Innovation challenge supports Canadian fruit and vegetable production

The Weston Family Foundation has launched a $33 million challenge for Canadian producers in an effort to spur development of long-term fruit and vegetable production.

The Homegrown Innovation Challenge will run until 2028, supporting new ideas, technology, and business models that will help offset the 80 per cent of fresh fruit and vegetables currently supplied through imports to Canada.

Using a competition model, the challenge will focus on growing berries out of season, sustainably, competitively, and at scale. Funding will be awarded in stages over six years to eligible teams developing tools and technologies that solve the challenge of growing produce out of season, the foundation says.

RealAgriculture’s Bern Tobin spoke with Tamara Rebanks, project chair and director for Weston Family Foundation, to discuss the challenge, how Canadians view fruit and vegetable production, and how to get involved with the project.

The ultimate winner of the challenge could be awarded as much as $8 million, with funding also available to eligible teams that progress through different stages as they develop, scale, and ready their innovations for market.

Learn more about the criteria and process for applications at www.homegrownchallenge.ca.

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