Ontario’s dynamic agriculture industry continues to grow and diversify thanks to key investments from federal, provincial, and local sources. Canadian government funding programs, in addition to advocacy initiatives for local food consumption, have helped agricultural producers and processors increase revenues and introduce new products and services. This approach has been a key factor in the success of Ontario agribusiness.
The Greenbelt Fund, a not-for-profit organization in Ontario, has been instrumental in driving demand for locally grown and processed food. Greenbelt Fund also administers provincial funding for agribusiness, municipalities, and food services through the Local Food Investment Fund. These Ontario government grants may provide up to 50% of expenses for projects that increase awareness and consumption of local food across the province.
The following article will help guide you through the most critical details of the program and identify if your organization qualifies.
Greenbelt Fund – Streams of Agribusiness Grants
The Local Food Investment Fund seeks to bolster Ontario’s agricultural industry through three unique ways. This includes:
- Increasing the amount of local food purchased and consumed by the broader public sector;
- Improving agribusiness’ ability to access new market opportunities; and
- Enhancing local food literacy among Ontario consumers.
Does your business or organization support any of the following project types? If so, you may be eligible to recover up to 50% of project costs through Ontario government grants.
Broader Public Sector Projects
Project funding will be extended to recipients who are:
- Developing strategies that increase public sector food consumption;
- Revising institutional food ordering to track the amount of local food purchased;
- Implementing food purchasing systems that identify where food was produced and processed;
- Providing resources and training to increase staff knowledge of how to promote local food to broader public sector purchasers; and
- Enhancing or upgrading equipment to enable year-round delivery of local food products.
Market Access Projects
Ontario organizations and agribusiness may also receive Greenbelt funding for projects that involve:
- Conducting market research to better understand consumer food preferences;
- Developing value-added food processing techniques such as washing, canning, freezing or dehydrating;
- Developing training and/or education materials that reduce market barriers for local agribusiness; and
- Business planning that leads to greater value chain relationships between local food processors, food hubs, and aggregators.
Local Food Literacy Projects
The Local Food Investment Fund will also provide up to 50% of project expenses for:
- Developing and producing education/training materials, promotional materials, and sales resources;
- Organizing local food competitions or events that promote the benefits of consuming locally-grown food; and
- Delivering local food education sessions or training (including providing classes, in-facility education, or farm visits).
Applicants Eligible for Greenbelt Fund Agribusiness Grants
A wide range of applicants are eligible to receive government grants through the Local Food Investment Fund. Please ensure that your project fits one of the streams above, and that your organization is:
- A member of the private or public sector;
- Able to execute the proposed project;
- Able to contribute a minimum of 50% of the project expenses in cash; and
- Willing to enter a formal written agreement with the Greenbelt Fund.
How to Apply for Greenbelt Fund Local Food Investment Grants
Program Update: Greenbelt Fund’s Local Food Investment Fund has an upcoming deadline of April 26, 2017. Please contact a Government Funding Planner to discuss your eligibility and receive application support.
Greenbelt Fund grant applications can be submitted online through the Local Food Investment Fund application portal. This requires applicants to register their business/organization and complete a statement of intent (SOI) identifying project impacts.
Approved SOIs are invited to submit a full application (approximately 15-20 pages) to be considered for Ontario government grants. This includes the submission of financial statements and a comprehensive evaluation of how the project will increase local food consumption.
If your business, municipality, or not-for-profit organization has questions regarding program eligibility, or would like to request assistance for the application process, please contact a Government Funding Planner from Mentor Works.
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