Local Food Infrastructure Fund: Applicant guide
Purpose of this Guide
This guide will:
- help you determine if you may be eligible for funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) under the Local Food Infrastructure Fund.
- provide you with directions and explanations to assist you in completing an application for the program.
1.0 About the Local Food Infrastructure Fund
The Local Food Infrastructure Fund (LFIF) is a five-year, $50 million initiative ending March 31, 2024. The program is part of the Government of Canada’s Food Policy which is Canada’s roadmap for a healthier and more sustainable food system in Canada. The LFIF objective is to strengthen food systems and to facilitate access to safe and nutritious food for at-risk populations.
The LFIF is aimed at community-based, not-for-profit organizations with a mission to reduce food insecurity by establishing and/or strengthening their local food system. Its objectives are to:
- improve access to safe, healthy and culturally-diverse food while promoting community development
- support local economies
- improve health outcomes for Canadians most at-risk
- promote environmentally sustainable food systems
The fund supports community-based, not-for-profit organizations to improve their food systems through investments in infrastructure that are directly related to addressing food insecurities and increasing the accessibility of healthy, nutritious, and ideally, local foods within their community. Food systems, including the way food is produced, processed, distributed, consumed, and disposed of, have direct impacts on the lives of Canadians. The social, health, environmental, and economic components of food systems are interdependent and are integral to the wellbeing of communities.
The fund is designed to foster increased connections within food systems by enabling organizations to partner with communities, the private sector, academia and other organizations to collectively strengthen local food systems and address food insecurity in a sustainable manner. Through these connections, community partnerships will be able to foster integrated food system solutions that enhance the social, health, environmental, and economic benefits in a particular area.
1.1 Eligible applicants
Eligible applicants are not-for-profit organizations that have been in operation for at least two years as a legal entity capable of entering into a legally-binding agreement. Furthermore, applicants must be able to demonstrate the ability to maintain the proposed operations beyond the funding period.
Eligible applicants consist of:
- community or charitable organizations
- Indigenous groups
- not-for-profit co-operatives
Although schools and school boards may apply under this program, they are encouraged to work with not-for-profit organizations to improve access to nutritious foods in schools.
As well, municipalities may apply only if there are no not-for-profit organization in the community currently working in this capacity.
For open markets, they must be non-profit and provide a service to populations at-risk and where no profit is generated in relation to the project.
1.2 Eligible projects
Projects should be mostly infrastructure specific, community-driven and dedicated to improving access to safe and healthy foods for Canadians at risk of food insecurity. The risk factors and prevalence of food insecurity vary from community to community and can impact Canadians in both rural and urban environments through a lack of access to affordable and nutritious food choices.
For the purpose of this fund, Canadians at risk of food insecurities are part of one of the following groups:
- Persons who are homeless or street-involved
- Low income households
- Isolated and rural communities
- Persons with disabilities
- Other groups with social or employment barriers including literacy and numeracy
- Newcomers to Canada (including refugees)
- Visible minorities
- LGBTQ2 community
- Official language minority communities
- Other (please specify)
Eligible projects can range from simpler infrastructure requests such as purchasing a refrigerator for a food bank to more complex requests that strengthen local food systems, such as projects that integrate multiple areas of the value chain through the creation of partnerships. The applicant must demonstrate how their project will be integrated into and strengthen the local food system and how it will impact the well-being of community members.
Priority will be given to projects that add to or build on local food systems that establish rich partnerships, that are sustainable, and that use a holistic approach to addressing food insecurity. Projects may include a teaching component that requires the purchase of infrastructure and complements the organization’s current service; for example instruction on food preparation skills at a community kitchen or tools for teaching how to grow fresh fruits and vegetables.
