The Homegrown Innovation Challenge

In a climate-changing world, Canada’s high dependence on imported fresh fruits and vegetables makes it vulnerable to food systems disruption. We are able to grow many fruits and vegetables in Canada; however, in large part because of our long winters and high costs of production, we import the majority of our fresh produce from other countries. This over-reliance on imports, coupled with growing public awareness of the need for sustainable and environmentally friendly growing practices, means there is a timely opportunity to improve Canada’s ability to grow fresh fruits and vegetables out of season.

The Homegrown Innovation Challenge will identify teams and support the development of tools and technologies that enable Canadian farmers and producers to sustainably and competitively grow berries out of season. By solving the interconnected challenges that currently prevent out-of-season production of berries at scale, the Homegrown Innovation Challenge will catalyze a range of solutions relevant to a broad array of fruit and vegetable crops in Canada and around the world. 

The Challenge was launched in February 2022, and is funded and delivered by the Weston Family Foundation.

Key points

  • The program will award $33M in total over six years, and an innovation team making it to the end of the Challenge can receive grants totaling up to $8M.
  • Applications for the Spark Phase ($50K to help bring together a team and develop a full proposal for the Shepherd Phase) are due May 3rd 2022. Applications for entry into the Shepherd Phase ($1M to build out a small proof of concept) are due Dec 20th 2022. Applying to the Spark Phase is not a prerequisite to apply for the Shepherd Phase.
  • We encourage multi-stakeholder teams to apply; the lead organization must be a CRA-qualified donee (QD), though non-QDs (including international and for-profit entities) can participate as part of a team. We are happy to support team-building through a number of channels.
  • We are hosting an informational webinar on April 13th, 2022 at 1 pm ET.
  • For more information please check our website ( or contact HGC staff (



Agency Name: 
Western Family Foundation
Contact Name: 
Brandie Lea
Grant Amount: 
$50,000 (to help bring a team together and develop a proposal) $1,000,000 (to build a small proof of concept) up to $8,000,000 total
Grant Location: 
External Deadline: 
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Internal Deadline: 
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Grant Type: 
Grant Area: 
Grant Eligibility: