Feds invest in Local Food Infrastructure Fund and grocery rebate program

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Tashi Farmilo
MRC Pontiac-During a visit to Le Grenier des Collines food bank in Val-des-Monts, Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and Sophie Chatel, Pontiac MP, announced two federal initiatives to improve food security across the country: a $10 million top-up to the Local Food Infrastructure Fund (LFI) in 2023-2024; and a one-time grocery rebate of $2.5 billion to help 11 million low- and modest-income Canadians most affected by inflation and rising food prices.

“The work of local food banks and organizations like Le Grenier des Collines and the Table de développement social de la Vallée-de-la-Gatineau, is essential in our fight against food insecurity. We remain committed to supporting stakeholders in their efforts to help the people of Pontiac put food on their plates, and that’s what Budget 2023 is doing,” explained Chatel.

The LFI is a $70 million federal initiative that supports nonprofit-led efforts to strengthen local food systems and increase food security. Since its launch in August 2019, the LFI has supported 897 projects across Canada, of which 188 have been in Aboriginal communities. Le Grenier des Collines received $73,159 in previous phases of the LFI to purchase kitchen equipment and a refrigerated truck.

Marie-Pier Chaput, General Manager of Le Grenier des Collines, expressed her gratitude, noting the organization has experienced a dramatic increase in requests for food assistance over the past few years. “The [additional funding] allows us to increase our supply of fresh products like fruits and vegetables and to offer a home delivery service,” she said.

“It’s essential that communities have the tools they need to strengthen local food systems, which will have a long-term impact on food security. This new phase of the LFI will support the efforts of organizations across Canada by allowing them to obtain vital materials to offer food services to those who need it most,” concluded Bibeau.

Kim Laroche, Director General of Bouffe Pontiac, expressed her organization’s intention to apply for funding from the newly announced Local Food Infrastructure Fund (LFI) top-up of $10 million. “We are not currently receiving any money from this fund. However, there is a process that will be launched in May and we will surely apply,” she stated.