Seeding our food future 40 businesses at a time

Alison Springate
Alison Springate Guelph Smart City Office • 31 July 2020

Guelph, Ont., July 31, 2020–Today the Guelph-Wellington Smart Cities initiative, in collaboration with Innovation Guelph and 10C, announced the 40 recipients of the Seeding Our Food Future mirco-grants.

There are an equal number of recipients from both Guelph and Wellington County, and the businesses cover all aspects of the food system from farm, processing and distribution, to retail, restaurant, technology, education, hospitality and infrastructure. Eleven of the recipients are new businesses, 25 are existing and four represent collaborations.

Seventy-six applications were received by Innovation Guelph for the grant program. While only 40 grants were available, the organization and partners are looking for ways to help the remaining 36 businesses, where possible.

Strong economies support strong communities

Seeding Our Food Future is one of 10 projects in Grow Back BetterOur Food Future’s 10-point recovery plan in response to COVID-19. This project also supports the City of Guelph’s and the County of Wellington’s overall COVID-19 economic and social recovery efforts.

At its core, Grow Back Better is designed to provide immediate support to our local food economy by supporting new and existing food businesses and strengthening our regional food system resiliency.

The 40 new and existing food system businesses, not-for-profits and social enterprises will receive a $5,000 non-repayable seed funding grant to support their economic recovery efforts while contributing to the creation of Canada’s first tech-enabled circular food economy.

Additionally, the program will provide up to 30 hours of expert advice with guidance from a lead mentor and industry specialists ($4,500 value), and a guaranteed spot in R-Purpose MICRO, a 12-week educational program focused on building sustainable practices, circularity and business resilience, delivered by Provision Coalition, a food industry advisory firm ($1,200 value).

The 40 successful applicants are now eligible to apply for one of 36 interest free loans of up to $10,000 through the Harve$t Impact Fund and the Waterloo-Wellington and Saugeen Community Futures offices. The $360,000 in total financing will support businesses shifting their practices in a way that contributes to the circular food economy.


“It’s wonderful to see this support going to businesses across our County,” said County of Wellington Warden Kelly Linton. “We know these enterprises are already rooted in being good neighbours, and it’s nice to see them recognized as they continue to embrace sustainability and circularity in their work.”

“COVID-19 has deeply impacted the ways people live, work and care for each other in our community, and has highlighted a number of challenges related to food insecurity and mismatches in food supply and demand,” said City of Guelph Mayor Guthrie. “The Seeding Our Food Future grants are another new way to sustain, develop and maintain the robust local food economy by sharing insights across sectors.”

“It’s clear through the number of applications that businesses throughout Guelph-Wellington need support,” said Anne Toner Fung, CEO, Innovation Guelph. “We’re taking steps to help these businesses recover from COVID-19 by providing immediate, direct support that will help them build capacity and resilience.”

“With an overwhelming response to the Seeding Our Food Future grants, we wanted to find a way to support all 76 applicants,” said Julia Grady, Executive Director, 10C Shared Space. “We’re in the process of matching the 36 businesses who did not receive a grant with other local programs. It’s our hope that they will find a collaborator that will help them grow their business in a circular way.”

Grant recipients (alpha order)

About Grow Back Better

Grow Back Better: Our Food Future’s 10-point COVID-19 recovery plan is part of the City of Guelph’s and the County of Wellington’s overall COVID-19 economic and social recovery efforts. For information on the City and County response and recovery efforts, visit and

About Our Food Future

Inspired by the planet’s natural cycles, a circular food economy reimagines and regenerates the systems that feed us, eliminating waste, sharing economic prosperity, and nourishing our communities. In Guelph-Wellington, we are working to build Canada’s first tech-enabled circular food economy that will achieve a 50% increase in access to affordable nutritious food, 50 new circular economy businesses and collaborations, and a 50% increase in circular economic revenue by recognizing the value of waste.

Media contacts

Barbara Swartzentruber, Executive Director
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3066

Justine Dainard, Smart Cities Project Manager
County of Wellington
519-837-2600 extension 2540