Submitted by David Thompson, RAIN Research Project Coordinator
Sault Ste. Marie (November 8, 2016): In partnership with the Northeast Community Network, Eat Local Sudbury and Cloverbelt Local Food Co-operative, the Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN) will be coordinating a multi-year funding program for farm and food businesses in northern Ontario.
The Sustainable New Agri-Food Products & Productivity Program (SNAPP) will provide a grant up to $5,000 at 75% cost share to purchase equipment for eligible activities. Collaborations of three or more entities can be eligible for up to $15,000 at 75% cost share. Program goals include stimulating the development and expansion of the agriculture and food sector in northern Ontario, addressing challenges specific to northern Ontario agri-food production and promoting value-added processing and innovative production and processing practices that increase scalability, profitability, and competitiveness.
FedNor has announced $921,300 in funding over three years. New to the program in 2016 is the addition of three application streams including; Season Extension, New Products and Productivity Enhancement. The first application intake period will open November 15, 2016.
“The timing of this program coincides with our current focus to support increased local food production in Northwestern Ontario,” says Jen Springett, President for Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op. “We are excited to see more agri-products created in our region as a result of RAIN’s efforts.”
Between 2014 and 2015, RAIN and northern partners undertook a pilot to trial the program. This resulted in the following:
• $290,000 in funding provided by FedNor
• 46 successful applicants
• 50 new products
• 7 new businesses
• 25 new full-time equivalent positions
• 17 maintained full-time equivalent positions
• Expansion of products into 35 new retail outlets
“With the success of the pilot, this next phase of the project will enhance productivity and provide opportunities for season extension,” said David Thompson, RAIN Project Coordinator with the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre. “We look forward to working collaboratively across northern Ontario to make new agri-food projects a reality.”
For more information about the SNAPP program, contact: Melissa Watson firstname.lastname@example.org or 705-942-7927 x3135. A SNAPP program guide and application is now available on RAIN’s website at www.rainalgoma.ca/SNAPP.
About the Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN)
The Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN) is a project of the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) and NORDIK Institute. RAIN is supported by the agricultural community, municipalities, the private sector (farmers and businesses), and funding partners to conduct research and provide business development and networking support. RAIN’s vision is to build a resilient farm and food sector in northern Ontario through innovative research and agricultural development projects. www.rainalgoma.ca
About the Cloverbelt Local Food Co-operative
The Cloverbelt Local Food Co-operative aims to strengthen food security by encouraging diverse local food production, thereby enhancing overall rural sustainability. CLFC facilitates farm to table connection – supporting local food producers, and putting better, fresher food on the table. www.cloverbeltlocalfoodcoop.com
About the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre
The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) is a non-profit organization established in 1999 to function as a catalyst for economic development and diversification in the information technology and science knowledge-based sectors. SSMIC’s mission is to drive business growth, facilitate research and commercialize innovation in globally significant areas of science and technology through partnerships, expert advice, community development, business incubation, youth outreach and sector development activities. Key SSMIC business divisions include the Community Geomatics Centre, Rural Agri-Innovation Network, Business Support Services, YouLaunch, Lottery & Gaming and Smart Energy. www.ssmic.com
Jen Springett, Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op
email@example.com, 807-221-3293 x26