Eligible activities include, but are not limited to:
- capital assets and equipment for the collective production of food such as community kitchens, community gardens, and urban farms
- equipment needed for the preparation, refrigeration, distribution and storage of food
- vehicles and transport equipment such as refrigerated trucks and trailers
- technology systems including digital, production and/or distribution platforms
- energy systems such as greenhouses and solar panels
- water infrastructure including irrigation systems and rainwater capture
- modernizing facilities to accommodate new production and processing approaches
- exploring, testing and developing innovative solutions, best practices, and tools
- developing infrastructure to support learning opportunities that benefit local producers and consumers
No profits should be derived from the projects undertaken through this fund and all benefits should return to the targeted community(ies). Infrastructure should not be used for the commercial production or processing of food.
1.3 Eligible costs
Following are the eligible and ineligible costs under this program and any limitations or instructions you need to know to help you complete your budget.
Eligible Cost Items
- The Purchase of new or used equipment
- Alteration or modernization of an asset that appreciably prolongs the period of usefulness of the item, or improves its functionality
Examples of capital assets specific to this program:
- Refrigerated trucks
- Community kitchens
- Food processing equipment
- Cold storage/shelving/forklift
- Solar panels/generators/fuel storage
- Community gardens
- Urban farms
- Green infrastructure, such as trees and plants for food forests
- Irrigation systems/rain water capture
- Digital systems production and/or distribution platforms
Ineligible costs and Limitations
- Ineligible costs
- The purchase of land or buildings
- The purchase or lease of private/personal vehicles
- Capital expenditures must be essential for the execution of the proposed project and their ownership must be maintained for a minimum of two years after the completion of the project
Other Direct Project Costs
Eligible Cost Items
- Project costs associated with the completion of the project such as:
- Installation costs
- Freight charges
- Transportation costs
- Personal protective equipment
- Storage bins or shelves
- The non-refundable portion of provincial sales taxes, GST/HST or other value-added taxes
- Contractors if used, must be engaged through a fair, competitive and transparent process or otherwise justifiable process for a finite timeframe to perform specific services related to the project
- Labour costs may be considered for incremental (additional) staff for a specific period of time and solely required for the implementation of the project
- The purchase of perishable and/or non-perishable food
- Structural renovations not specific to the project
- Normal costs of establishing a commercial operation
- Labour costs associated with the ongoing operations/current staff
- Costs related to marketing activities and business promotion
- Costs for activities intended to directly influence/lobby governments
- Hospitality costs
- Travel costs
- Costs to prepare the application and negotiate the agreement
- Other costs not specifically required for the project
For large-scale project funding requests over $50,000, administration costs will be calculated at a rate of 10% of the total eligible costs of the project and will be cost-shared with the Recipient. However, capital items worth $100,000 or more are not eligible for the 10% administration rate and will not be included in the calculations.
The administrative rate will cover the:
- costs of project management salaries or services
- use of office accommodations
- office materials
- use of office equipment
- audit fees related to the organization
- bank fees
- membership fees
- legal fees
Note: Administrative costs described in this section cannot be claimed separately under the program because they are covered by the 10% administrative flat rate.
Costs may be retroactively covered to the date your application was received and deemed complete by the program. Incurring costs before a project decision and until an agreement is fully executed between AAFC and your organization is a risk as these costs may be deemed ineligible under the agreement.
1.4 Funding and cost sharing
Applicants under this program will be eligible to receive a minimum of $5,000 and up to $250,000 in non-repayable funding as follows.
- Grant funding for projects requesting funding up to and including $50,000; (no administration costs will be paid)
- Non-repayable contribution funding for projects requesting funding above $50,000 and up to $250,000.
Successful applicants are required to enter into a legal agreement with AAFC.
- a transfer payment subject to pre-established eligibility and other entitlement criteria. The recipient may be required to report on results achieved.
- a transfer payment subject to performance conditions specified in a funding agreement. A contribution is to be accounted for and is subject to audit.
- cash contribution
- an expense requiring a cash outlay, by either your organization or by a participant/contributor (such as a partner or other government), during the term of the project. A cash contribution made by another project participant should be reported as part of your sources of funding, and must be contributing to an eligible project cost.
