HALIFAX, Aug. 12, 2019 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, along with Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax, visited Hope Blooms Garden and Greenhouse to highlight the $50 million Local Food Infrastructure Fund, designed to reduce food insecurity, support community-based organizations, and strengthen local food production through the recently launched Food Policy for Canada.
Over the next five years, the Local Food Infrastructure Fund will support community-led projects at urban gardens, community kitchens, food banks, farmers' markets, and greenhouses. Starting August 15, 2019, eligible organizations will be invited to submit an application through the first intake period for non-repayable funding of up to $25,000.
The Minister also announced that applications are now being accepted until September 20, 2019, for membership in the Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council, a central piece of the Food Policy. The Advisory Council will bring together the expertise and diversity of stakeholders and experts within the food system to address both the opportunities and challenges of today and the future.
The Food Policy for Canada is the product of consultation and collaboration with Canadians across the country. The Government of Canada heard from more than 45,000 Canadians, including food producers and processors, experts in environment, health and food security, Indigenous groups, non-government organizations, and community advocates.
The vision for the Food Policy for Canada developed through these consultations is: All people in Canada are able to access a sufficient amount of safe, nutritious and culturally diverse food. Canada's food system is resilient and innovative, sustains our environment, and supports our economy.
To realize this vision, the Government of Canada is investing more than $134 million through Budget 2019, to support new initiatives in key action areas, including:
- a Buy Canadian Promotion Campaign that will aim to increase pride and consumer confidence in Canadian food;
- support for community-led projects like greenhouses, community freezers, and skills training that address food challenges and food insecurity in Northern and isolated communities;
- a challenge fund to support new and innovative approaches to reduce food waste in food processing, grocery retail, and food service;
- new funds to help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency crack down on food fraud – the mislabeling and misrepresentation of food products – to protect consumers from deception and companies from unfair competition; and
- taking the first steps to work alongside provinces, territories, and not-for-profit organizations towards the creation of a National School Food Program.
The Food Policy for Canada aligns with the objectives of initiatives across the Federal Government, such as the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Heathy Eating Strategy, and the Poverty Reduction Strategy, among others.
"Everyone at the table!"
"Through Food Policy for Canada investments, such as the Local Food Infrastructure Fund, we can make an impact right here in Nova Scotia and across the country, especially when it comes to addressing food insecurity and supporting diverse community-led projects. Our Government is taking action today to ensure Canadians have access to healthy food while shaping a healthier and more prosperous future for our families and communities."
- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
"I am proud to join Minister Bibeau at Hope Blooms to highlight the positive change that just one organization can make in our community. The Food Policy for Canada will support initiatives like this one, working to make a better food system all across the country."
- Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax
- Applications under the first stream of the Local Food Infrastructure Fund (Infrastructure and Equipment Improvement Projects) will be accepted between August 15 and November 1, 2019. This stream aims to enable small community-based organizations to improve their infrastructure and purchase equipment that is directly related to the accessibility of healthy, nutritious, and local foods within their community.
- The Government is now engaging with potential applicants on the second stream of the Local Food Infrastructure Fund (Projects to Strengthen Local Food Systems), where applicants may receive up to $250,000 in non-repayable financial assistance for capital and food equipment. Interested organizations are invited to take part in the online consultation.
- The Canadian Food Advisory Council will report to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and will include a diversity of members from the agriculture and food industry, health professionals, academia, non-profit organizations, and Indigenous organizations. More information on the application process and selection criteria may be found online.
- The Food Policy will also help the country meet its commitments under the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, including to end hunger, promote good health, cut food waste, and encourage sustainable food systems.
- Since 2008, Hope Blooms has had a measurable impact on food security, community confidence and inclusion, and education. It also actively engages youth to grow food in 4,000 square feet of organic food gardens seasonally, and year-round.
SOURCE Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
For further information: Katie Hawkins, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, [email protected], Mobile: 613-290-3896; Media Relations, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, 613-773-7972, 1-866-345-7972, [email protected]