Applications Open for Funding for Farmers Through Greenbelt Farmers' Market Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 26, 2017

APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR FUNDING FOR FARMERS THROUGH GREENBELT FARMERS’ MARKET NETWORK
Partners in Production Cost-Sharing Program Supported by Greenbelt Fund

The Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network (GBFMN) is now accepting applications from farmers in and around Ontario’s Greenbelt for the 2017 Partners in Production Program. The Program provides funding for farmers to invest in equipment to bring new or improved products to market.

The GBFMN offers cost-sharing for up to 50% of the cost of the project, to a limit of $2,250 per farm. A $35,000 investment from the Greenbelt Fund, in partnership with the Government of Ontario through the Local Food Investment Fund, made the Project possible and will support between 16-20 farms. The GBFMN program builds on the success of the 2016 Production Opportunities program, which assisted 32 farmers in increasing capacity and launching new products.

Recently funded projects include a filling machine at Spade & Spoon in Ayton, enabling the farm to scale up production of their preserves made from home-grown produce. A cheese aging room at Secret Land Farm in Proton Station expanded the varieties of sheep cheese available at their market tables.

“The Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network is committed to increasing the success of farmers’ markets, and a key finding of our research is that customers and farmers benefit tremendously from increasing the availability of ‘value-added’ products, like preserves and cheeses,” said Anne Freeman, Co-Director of the Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network. “With support from the Greenbelt Fund, this program is helping farmers make investments on their farms to increase capacity, launch new products, and get the most out of their produce.”

“The research shows that shoppers want to support local and are coming to expect more products from their local farmers’ market,” said Kathy Macpherson, Vice President of Programs & Strategy at the Greenbelt Fund. “This program has already delivered strong results in providing farmers with more opportunities to bring not only fresh produce, but also locally-made jams, cheeses, honeys, and more to markets.”

Eligible projects must be designed to improve the quality of products, increase production efficiency, extend seasonal availability, broaden selection at markets, or scale up production of in-demand items. The application deadline for market vendors is November 20th, 2017 and new products will begin appearing on market tables early in the 2018 market season. The application is available online.

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About the Greenbelt Fund:

The Greenbelt Fund changes the way we eat food in Ontario. The Fund’s innovative investments get more local food onto the plates of Ontarians. We work with businesses, institutions and NGOs to make Ontario’s farmers the first choice for consumers. The Fund’s work has generated a 13-fold return on our investments, permanently changed the food value chain and improved local food awareness and education around the province. As a not-for-profit, the Greenbelt Fund is supported by public and private sources.

About the Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network:

The Greenbelt Farmers' Market Network aims to increase the success of farmers' markets in our region. We develop research reports, create a space to share information, provide professional development opportunities for market organizers, allocate small grants to markets and farmers, and promote Greenbelt area markets. We work with a growing network of nearly 100 diverse farmers' markets, contributing to vibrant communities in and around the Greenbelt.

Contacts:
Erica Woods
Communications Manager
Greenbelt Fund
Phone: (416) 960-0001 ext. 306
Mobile: (647) 834-5657
ewoods@greenbeltfund.ca

Peter McClusky
Co-Director
Greenbelt Farmers Market Network
Phone: (416) 536-9103
peterm.gbfmn@gmail.com