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Agri-food projects receive $2.2M in northwestern Ontario

Funds designed to help expand food production, add jobs to sector
Roots to Harvest in Thunder Bay will receive $500,500 to purchase and renovate a building for operations.

Roti, freshly roasted coffee, and farmed fish are on the menu of northwestern Ontario agri-food-related projects to share in $2.2 million from the provincial government.

Funnelled through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp., the funds announced on Oct. 25 are aimed at expanding operations, creating jobs and driving economic growth.

“Our government recognizes the importance and significance of local food sources to our wellbeing and economy,” said Greg Rickford, minister of Northern development, mines, natural resources and forestry in a provincial news release.

“We are providing access to healthy food options for Northerners, and also cultivating business development, diversification and growth in the food industry across northwestern Ontario.”

The breakdown of projects and their funding follows:

  • $500,500 for Roots to Harvest – a non-profit and charitable organization in Thunder Bay – to purchase the building it currently leases and renovate the space to include a community dining area and collaborative workspace for partner agencies. The association previously received $34,200 to build an accessible kitchen and training area;
  • $373,394 for North Highland Farm to purchase and expand a dairy farm in Kakabeka Falls;
  • $189,000 for Superior Roti to establish a roti-making business in Thunder Bay;
  • $171,149 for B&B Farms Thunder Bay in Rosslyn to increase its potato production capacity by purchasing equipment and expanding its facility;
  • $158,012 for Thunder Bay Co-Operative Farm Supplies in Slate River to increase its fertilizer storage capacity by purchasing equipment and expanding its facility;
  • $156,643 for Elite Beef to establish a meat processing plant in Thunder Bay that specializes in premium beef cuts;
  • $137,221 for Woollysteer Ranch to establish a heritage breed cattle and pig farm in Nolalu;
  • $124,000 for Heartbeat Hot Sauce Co. in Thunder Bay to increase its hot sauce production capacity by relocating to a larger facility and purchasing equipment;
  • $123,225 for CharKuu 102 to establish a pig farm in Gorham that specializes in cured pork;
  • $59,350 for Bluejay Meadows Farm to establish a mushroom, garlic and hay farm in Kakabeka Falls; 
  • $55,000 for St Paul Roastery in Thunder Bay to increase its coffee roasting capacity by purchasing equipment and expanding its facility;
  • $52,500 for Silver Creek Farm to establish a cattle and pig farm in Kakabeka Falls;
  • $43,501 for the Association of Community Pastures to establish three rotational grazing systems in O’Connor Township. The farming technique – new to Northwestern Ontario – divides a large pasture into smaller lots, allowing cattle to be moved from one lot to the next every few days. The technique promotes new vegetation growth, increased nutrient intake for cattle and better beef yields for farmers; and
  • $37,500 for Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation to conduct environmental assessment work on developing rainbow trout open pen aquafarming at three potential sites on Lake Superior.

According to the province, since June 2018, the NOHFC has invested more than $374 million in 3,713 projects in Northern Ontario, leveraging more than $1.3 billion in investment and creating or sustaining over 5,500 jobs.