Increasing Access to Markets
Demand for Ontario food has never been stronger, with consumers applying pressure on retail, institutional and foodservice operators to have more local and regional options available. In order to meet this demand at a competitive price, Ontario’s agri-food industry needs to find efficient and cost-effective ways of bringing more of Ontario’s diverse, high-quality products to these markets.
Regional aggregators and value-added service providers (often referred to as “food hubs”) are proliferating across North America as a feasible option for providing efficient local and regional value chain linkages to small and medium-sized farmers and processors. Given market trends, these services are instrumental in getting these smaller enterprises access to mainstream foodservice and retail markets.
The Market Access Grant Stream aims to build on these trends by providing funding to identify and capitalize on existing market opportunities through the development of local food aggregation, co-packing and distribution capacity, and enhancing the availability of processing and value-added services for Ontario farmers.
Goals of Market Access Grant Stream
This grant stream has four areas of focus, as outlined below:
- Regional Aggregation and Food Hubs – assist in the development and growth of food hubs and regional aggregators, increasing the number of farmers that have access to retail, wholesale, foodservice and farmers’ markets.
- Value-added Local Food Processing – encourage the development and growth of products made with Ontario ingredients, strengthen value chain relationships, and enhance the competitiveness of Ontario’s food processing sector.
- Support the acceleration of growth of food processors by strengthening organizations that provide food incubation, acceleration and commercialization services.
- New and Emerging Markets – assist with business intelligence, networking and relationship building tools to assist new and emerging markets scale up and access multiple market channels.
- Regional and Rural Economic Development – support NGOs, municipalities and their institutional and food value chain partners to build the regional agri-food economy by undertaking priority impactful actions.
For examples of activities that could form parts of a project, or to learn more about the eligibility requirements, download the updated Grant Application Guidelines.
Grant Stream Inquiries
If you have questions about our grant program, please feel free to contact us using our online form and our grant officer will respond to your inquiry.
NOTICE: Application process for the Local Food Investment Fund is currently CLOSED.
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