Our Food Future launches Guelph-Wellington Community Agriculture Challenge

Guelph, Ont., July 29, 2022–How can local businesses, not-for-profits or individual community members apply circular principles and community agricultural practices to improve access to nutritious food in Guelph-Wellington?

Our Food Future project leaders are looking for these ideas, and have funds available to help get them off (or into) the ground. Up to $2,000 is available for successful submissions, with up to 10 grants being awarded across Guelph and Wellington County. The program will be led by Harvest Impact—a social financing program of 10C and a core pillar of Our Food Future.

“There’s significant potential to produce food in non-traditional areas, including backyard gardening, container gardening on balconies or rooftops, and community food sharing programs,” said Ashlee Cooper, program coordinator, Our Food Future.

“We’re looking for proposals for projects that will inspire more community food production to help people participate in growing and accessing nutritious food, getting more local food to the table with less environmental impact,” added Julia Grady, executive director, 10C. She notes that locally grown and distributed food requires less transportation and production such as packaging, which requires energy and has climate impacts.

Circular economy practices seek to reduce climate impacts, make the most of the food we produce by minimizing waste or finding new purpose for food by-products such as peelings, and address social inequities such as food insecurity.

“We’re focused on community resilience as a core outcome, and encourage submissions from a range of applicants including equity-deserving and rights-bearing groups across Guelph-Wellington,” said Grady, noting that previous Our Food Future grant applicants or recipients are encouraged to apply for new funding to expand their work and neighbourhood engagement.

Eligible projects must be community-based or led, implemented in Guelph or Wellington County in the 2023 growing season, have strong community participation, and measurable community benefits embedded in their goals. Any group looking to establish a new community garden is encouraged to follow the City’s or County’s existing approval process. However, groups looking to use an existing community garden may apply for grant funding.

Individuals, groups, not-for-profits or businesses interested in applying must submit their idea through 10C’s secure online portal, also accessible at foodfuture.ca. Submissions will open on Food Day Canada, July 30, and will remain open until Monday, October 17 at 5 p.m. Winners will be announced in late November. Applicants who are unable to access the internet or who need support to apply should contact investment@harvestimpact.ca or (519) 780-5030.

“Food Day Canada is a coast-to-coast celebration of Canadian food innovation, and it started right here in Guelph-Wellington,” said Cooper. “It’s an ideal date to launch this challenge. We’re a place where food problems get solved and we’re looking forward to seeing exciting ideas for community agriculture.”

Additional Quotes

“The high participation in the Guelph-Wellington 2021 Urban Agriculture Challenge was a fantastic indicator that there’s growing momentum in our community to embrace circular principles and community agriculture models that help address critical social issues. We’re pleased to be able to introduce another funding opportunity to help bring even more of these ideas to life.”

Barbara Swartzentruber, Executive Director, Smart Cities Office

“The pandemic accentuated the need for new and innovative approaches to food access for everyone. Wellington County has long been associated with innovative local food growing and distribution projects, and this is an opportunity to encourage more organizations and individuals across the County to get involved. I can’t wait to learn more about the ideas people will bring to the table.”

Justine Dainard, Smart Cities Manager, County of Wellington

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 modern circular food economy that will achieve a 50 per cent increase in access to affordable nutritious food, 50 new circular economy businesses and collaborations, and a 50 per cent increase in circular economic benefit by unlocking the value of waste.

Our Food Future is one of the ways the City of Guelph and County of Wellington are contributing to a sustainable, creative and smart local economy that is connected to regional and global markets and supports shared prosperity for everyone.

Media Contacts

Ashlee Cooper, Project Coordinator, Smart Cities
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3544

Julia Grady, Co-Founder/Executive Director