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Healthy Ecosystems

Weston Family Soil Health Initiative

Soil Health on Agricultural Lands

Deadline: May 11, 2022

The Weston Family Foundation invites interested applicants to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) to the Weston Family Soil Health Initiative; an initiative designed to promote and increase soil organic matter on agricultural lands in Canada.

*The deadline for submitting LOIs to the Weston Family Soil Health Initiative has now passed*


Program Overview

Loss of biodiversity on agricultural lands is occurring at an unprecedented rate due to agricultural intensification and habitat loss. Research shows that Canada’s agricultural lands offer an immediate and large-scale opportunity to mitigate further biodiversity losses, and by promoting and increasing soil organic matter, we can help support more adaptive and resilient agricultural lands.

Goal: The initiative seeks to expand the adoption of ecologically-based beneficial management practices (BMPs) that increase soil organic matter in order to improve biodiversity and resiliency on agricultural lands across Canada. The LOIs will allow the Foundation to understand the opportunities and comprehensive project ideas that currently exist, in order to build an informed framework for the proposal phase.

The initiative’s goal will be supported by the Foundation’s longer-term strategy which is comprised of catalyzing and shepherding ‘winning approaches’, to ultimately scaling projects with the greatest opportunities for impact. Successful applicants who meet the defined selection criteria within the LOI will be invited to submit full proposals.

Strategy: The initiative aims to increase the number of agricultural producers using BMPs that are scientifically proven to help increase soil organic matter on farmland. Through multi-year investments, the initiative aims to promote a behavioural shift towards the wider acceptance and adoption of the following BMPs:

  • Cover Cropping;
  • Nutrient Management (4R Principles); and
  • Crop Diversification/ Rotation.

Project Eligibility: Our strategy is designed to test which of the following approaches maximize the adoption rate of the desired BMPs in an efficient and scalable manner. Eligible approaches include:

  1. Incentivizing Stewardship: Projects which incentivize producers to adopt one or more of the identified BMPs (e.g. reverse auctions, community-based models).
  2. Outreach/Education and Training: Projects which increase access to, share technical knowledge of, and train producers on the identified BMPs.
  3. Sustainability Certification/Standard: A project which aims to establish a sustainable farmland management certification/standard at scale.

Funding: The timeframe for this ‘spark phase’ will run 3-5 years in length with a total funding envelope of $10M.

Application Process:

  1. Confirm intent to apply by emailing conservation@westonfoundation.ca
  2. Submit a completed Letter of Intent (see template below) and send to conservation@westonfoundation.ca by May 11, 2022 at 8:00 PM ET / 5:00 PM PT.

Program Documents

LOI Guidelines

LOI Template

FAQs

Important Dates

Information Webinars: April 18, 2022 @ 1 pm ET (register here) and April 25, 2022 @ 1 PM ET (register here)
Letter Of Intent deadline: May 11, 2022 @ 8:00 PM ET / 5:00 PM PT
Proposal deadline (for invited applicants): July 18, 2022 @ 8:00 PM ET / 5:00 PM PT*
Anticipated award announcement: Early October 2022*

*Subject to change