Local Agri-Food businesses are receiving help from the governments of Canada and Ontario to establish or expand their online presence.
Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, dozens of farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations are receiving help to develop or expand e-commerce ventures this year. By focusing more resources online, Ontario agri-food businesses are broadening their marketing channels, increasing online sales and providing consumers with greater access to a wide variety of food and agriculture products.
“COVID-19 has been a major disruptor and has accelerated change to the way we do business in agriculture,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “This funding announcement today is helping our farm and food businesses to adapt to the new reality and take their sales online to different e-commerce platforms. Not only will these investments support the trend towards buying local, but it has the potential to support more direct-to-consumer sales for our farmers and food businesses.”
The following is a list of local businesses receiving assistance:
- Against the Grain Farms of Winchester Inc.
- Avonmore Berry Farm
- Barkleyvale Farms Ontario Maple Products
- Cornerstone Organics
- Fieldless Farms Inc.
- Frank Sugar Shack
- Ganden Gardens Ltd.
- Glengarry Maple
- Jamink Farm
- Kirkview Farms
- Mi Cocina
- On The Bend Sugar Shack
- Paperboat Farms
- Pickle Patch Farm
- Rijke’s Produce Farm
- Stonehouse Vineyard
- The Glengarry Market
A complete list of approved and contracted projects is available Here
“This support is helping many Ontario agri-food businesses better and more quickly adapt to the retail challenges of this unprecedented time and to modernize their operations for the future,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “COVID-19 has changed the way we shop, and our investment in e-business will go a long way to safely connect more retailers with more consumers.”
The Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative featured two streams of funding. One provided grants of up to $5,000 for eligible applicants to establish an online and marketing presence.
The second stream allows eligible organizations, businesses and collaborations to apply for cost-share funding to implement high-impact e-business projects. Projects funded under this category include $75,000 for Farmers’ Markets Ontario to develop an online platform, protocols for logistics of online orders and distribution, as well as marketing and training activities for Ontario’s farmers markets. There were no successful applicants from this region.
The funding is in addition to other programming launched this year to assist the sector in meeting challenges related to the COVID-19 outbreak, including:
- The $25.5 million Agri-food Prevention and Control Innovation Program to help reduce disruptions in business operations and risks of COVID-19 exposure in the workplace;
- The launch of a portal to connect farms and other agri-food sector business with labour needs to job seekers;
- The creation of a $26.6 million Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program;
- The investment of an additional $50 million into the Risk Management Program for 2020, one year earlier than originally promised.
Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed support to more than 4,200 projects, through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.
- The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billion investment which includes $1 billion for federal activities and programs, and $2 billion in cost-shared programs delivered by provinces and territories on a 60-40 basis.
- Businesses in more than 200 Ontario municipalities were supported by this programming.
- Applicants in the non-grant stream of the Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative were eligible for cost-share funding up to $75,000.
- The Digital Main Street program supports small businesses in downtowns and main streets across Ontario, including providing the training and support needed to adopt digital technologies that respond to changing retail and service environments due to COVID-19.
- The Ontario agri-food sector supports more than 837,000 jobs in Ontario and contributes more than $47.5 billion each year to the province’s economy.