BACKGROUNDER: Local Food Investment Fund Round 4 Recipients
The Government of Ontario is investing nearly $500,000 in 19 innovative projects that will help bring more local food to Ontario plates across the province. With $4.2 million in support from the Ontario Government, the Greenbelt Fund has supported 96 projects across Ontario since 2015.
The projects are:
Aramark Canada Go Local Every Day ($15,000)
Aramark Canada will partner with Azoti to test out a proactive ordering system that commits a buyer (in this case, Aramark’s Carleton University account) to purchase a certain volume of produce one year in advance from area farmers to grow towards guaranteed demand. The project is expected to benefit five local farmers, generate sales of $60,000 and create two new part-time jobs.
Bell’s Edge Farm Specialty Butter and Ghee ($10,000)
Bell’s Edge Farm will purchase packaging equipment to optimize the production of local flavoured butter and ghee, while developing new products under their flavoured butter line. Bell’s Edge Farm is currently the only purveyor of ghee and flavoured butter sourced from Canadian ingredients. Bell’s Edge Farm forecasts an increase of $152,625 in local food sales during the project’s duration, and will create two full-time and three part-time jobs.
Country Heritage Park Building an Ontario Social Innovation Food Hub ($15,000)
Country Heritage Park will launch a new local food food hub that will make it easier for farmers in the Halton region to access new markets and collaborate with local food entrepreneurs. Country Heritage Park will also provide discounted rates for non-governmental organizations and social enterprises to access its facility, conduct school farming programs, connect local farmers with food security organization Feed Halton, and provide farming and food service training for vulnerable populations with special needs. The project is projected to generate $25,000 in local food purchases within the first six months, and $150,000 when the facility is fully operational.
Exceldor Foods Limited Implementation of Packaging Line for Fresh Ground Turkey Products ($52,750)
Exceldor Foods will invest in a new packaging line to replace traditional styrofoam packaging for its Butterball brand ground turkey. The new packaging will be more convenient for consumers as the resealable packaging makes it easier to portion and to freeze. In addition, by reducing packaging materials the new line will be more environmentally sustainable. Working with Metro grocery stores, Exceldor will promote Butterball ground turkey as a healthy, Ontario-raised protein. The project is expected to increase Ontario turkey sales by $203,000 in 2018 and $1.59 million over five years.
Fairhaven Farm Ontario Grown Black Seed (Nigella Sativa): An Innovative Project to Develop This World Crop Locally ($20,000)
As Canada’s only commercial producer of black seed honey, Fairhaven Farm will invest in equipment to increase capacity and production to meet growing demand for local black seed honey. This honey is currently imported primarily from Asia and the Middle East, and is of religious and cultural significance to the Muslim community, as well as popular in the holistic nutritional market. The investment is expected to increase production from 800kg to 3,000kg per acre per month.
FoodShare South to North Good Food Distribution: Northern Food Justice in Motion ($60,000)
FoodShare will reboot its northern food distribution program, which delivers affordable, fresh produce to remote northern communities experiencing food insecurity including Moose Factory, Fort Albany, Moosonee, and Attawapiskat. The project will strengthen consumer relationships between northeastern Ontario communities with southern Ontario growers, and is forecast to increase local food sales by $120,000 in the first year.
Grape Growers of Ontario We Grow the Wines You Love ($20,000)
Grape Growers of Ontario will partner with Metro and Food Basics grocery stores to promote the availability of VQA wines at 10 retail locations. The promotion will distinguish VQA wines as 100% Ontario grape wines, profile local grape growers and directly engage with shoppers.
Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network Partners in Production 2017 ($35,000)
The Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network, in partnership with FoodShare, will provide cost-sharing investment assistance to 16-20 small and medium-sized farms to increase and diversify offerings at local farmers’ markets. The investments will improve quality, extend the season, or develop value-added products for market.
Huron Business Development Corporation Local Food in Local Schools, South Huron ($10,000)
Huron Business Development Corporation will pilot an Ontario student nutrition program in partnership with three to four South Huron schools, sourcing its fruits and vegetables from area farms. Locally-grown produce will be processed at a local community kitchen, and aggregated at a local food bank. Student, teacher and project partner surveys will be conducted to assess the efficacy and value of the pilot. The project will generate $6,000 in local food purchases and create one part-time job.
