In late 2011, the Foundation created a Regional Value Chain Program, with a focus on strengthening the ability of regional producers, processors, distributors, food service providers and retailers to make healthy, sustainably produced food accessible to all Canadians, by whatever means appropriate in individual communities.
The Value Chain Program provides resources and funding focused on assessment of regional food systems, business planning, and learning for projects working to structure regional food markets around values of sustainability, inclusion, and health. Projects that reach the implementation phase will receive support to access matching funds and loan financing. Application to this program is open by invitation only. Regional Value Chain Program grantees are: Southwest Economic Alliance (London Training Centre); Food Matters Manitoba; Antigonish Regional Development Authority; Corporation of the County of Perth; Opportunities Waterloo Region; Nature-Action Québec; Ecology Action Centre; Toronto Food Policy Council; Living Oceans Society; All Things Food Network; Vancouver Farmers Markets; Just Food; CHEP Good Food Inc; United Way of Greater Moncton and Southeastern New Brunswick / Really Local Harvest; and Saveurs des Cantons.
We define sustainable regional value chains as the series of relationships between producers, processors, distributors, food service providers, retailers, and other actors that are needed to get healthy, sustainably produced food to regional markets on a large scale. The challenge of creating such value chains is to ensure that producers receive fair compensation, that food is produced, processed, and transported sustainably, and that the final product is affordable and widely accessible. We differentiate value chains from direct-marketing initiatives and existing supply chains. Direct-marketing projects are successfully providing regionally and sustainably produced food, but only to a small proportion of the population, while existing supply chains provide food to major markets, but are not organized around principles of sustainability and regionalism. The goal of sustainable regional value chains is not to replace, but to complement and influence the existing food system. Learn more about the Regional Value Chain Program.
Regional Food System Assessment Fund
As the initial stage of the Foundation’s Value Chain Program, the assessment fund has been designed to support organizations in identifying and communicating the current realities of regional food systems. With grants of $15,000, it funds quick scans of regional food chains, both existing and potential, with the aim of providing a solid foundation for the future development of projects in each region selected. Learn more about the Regional Food System Assessment Fund.
Note: The Regional Food System Assessment Fund is now closed.
Business Planning Fund
As the second stage of the McConnell Foundation’s Value Chain Program, the business planning fund is designed to support organizations in developing and communicating their financial plans to potential partners and funders. Matching grants of $15,000 are provided. Learn more about the Business Planning Fund.
Note: The Business Planning Fund is open to applicants by invitation only.
To support the implementation of applicants’ business plans (or other results of food system assessments), McConnell provides up to 25% of total implementation costs. In most cases this will not exceed $75,000.
Note: The Implementation Fund is open to applicants by invitation only.
To support the direct connection and collaboration between these projects, the Foundation is supporting a learning network ('community of practice') coordinated by Food Secure Canada, which includes activities such as:
- Peer-to-peer mentoring and sharing of models, results and learnings
- Space for identifying common goals/needs and developing partnerships
- Workshops, webinars, or other resources
- Participation in evaluation exercises for sharing of project experiences and results