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Weston Family Foundation launches Homegrown Innovation Challenge


February 10, 2022
By The Weston Family Foundation

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The Weston Family Foundation will launch a new $33-million Homegrown Innovation Challenge to spark creative solutions and encourage new ideas to boost the sustainable production of fruits and vegetables in Canada.

The challenge centres around a competition to generate solutions that will enable domestic food producers to grow 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 interconnected challenges of growing produce out of season in Canada.

To gauge the level of public awareness of these issues, the Weston Family Foundation recently surveyed more than 1,500 Canadians. The study found that 65 per cent of Canadians underestimate the proportion of fruits and vegetables imported from foreign countries. Additionally, 73 per cent of Canadians indicated that not relying on imported fruits and vegetables is an important measure to guard against future disruptions. So, while consumers recognize the situation, they are unclear about its severity.

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Challenge prizes are a tried-and-tested method for incentivizing innovation, with clear goals, objective criteria, and a laser-like focus on solutions and outcomes. Developed by the Weston Family Foundation and Nesta Challenges, the Homegrown Innovation Challenge calls on entrepreneurs and innovators, food producers and farmers, researchers and scientists

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

To learn more about the process and how to apply, please click here.