- in-kind contribution
- the fair market value of goods contributed to the project, which required no outlay of cash (for example use of previously-owned equipment, goods received as donation, etc.).
Eligible project costs will normally be shared between AAFC and the applicant as well as partners who strongly support the project. Priority will be given to projects that are highly supported by other financial contributors, have built partnerships with other sections of the food supply chain and/or demonstrate community engagement, high impact and an ability to mobilize multiple resources.
Other funding sources can be from the:
- industry associations and networks
- other federal departments
2.0 Expected results
LFIF is expected to strengthen food systems to be resilient, integrated and sustainable, and to facilitate access to safe and nutritious food for at-risk populations.
As organizations make increased investments in local food infrastructure, their capacity to provide healthy and nutritious food within their community will increase.
Organizations will be able to provide an improved or more efficient level of service, expanded services, or an increase in the number of service offerings.
3.0 Assessment process
As the program’s primary goal is to strengthen food systems and to facilitate access to safe and nutritious food for at-risk populations, priority will be given to projects that demonstrate an increase or improvement to their service.
Partnerships and collaboration within the community and within the supply chain to increase access to healthy foods will be considered as priority projects. Impact on the food accessibility of the communities they serve, especially for rural and remote communities will also be reviewed more favorably.
Proposals will be evaluated and ranked based on their merit and the extent to which they also meet, the following criteria:
- Impact on the community (fills an identified food-related need, number of beneficiaries, etc.)
- Relevance of the project to the local context (food security, access to traditional foods for Indigenous communities, access to fresh and locally-grown food, etc.)
- Mobilization of the community (concrete participation of various partners, financial contributions, etc.)
- Long-term sustainability of the project (how the project will continue to benefit the community after the investment)
- Social innovation, heath promotion or education as it relates to food insecurity (introduces a new way of addressing food security, etc.)
Furthermore, proposals must clearly demonstrate the:
- The need for the requested infrastructure or equipment improvement
- The increased capacity to address food insecurities
- The organization’s ability to achieve the proposed activities beyond the funding period
4.0 Reporting on your project
Recipients will be required to report on expenditures and results achieved. Reporting requirements are proportionate with the amount of funding from AAFC.
For projects of a value of $50,000 or under, only a final performance report will be required. This report could include pictures of the installed equipment, social media posts and a brief description on the impact to the community.
For projects of a value above $50,000 and longer-term, progress updates, budgetary reports and a final performance report will be required. Frequency will be proportionate with the amount of funding and a project risk assessment.
Performance and Results Reports
The final report should include the following:
|Performance measures||Brief description|
|Degree to which the Recipient has increased its capacity to provide healthy and nutritious food as a result of the project.
Note: increased capacity is defined as improved level of service, increased service efficiency, expanded/scale-up of services, increased number of service offerings, increased number of partnerships, etc.
|The Recipient will be asked to provide an assessment on a numeric scale of the level of change regarding its capacity to provide healthy and nutritious food.|
|Degree to which healthy and nutritious food availability has increased in communities as a result of the project.||The Recipient will be asked to provide an assessment on a numeric scale of the level of change regarding the availability of healthy and nutritious food in the targeted community(ies).|
|Percentage change in the amount of food produced/distributed by program recipients||The Recipient will be asked to report on the quantities of food that it produces/distributes to its clientele, both before and after the project.|
|Perceived decrease in the level of food insecurity in the communities served by the Recipient as a result of the project.||Recipient’s perception of how the project has helped decrease the level of food insecurity in the communities served. The Recipient will be asked to provide an assessment on a numeric scale to support this, in addition to qualitative information.|
| Performance measures are subject to changes at the discretion of the Minister.|
Budgetary Reports (for projects above $50,000 only)
The budgetary reports will be applicable to contribution recipients only (for projects over $50,000). Recipients must retain copies of quotes, invoices, and proof of payment for eligible project costs incurred to substantiate expenditures being claimed. The frequency of the reports will be determined at the time of the signing of the contribution agreement with AAFC. These reports may also include a section that provides progress updates on multi-year projects.
