The Ontario Government is investing over $830,000 in 24 innovative projects bringing more local food to Ontario plates across the Province. Since 2015, the Greenbelt Fund has invested $3.8 million to support 77 projects across Ontario.
The projects are:
Bayfield Berry Farm Increasing Processing of Ontario Fruit Juices, Cider, Preserves & Fruit Liqueurs ($37,250)
Bayfield Berry Farm will expand their on-farm processing facility to meet growing demand for fruit juices, ciders, preserves and fruit liqueurs. The expansion will allow Bayfield Berry Farm to develop packaging and labelling, including requisite nutritional information, to sell their products to wholesale and retail markets, in addition to their on-farm shop. The project is expected to increase sales by up to 50% in their first year.
Cauldron Kitchen Inc. Local Food Entrepreneurship Program ($5,000)
Cauldron Kitchen will launch a Local Food Entrepreneurship Program for 4-8 participants to build the skills to create a viable local food business. Participants will have access to business development classes, mentoring and commercial kitchen use.
Cohn Farms Processing and Distribution Hub ($72,500)
Cohn Farms will be scaling up capacity at its processing and distribution hub to meet growing demand for local food, which is outpacing supply. The project is expected to double the number of farms supplying Cohn Farms to 25-30, create over 15 full-time equivalent jobs, and increase sales of local food by over $4m per year.
Deep Roots Food Hub Grow West Carleton – Food Hub ($48,500)
Deep Roots Food Hub will increase access to local produce by investing in a new co-packing approach for its roots cellar, providing storage, distribution and marketing opportunities to area farmers. In addition, the project will expand the Good Food Box program and include an “Eat West Carleton” promotional campaign.
Earth Fresh Farms Increasing Access for Ontario’s New Innovative White Potato ($42,900)
Earth Fresh Farms will work with 9 Ontario growers to grow premium Polar White potatoes and extend the season for Ontario white potatoes. The project is expected to increase the market for Polar White, Ontario potatoes significantly, with increased sales of well over $1m a year.
Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario Supporting Local Food Market Access for Ecological Growers Across Ontario ($14,475)
The Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario will increase market access for small to mid-scale ecological producers by providing specialized training through workshops and farm tours, including selling to new markets (eg. Food hubs, retail, wholesale, farmers markets), on-farm value-added opportunities, and new and emerging markets (eg. World crops, heritage grains, ecological fruit).
Farmersville Community Abattoir Farmersville Community Abattoir – Processing Equipment ($30,141)
Farmersville Community Abattoir is a new, not-for-profit initiative to establish a community-owned abattoir to meet the needs of the farming communities in Leeds and Grenville, Frontenac, Lanark and Ottawa-Carleton. By establishing a community-owned facility, Farmersville Community Abattoir will help ensure the long-term viability of the agricultural system in Eastern Ontario for 1,300 farmers in the region and increase local food sales by $240,000.
Farms at Work – Tides Canada Initiatives Expanding Impact and Sustainability of Local Food Month in Peterborough ($15,000)
Farms at Work will expand the impact and improve the sustainability of Peterborough Local Food Month, by working in partnership with Transition Town Peterborough to facilitate local food-related workshops, events and tours throughout September and culminating in the Purple Onion Festival.
Flanagan Foodservice Homegrown – Local Food Project ($42,840)
Flanagan Foodservice is Canada’s largest family-owned foodservice distributor and will increase sales of Ontario foods by increasing its local food offerings, improving traceability, and investing in a promotional campaign to improve awareness of Ontario food available to its customers. The project is expected to increase local food sales by $1 million in 2017.
Greenhouses Canada Northern Ontario Mobile Growing Facility ($52,283)
Greenhouses Canada will purchase a mobile “grow truck” to serve as an indoor demonstration and training site, and allow for transportation of fresh produce to remote northern communities (including on seasonal ice roads). The project is expected to increase local food sales by $117,000.
Halton Healthcare Good For You, Locally Grown – Phase 2 ($51,500)
Halton Healthcare will build on the progress made to increase local food served in its hospitals by working with farmers, manufacturers and other industry colleagues to develop recipes using Ontario food that meet the nutritional needs of patients. The project will also establish branding to identify local food choices to patients, as well as a marketing campaign to promote the local food offerings at Halton Healthcare facilities.
Len & Patti’s Butcher Block Improved Production Efficiency to Increase Ontario Raised Pork, Beef, Lamb, Elk & Goat ($46,438)
To meet growing demand for Ontario raised meats, Len & Patti’s Butcher Block will invest in modernized machinery to increase production capacity. The project will include a new smoke house, tumbler, sausage stuffer, and patty machine. The increase in production capacity is expected to increase the sale of local meat by $2.5 million by the end of 2017.
