CanNor announces successful applicants for Phase 1 of the Northern Food Innovation Challenge 

CanNor announces successful applicants for Phase 1 of the Northern Food Innovation Challenge 

Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)

Food insecurity has long been an issue in the North and Arctic with the high costs of labour and transportation, and socio-economic challenges impacting people’s ability to buy food. This is why the Government of Canada is committed to making strategic investments to strengthen Northern food systems.

Last year, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) launched the Northern Food Innovation Challenge (NFIC), a new approach to addressing socio-economic challenges that is part of the Northern Isolated Communities Initiative (NICI) program. The objective of NFIC is to support innovative, community-led projects for local and Indigenous food production systems to help improve food security in Canada’s territories.

Food challenge seeks innovative solutions in Canada’s territories

Today, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, announced nine projects from across the three territories that have been selected to enter into Phase 1 of the Challenge. This represents an investment of over $2 million from the Government of Canada in food security.

Nearly 50 applicants responded to the call for proposals. All applications underwent an extensive review that included input from external experts.

Phase 1 of the Challenge is a proof of concept and testing of innovative food security solutions where the successful applicants are funded up to $250,000 to test their ideas. Phase 2 will be a deployment phase where up to three successful applicants from Phase 1 will be eligible to each receive up to $1 million to scale up their projects. The projects that are chosen for Phase 2 will be announced in 2023.

Projects focus on community-led projects

These nine projects focus on different aspects of Northern food insecurity and use innovative, community driven solutions to address these issues. These projects include testing emerging sectors for Northern food production; providing financial support to hunters; creating new storage and processing facilities; training people in communities with new skills in harvesting, processing, and distribution; and creating new models for sharing traditional food knowledge. To help with the development of these projects or initiatives, workshops will be held to provide an opportunity for applicants, experts, and other interested parties to exchange ideas and provide guidance and suggestions.