOIs until August 3, 2017.

Businesses receive notification about new deadlines when they’re announced by registering for Mentor Works’ Funding Snapshot™ newsletter.

To apply, businesses must first submit a letter of inquiry (LOI). If approved, applicants will be required to complete a comprehensive application package, including project timelines and budgets. Proposals are evaluated based on how well the project demonstrates innovation, economic impact, and systemic change. On average, it can take up to 3 months to receive program approval.

Contact Mentor Works to discuss your eligibility for the Greenbelt Fund. Our team can also provide application support to accelerate the submission process.

 

This post originally appeared on Mentor Works. Mentor Works helps established for-profit companies find and leverage Canadian business grants and loans.