$2 million announced for sustainable agriculture and natural food initiatives

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Greg Newing
Local Journalism Initiative

OUTAOUAIS – Local agriculture and natural food businesses and organizations will be eligible to apply for new grants this year after a budget of $2,206,500 was announced this summer for the renewed 2023-2025 Outaouais Biofood Sector Development Agreement.

The agreement funds regional initiatives and projects supporting the goals of the 2020-2025 Outaouais Biofood Development Plan: advancing health, food-security, environmental protection, expanding local entrepreneurship and promoting sustainable agriculture and tourism across the Outaouais.

The renewed agreement adds an additional $1,121,500 to the previous 2020-2023 budget and includes financial contributions from 12 provincial ministries, regional organizations and municipalities. The region’s four MRCs, including the MRC Pontiac and the MRC-des-Collines, have also each contributed $66,000.

“These funds will strengthen the natural food sector across the Outaouais, making our food production and agriculture sector more dynamic and sustainable,” said Jane Toller, MRC Pontiac warden. MRC des Collines Warden Marc Carrière described the agreement as an “improved” version that builds on the promising results of the 2020-2023 agreement.

The program is administered by the Table Agroalimentaire de l’Outaouais (TAO), a non-profit organization that collaborates with government and other organizations to support sustainable food production in the Outaouais. The TAO held its first call for project proposals from September 11 to 29 and another call will be announced this winter on the organization’s website (French only) at: https://www.agro-outaouais.com/esbo.

Eligible organizations include: non-profits, municipal organizations, Indigenous communities and band-councils, cooperatives and social enterprises, agri-food businesses or groups of agri-food businesses.

While Pontiac businesses and organizations can apply, the TAO emphasized that any eligible proposal must support the Outaouais region as a whole either through projects that are regional in scope or through collaboration with businesses and organizations in other MRCs.

“This agreement represents a major development for the natural food sector in the Outaouais. Together, we’re working to build the future, promoting projects that are rooted in the region, diversified, respectful of ecosystems, health and, above all, accessible to all, for vibrant, healthy communities,” said TAO President Chantale Vaillancourt.

More information about the Outaouais Biofood Development Plan can be found at https://www.agro-outaouais.com/pdbo and additional information about the funding program as well as examples of previous grant recipients can be found at: https://www.agro-outaouais.com/esbo. The TAO can be reached directly at info@agro-outaouais.com or by phone at 819-281-7676.