Local Line Inc. Local Line Food Hub Project ($28,316)
Local Line will build custom local food hub software for Ontario food hubs, based on a market assessment of the needs of Ontario’s existing food hubs. The platform will leverage existing Local Line marketplace and reporting software to create easy-to-use software for new and established local food hubs.
Munye Kitchens Increasing Local Food Outreach – Multi-Ethnic African Communities & Beyond ($23,495)
Munye Kitchens will create a local food guide for multi-ethnic African communities to increase awareness of locally-grown foods relevant to the African communities and identify where Ontario-grown produce can be purchased. The project will also educate consumers on how to use African crops like okra and callaloo, grown in Ontario and the Greenbelt.
Muskoka Foundry Market Assessment for the Development of a Local Food Hub ($30,000)
Muskoka Foundry will establish a new aggregated local food hub in Northern Ontario in Bracebridge’s historic Foundry building. The space will include 10 permanent retail spots for agri-food processors, and provide mentorship opportunities for new processors and producers through an additional 10-15 temporary vendor stalls. The project is expected to increase local food sales by $1.5m per year.
National Farmers Union – Ontario Building a Network of Local Food Advocates ($32,675)
The National Farmers Union – Ontario will enhance local food literacy across the province by building a network of local food advocates across a number of sectors, including educators, healthcare providers, faith communities, artists, academics, outdoors professionals, and youth. The NFU will create tailored local food information material for the different advocates and create a directory of local food advocates.
Neyaashiing Smoked Fish Increasing Access for Local Neyaashiing Smoked Fish Products ($13,250)
Neyaashiing Smoked Fish will invest in upgrades to its smoking facility to improve food preparation, food safety and production output. This will allow Neyaashiing Smoked Fish to increase access to new markets for smoked fish sourced and processed in First Nations communities, both through retail and wholesale market channels.
Poechman Family Farms Microgreens for Pastured Eggs ($38,100)
To supply the growing consumer demand for humane eggs, Poechman Family Farms will invest in significant changes to enhance quality of life for their hens. The project will involve the introduction of open coops and added egg-laying privacy, installation of a stable cleaner to reduce ammonia levels, freshly grown greenhouse microgreens to augment the hens’ diet, and a “play” area for the hens to take dust baths, scratch the soil for worms and gravel, and fly to perches for observing all the activity. These improvements may also contribute to more flavourful eggs. And it will provide experience for the Poechmans to share innovations with other egg farmers in the Ont. Organic Farmers’ Co-Operative and the Yorkshire Valley Farms distribution group.
Reiche Meat Products Ltd. Growing Opportunities for Local Poultry ($14,550)
Reiche Meat Products will meet a significant gap in the agricultural system in Renfrew County by establishing poultry processing facilities, which are currently not available in the county. The availability of an abattoir in the county will allow existing small-scale poultry farms to scale up and meet growing demand for local poultry at farmers’ markets and in stores. The project is expected to increase local food sales by $100,000 and bring 20 new farmers to market.
Select Food Products Implementation of New Cooking Line to Increase Production Capabilities and Access the Ontario Market ($75,000)
Select Food Products has made a significant investment in a new cooking and production line in order to deliver a made-in-Ontario with Ontario ingredients French’s Ketchup. The project will nearly triple production capacity for Select and help French’s to execute on its commitment to make and source ketchup in Canada.
Victorian Order of Nurses – Windsor Essex Promoting Local Food Literacy & Increasing Local Food Consumption in Southwestern Ontario Schools ($18,988)
The Victorian Order of Nurses delivers school breakfast and snack programs that feed over 100,000 students every year. This project will develop local food literacy awareness materials for students and parents, to accompany increased local food served through these programs.
Wendy’s Mobile Market Season-Extension, Value-Adding Processing and Services ($71,538)
Wendy’s Mobile Market will retrofit a cow barn into a local food processing and storage facility to offer season-extending and value-added processing to local farmers. The facility will create new processed products including jams, jellies, preserves, dried fruit, and frozen entrees.
West Niagara Agricultural Society Niagara 4-H Local Food Booth ($14,463)
West Niagara Agricultural Society will partner with Niagara 4-H to purchase a road-worthy trailer for the volunteers of the 4-H club to bring to food and agricultural events throughout the region. The trailer will allow the 4-H to introduce their local food products to urban and near-urban students who might not otherwise be exposed to local food offerings.
Wickens Lake Sunshine Greenhouse Retrofit Extension – Northern Ontario ($9,942)
Wickens Lake Sunshine will invest in a retrofit and extension of its existing hydroponics greenhouse to extend the farms’ growing season and increase capacity. Once the upgrades are complete, Wickens Lake Sunshine will partner with Open Roads Public School and the Cloverbelt Local Food Co-Op to supply produce for the school’s salad bar program, bringing more local, nutritious food to students.
The Greenbelt Fund 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.