Rural Economic Development (RED) Program

The RED Program, operated by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, is divided into two streams. The Planning Stream will provide funding for projects that will aid rural communities and regions develop a foundation for economic growth and development, as well as promote local leadership, increase collaboration, and build capacity across regions for economic development. The project must fit under one of the two categories: Economic Development Plans and/or Strategies or Research and/or Analysis to Support Planning and Priority-Setting. The Implementation Stream provides funding to projects that will strengthen rural and regional economic development, as well as projects that have been identified through a form of an evidence-based planning program. The project must fit under one of the following three categories: Business/Sector Development and Diversification, Regional Marketing, Promotional and/or Branding Activities, or Human Capital and Skills Development, Attraction and Retention.

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food – Local Food Fund

The Local Food Fund supports innovative local food projects that celebrate local food, and help create jobs and economic growth in Ontario. In order for the project to be eligible it must fall under one of the following four categories: Regional and Local Food Networks, Enhanced Technology, Capacity or Minor Capital, Research and Best Practices, or Marketing, Promotion and Education. Projects in one of the categories must add to the Local Food Fund’s existing goals.

Canadian Agriculture Adaptation Program
The program is intended to facilitate the agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector’s ability to seize opportunities, to respond to new and emerging issues and to pathfind and pilot solutions to new and ongoing issues in order to help it adapt and remain competitive. Eligible applicants are any Canadian legal entity that is capable of entering into a contract. Projects that qualify for the funding include those that seize opportunities, respond to new and emerging issues, and offer solutions to both new and ongoing issues. For more info please check out their webpage

Canadian Dairy Commission’s Matching Investment Fund (MIF)
This fund is made with the intent to provide funding to inspire growth and innovation in the making and usage of Canadian dairy products and ingredients. To qualify for the funding you must be a registered Canadian company or a recognizable food technology center that develop, manufacture and’or use dairy products and ingredients. There is additional criteria to be met in order to be eligible for the funding.

Growing Forward 2

Growing Forward 2 provides funding to producers, processors, organizations and collaborations. Their funding is available under 6 categories: environment and climate change adaptation, animal and plant health, market development, labour productivity enhancements, assurance systems (food safety, traceability and animal welfare) and business and leadership development. The Growing Forward 2 fund stresses innovation, competitiveness and market development.

Grants Ontario

Grants Ontario provides access to information about grants that are available from the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration; Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport; and, the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario. It also provides an online application form and instructions on how to apply for grants and how to check the status of your application.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation

Public Health Agency of Canada Innovation Strategy

Heifer International Canada
Heifer International Canada (HIC) has provided grants for up to $5,000 from Ontario-based organizations with charitable status for projects aimed at assisting people in need to engage in food-oriented income generating activities. For more information about HIC, visit and .

Metcalf Foundation
The goal of the George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation is to enhance the effectiveness of people and organizations working together to help Canadians imagine and build a just, healthy, and creative society. Grantmaking work is focused in three specific areas:
– sustaining the vibrancy of the professional performing arts,
– harnessing the benefits of living within the Earth’s environmental limits and
– improving low-income peoples’ economic livelihoods and access to quality jobs.

Real Food Movement Grant Program
Hellmann’s Real Food Grants Program is focussed on initiatives that encourage families to learn about and experience real food

OMAFRA List of Funding Programs and Support for Food Businesses
This list of funders includes includes federal, provincial and municipal programs as well as some programs offered by utilities providers. Contact information is included for each of the programs.

Ontario Natural Food Co-op Community Development Fund
ONFC grants funds to organizations who promote sustainable food choices. ONFC will fund up to a maximum of $5,000 or a maximum of 10 percent of the organization’s total annual budget. They will consider multi-year applications which span a maximum of three years.

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation
The Foundation is dedicated to promoting and sustaining the Greenbelt as a beneficial, valuable, and permanent feature, enhancing the quality of life for all residents of Ontario. Their vision is a vibrant and healthy Greenbelt with a protected and restored natural environment, a strong and successful rural countryside, a robust agricultural sector and a pattern of urban settlement that supports the Greenbelt. They support a variety of activities in the following three program areas:
– Promoting Greenbelt-grown food;
– Greening the Greenbelt through cleaner air and cleaner water; and
– Inspiring innovation in the Greenbelt.