Greenbelt Fund Awards $21k for Innovative Food Waste Management Plan

Greenbelt Fund Local Food Investment Fund Ontario Agriculture Grants

Casa Bonita Foods Inc. is an Ontario-based food processor making authentic Mexican tortillas and tortilla chips with fresh, local ingredients. Their products are served at restaurants in Toronto and sold at Sobeys grocery stores across Canada. The company has recently received Ontario government funding to purchase new equipment, incorporate more Ontario ingredients, and introduce a new product line with an innovative manufacturing process.

Casa Bonita Foods Inc. has received $21,000 in agriculture grants from the Greenbelt Fund: Local Food Investment Fund (LFIF).  

The Greenbelt Fund: Local Food Investment Fund was created to support Ontario-based food processors, agricultural not-for-profits, and farmers, and to increase the number of locally-grown and processed food options available to Ontario consumers. Greenbelt Fund grants for Casa Bonita Foods’ projects will result in significant business growth and new opportunities to establish relationships with the local food value chain.

$21k in Greenbelt Fund Grants Support Casa Bonita Foods’ Food Waste Reduction Initiatives

As food waste continues to be a global issue, agri-food companies are devoted to reducing food waste in their operations. Casa Bonita Foods is taking action on the need to cut back on food waste by incorporating innovative and environmentally friendly alternative processes.

Casa Bonita Foods has received $21,000 in Ontario government funding for food waste management from the Greenbelt Fund: Local Food Investment Fund.  

The agriculture grants from the Greenbelt Fund will allow Casa Bonita Foods to purchase new climate-controlled equipment to increase production, ultimately growing their business and creating new jobs. The company also hired Kirsten Fairholm, a product development manager, to help introduce a new line of products that will bring health, environmental, and social benefits to Ontario consumers.

Kirsten Fairholm and Casa Bonita Foods wanted to find an innovative way to reduce the amount of food waste generated during production. Research led them to discover that with the large number of microbreweries in operation, 30 million tonnes of spent grain goes unused every year around the world. This led them to choose spent grain as the main ingredient to use in their new tortilla products. Even though the grain is suitable for human consumption, it is rarely used in food products. With a great chance of success and an opportunity for waste reduction, Casa Bonita Foods reached out and partnered with Great Lakes Brewery in Toronto. The idea was to use the brewery’s spent grains and incorporate the ingredients into a new line of tortilla chips. The fibre and malted barley provides a nice texture and sweetness to the tortilla chip.

The new line of chips is currently sold at Great Lakes’ food truck and the official launch will be in Sobeys grocery stores in 2019.

Greenbelt Fund: Ontario Government Funding for Agri-Food Businesses

The Greenbelt Fund: Local Food Investment Fund (LFIF) was established to improve access to Ontario-based agricultural products. It offers Ontario government grants to offset a portion of eligible project costs related to increasing the amount of food and beverage products produced and consumed within the province.

Proposed projects must either strengthen the value chain of food products made with Ontario ingredients, create food hubs to increase farmers’/food processors’ access to retail/food service, or enable businesses to access new and emerging markets through networking or business intelligence.

Eligible applicants may receive up to 50% coverage of project expenses to help improve access to and consumption of Ontario food and beverage products.

The Greenbelt Fund LFIF is divided into three project streams:

  • Market Access: Encourages sustainable value chain relationships and provides insight into new or growing markets.
  • Broader Public Sector: Developing strategies to increase the public sector and food services’ demand for local food products.
  • Local Food Literacy: Expand local food awareness and literacy campaigns to educate consumers.

The program is currently closed and has not yet released a date for future intakes.

Ontario agri-food businesses interested in knowing when the next round of Greenbelt Fund applications are annoucned please register for Mentor Works’ Government Funding Snapshot Newsletter.

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