The Weston Family Foundation is offering $33M in funding for food manufacturing projects
by CM Staff
The applicants should address the interconnected challenges related to growing berries out-of-season, and catalyze a range of solutions relevant to a broad array of fruit and vegetable crops in Canada.
TORONTO — The Homegrown Innovation Challenge, funded and delivered by the Weston Family Foundation, is working to try and create food supply solutions in Canada. The applicants should address the interconnected challenges related to growing berries out-of-season, and catalyze a range of solutions relevant to a broad array of fruit and vegetable crops in Canada and around the world. The Challenge aims to build partnerships between growers, farmers, engineers, scientists, and technologists (to name a few). The overall goal is to leverage Canada’s talent-pool, and resources into scalable solutions, and transform the way food is manufactured and produced.
The Challenge was launched in February 2022 with the Spark phase. The Weston Family Foundation announces that in August 2022 fifteen teams were each granted $50,000 of seed funding to support the development of their concept, build their team, and finesse their application for the next phase, called the Shepherd Phase.
“The judging panel is thrilled with the creativity and ingenuity of our Spark Awardees. Some early solutions include an underground berry farm, a year-round greenhouse with 3D berry production, and a multi-tiered sustainable system that will optimize crop health and production density for small-scale farmers in Northern climates. The sheer diversity of the projects submitted speaks to the incredibly broad scope of possibility and potential. We cannot wait to see the innovative projects yet to come!” said Emma Adamo, chair, Weston Family Foundation.
As the Homegrown Innovation Challenge moves into the Shepherd phase, the company announces they are actively soliciting more individuals and teams to sign on — there are few boundaries to the potential innovations welcomed to the table (deadline for applications December 20, 2022). In this phase, ten teams will be awarded $1 million each to develop proof-of-concept over an 18-month period, leading to more funding in the Scaling phase, commencing January 2025. “We value all kinds of collaboration and our applicants do not require previous experience in agriculture,” says Ms. Adamo. “But after the December 20 deadline, the door closes to new applicants. Revolutionary ideas need funding to be realized, and we don’t want anyone to miss this significant opportunity.”