BURNABY, BC, May 25, 2022 /CNW/ - All Canadians, regardless of where they live, deserve to have access to safe and nutritious food. Today, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced an investment of up to $2 million from the Local Food Infrastructure Fund for 38 projects across the province of British Columbia. This funding supports community-based and not-for-profit organizations in their efforts to provide rapid responses to food insecurity issues.
During a visit to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank's Burnaby location, Minister Bibeau toured the 40,000-square-foot warehouse which includes a kitchen, refrigerator and freezer space, and volunteer lounge, where she learned about the organization's support of community food security. Food bank representatives also showed Minister Bibeau pictures of the new walk-in fridge and freezer installed at the downtown Vancouver facility, made possible by a Local Food Infrastructure Fund (LFIF) grant of up to $98,687. This community project has increased cold food storage capacity by 3,400 cubic feet, which allows the food bank to provide more fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and other frozen products for Vancouver residents in need than ever before.
Every region has its own unique challenges when it comes to food security—this is especially true for Northern and remote communities. In Canada's North, food prices can be significantly higher than in the rest of the country. Factors such as isolation and socioeconomic issues make northerners particularly vulnerable to food security challenges. These challenges have reinforced the need for long-term, community and regionally-based solutions.
The newest phase of LFIF, announced on March 23, 2022, is set to open for application intake on June 1, 2022. This phase of the Fund has been tailored to meet the needs of Indigenous, Northern and remote communities by providing funding to help them build a food system that will meet both current and future community needs. Funding of up to $20 million is available over the next two years for eligible projects that must be infrastructure-specific, community-driven and dedicated to improving access to healthy, nutritious, and local foods for Canadians at risk of food insecurity. For example, a project could help expand a community harvest program to include traditional methods for transforming food and distribution. Grant funding for projects can range from $100,000 to $500,000 to support larger initiatives that will have a lasting impact in communities.
Program details and requirements are available now, and applications for this intake phase can be submitted from June 1, 2022 until July 15, 2022.
The Government of Canada is committed to working with community-based food security organizations to ensure they have access to the necessary tools that help them to meet the increasing and immediate needs of people experiencing food insecurity in Canada.
"Since the launch of the Local Food Infrastructure Fund in 2019, 821 community-led projects have been supported by our government. It is clear that organizations working with communities are in a unique position to meet the needs of the most vulnerable. We will continue to equip them to support them in their essential mission of contributing to food security."
- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
"Many people in our local community are grappling with food insecurity currently. We are hard at work to implement rapid responses and create long-term solutions to hunger through the Local Food Infrastructure Fund. Here in British Columbia, through local projects, such as the expansion of cold food storage for Greater Vancouver Food Bank, we are ensuring community members have access to and can afford quality, fresh and nutritious food wherever they live."
- Ken Hardie, Member of Parliament for Fleetwood–Port Kells
"The funding the Greater Vancouver Food Bank received through the previous round of LFIF has been transformational for our Vancouver food distribution facility. The refrigeration has enabled us to distribute more fresh fruits, vegetables and frozen proteins to our clients than ever before in Vancouver. Over 60% of our clients reside in Vancouver, and we are seeing a record-breaking number of new clients seeking our support each month. This infrastructure support from the federal government came at a time when we needed it the most."
- David Long, CEO, Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society
Budget 2021 included an additional $10 million for LFIF, to support rapid-response grants that help prevent hunger through investment in infrastructure needs. To date, 175 projects have been approved across Canada.
Since it was first launched in August 2019, LFIF has committed $36.5 million to supporting over 821 growth-generating food security projects across Canada, such as: community gardens and kitchens; refrigerated trucks and storage units for donated food; greenhouses in remote and Northern communities; and more. Of this total, LFIF has supported 120 projects led by Indigenous organizations for up to $5.7 million in approved funding.
The Government of Canada is also delivering the $330 million Emergency Food Security Fund by providing funding to national and regional organizations, which in turn support food banks and local food organizations across Canada.
In addition, $25 million has been provided to Nutrition North Canada to increase subsidies so northern and isolated communities can afford much-needed nutritious food and personal hygiene products. Budget 2021 committed $163.4 million to expanding the Nutrition North Canada program and enabling the Minister of Northern Affairs to work directly with Indigenous partners, including in Inuit Nunangat, to address food insecurity.
For more information on LFIF, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 1-877-246-4682 or visit: agriculture.canada.ca/local-food.
SOURCE Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
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