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Announcing the Homegrown Innovation Challenge

Six-year challenge aims to build the resilience of Canada’s food system

February 8, 2022

The Weston Family Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of its $33-million Homegrown Innovation Challenge to spark creative solutions and encourage new ideas to boost the sustainable production of fruits and vegetables in Canada.

The Challenge centres around a competition to generate solutions that enable domestic food producers to grow berries out of season, sustainably, competitively, and at scale. Funding will be awarded in stages over a six-year period to eligible teams developing tools and technologies that solve the interconnected challenges of growing produce out of season in Canada.

Why now?

Like many countries around the world, Canada is heavily reliant on imports of fresh fruits and vegetables, predominantly from climate-vulnerable markets. In fact, some 80 per cent of all fruits and vegetables consumed in Canada are imported. This reliance on other countries creates the potential for future food shortages due to shocks and food-systems disruptions.

That said, because of its long agricultural history, socio-economic profile, and extreme seasons — made even more extreme through the effects of climate change — Canada is an ideal testbed for innovation.

The Challenge is funded and delivered by the Weston Family Foundation. The initiative launched today and an innovation team that progresses through all challenge phases and ultimately claims the final awards would receive up to $8 million in funding to develop and scale their innovation.


Press release

Media backgrounder

To learn more about the criteria and process for applications, please visit the Homegrown Innovation Challenge website.