Other reports may be required at AAFC’s discretion.
5.0 M-30 Act (for Quebec)
The Province of Quebec’s M-30 legislation may apply to Quebec-based applicants only. It is the Act Respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif (R.S.Q., c. M-30). More information is available online or by contacting the department from which you receive the majority of your funding.
M-30 applies to various types of Quebec organizations. For example, organizations located in Quebec and receiving more than half of their financing from the Government of Quebec may be subject to the act. When inquiring as to whether or not your organization is subject to this act, you will need to provide your most recent financial statements and letters of patent (if applicable).
All Quebec based organizations who are subject to the act will have to obtain a ministerial order from the Secrétariat du Québec aux relations Canadiennes (SQRC) prior to entering into an agreement with AAFC.
6.0 How to Apply
Applications will be accepted until December 31, 2023 (or an earlier date) based on funding availability. Applicants may submit a proposal for a minimum ask of $5,000 to a maximum ask of $250,000. Project activities must be completed by March 31, 2024.
For information on how to complete a project application, refer to Annex A: How to complete the application.
If you have problems opening a PDF form in your Internet browser, you need to:
- Use your computer. The forms may not open on mobile devices (iPads, tablets, mobile phones).
- Make sure you have Adobe Reader 11 (or higher) already installed on your computer. If not, download Adobe Reader 11 or higher for free. Adobe has help for solving common issues.
- You must save the file on your computer in a place you can remember.
- Open the file on your computer using Adobe Reader 11 or higher.
- If you can’t open the form with Adobe Reader 11 or higher, contact the program.
How to download and open a PDF form
Microsoft Windows Operating System computers using “Internet Explorer” or “Microsoft Edge” as your browser
- Right-click on the link you want to save
- Select “Save target as” or “Save link as”
- Choose the location on your computer where you would like to save the file
- Select “Save”
- Open Adobe Reader 11 or higher
- Select “File”
- Select “Open”
- Go to the location where you saved the file
- Select the PDF file
- Select “Open”
Microsoft Windows Operating System or Apple computers using “Chrome” or Firefox” as your browser
- Right-click on the link you want to save
- When the option menu appears, choose "Download link file" or "Download link file as"
- Choose the location on your computer where you would like to save the file. Your computer will start the download once you have selected a location.
- Open Adobe Reader 11 or higher
- Go to the location where you saved the file
- Select the PDF file
- Select “Open”
A complete online application package consists of:
- a completed project application form (PDF) (required)
- Signature of Applicant Authorized Representative (PDF)
- confirmation of legal entity and/or not-for-profit status
- letters of Financial Support, and if applicable, Project Endorsement Letters
It is the applicant’s responsibility to identify if information contained in an application is considered commercially confidential. This information will not be disclosed unless required by law, including the Access to Information Act, or upon express authorization of the applicant.
7.0 After you apply
Once your application has been submitted, an acknowledgment notice will be sent to you.
Note: Applicants should not consider an application as submitted to the program until an acknowledgement notice is received.
After your application has been received, AAFC verifies that all required forms and declarations have been completed and there is sufficient detail in the application for a full assessment. When the application has been deemed complete and ready for assessment, notice will be provided to you. Service standards for assessments begin only once the application is deemed to be complete.
Once you submit an application, AAFC’s goal is to:
- respond to general inquiries made to the program’s phone number or email address before the end of the next business day
- acknowledge receipt of applications within one business day
- acknowledge complete status of your application within five business days
- assess applications and send approval or a rejection notification letter within 50 business days of receiving a complete application package
Please note that even if a project meets all eligibility criteria, the submission of an application creates no obligation on the part of the Minister or of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada officials to provide funding for the proposed project. The Minister retains discretion to determine, based on other public policy and public interest considerations, whether an application that meets the criteria identified in this guide will ultimately receive funding.
8.0 Contact information
For more information on the Local Food Infrastructure Fund, please contact the program by:
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