John Millar Farm Egg Room Storage ($6,000)
John Millar Farm Ltd., the only licensed egg-grading facility in Peterborough County, will enlarge and improve energy efficiency of its egg storage facility, providing the farm access new market channels including local farmers’ market and high-end restaurants. The project will generate $36,000 of local food sales during the project’s duration.
Norfolk Cherry Company Ltd. Increasing Storage Capacity and Extending Marketing Season for Ontario Apples ($40,000)
Norfolk Cherry Company will partner with Norfolk Fruit Growers’ Association to retrofit its storage facility to accommodate growing cold storage needs of local apple growers. Cherry production enjoys a relatively short season, with the facility going unused much of the year. This project addresses a shortfall in storage capacity for local apples while maximizing the use of Norfolk Cherry Company’s facility.
Northumberland County Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC) ($32,400)
The Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre supports the business development of local food products by providing equipment and facilities to test product ideas and markets. The OAFVC will purchase an automated liquid filling and bottling machine to meet growing demand from clients and food entrepreneurs to create natural fruit drinks, edible oils and other bottled products.
On the Move Organics Local Food, Ready to Eat ($20,000)
As the only organic online home delivery service and food hub aggregator in London, On the Move Organics will expand its ready-to-eat product line to include 30 new meals. The project is expected to increase local food sales by $320,000 and expand market opportunities for 40 small-sized family farms.
Parkhill Meats Limited Increasing Processing of Ontario Raised Halal Beef, Veal, Lamb and Goat Product Through Improved Production and Cooling Efficiencies ($35,000)
Parkhill Meats will invest in new equipment to increase capacity at its halal processing facility, using 100% Ontario-raised beef, lamb, goat and veal. The investment in new refrigeration and packaging facilities will increase local food sales by 20% to $1.2 million annually.
Ripple Aquaponics Local Lime and Capacity Building ($15,000)
Ripple Aquaponics will establish a new growing facility on Seneca College’s Newnham campus to grow lime basil for its new “local lime syrup,” which will be processed at Food Starter’s commercial kitchen. Ripple Aquaponics will also train four staff to become certified food handlers to process the lime basil into syrup. Additionally, Ripple Aquaponics will investigate sustainable packaging and labelling of its new syrup. The project is expected to generate $120,000 of local food sales during the project duration, and create two full-time and two part-time jobs.
Riz Global Foods Feasibility Study for a Local Halal Distribution Hub ($25,320)
Riz Global Foods will conduct a feasibility study and develop a business plan for a halal food hub in the GTA. The hub would provide retailers, food service providers and food processors with access to halal certified meats, sourced in Ontario.
University of Waterloo Local Growth Initiatives ($20,000)
The University of Waterloo aims to increase local food purchases by $500,000 through a variety of activities, including the development of local burgers, fries, smoked meat and deli meats. A companion local food promotion and education strategy will highlight local menu options, expand local food displays in the eatery and increase local food literacy through a poster and marketing campaign on campus.
The Whole Grain Hearth Heritage Grains ($9,000)
Whole Grain Hearth will trial growing four to five heritage grain varieties for Ontario climate suitability, which will then be passed on to a local bakery to process and test to optimize bread recipes. Tasting events will be held to promote the new products, while Whole Grain Earth staff will attend networking events to showcase products and transfer knowledge. The project is expected to generate $12,000 of local food sales during the project’s duration, and create one full-time and one part-time job.
Zast Foods Corporation NudeSoup – Developing Locally Sourced Soups ($46,000)
Zast Foods will launch a new frozen soup line, NudeSoup, featuring 6 frozen soups made with Ontario ingredients, in partnership with Longo’s. The project is expected to increase local food sales by $200,000 annually.
The Government of Ontario has invested significantly in projects across Ontario to increase local food awareness and sales. Since 2010, the Greenbelt Fund has seen a 13:1 return on its investment in local food projects.
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