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The Feed Opportunity Fund

Food insecurity, known as uncertain or inadequate access to the food needed for a healthy life, is a serious and growing problem in Canada. While lack of money to buy food is the single greatest cause of food insecurity, it can also be impacted by geographic location, health status, access to social supports, and knowledge barriers.

The Centre supports the development of long-term strategies that can reduce barriers to food security and reduce food insecurity for people across Canada. We invest in innovative research, collaborative learning, and impactful community-based projects that seek to understand what is and isn’t effective at reducing food insecurity in Canada. We recognize that this level of impact requires efforts from multi-sectoral actors including business, governments, civil society, non-profit organizations, academics, and advocates.

The Feed Opportunity Fund is an open call for compelling ideas and approaches that can contribute to a reduction in food insecurity, so that more people in Canada have stable physical and economic access to enough nutritious and culturally appropriate food. Specifically, we are looking for applications that address one or more of the following focus areas:

  • Increase physical access to food
  • Make food consistently available
  • Increase affordability of food
  • Increase access to financial benefits

We also welcome projects that incorporate the following elements:

  • Build financial literacy and wellbeing
  • Provide dignified, multi-service approaches
  • Reduce social isolation and build agency 
  • Improve mental and/or physical health and wellbeing
  • Increase food and nutritional knowledge

We build trusted and open partnerships that support collective learning on what works and what doesn’t to advance food security. We move beyond a conventional funder/grantee relationship to closely and actively collaborate with our partners in the spirit of increasing impact. We are interested in supporting unconventional partnerships and innovative ideas.

We seek projects with the potential to scale. Through supporting experimentation and insightful evaluation, we support our partners to develop effective approaches, which can be scaled up or out. 

We work with partners to increase their organizational capacity to accelerate and expand their impact. This includes providing access to expertise to help partners address barriers and achieve strategic goals. 

Grant Eligibility

Organizations may apply individually or in collaboration with others. To be eligible for the Feed Opportunity Fund, initiatives must:

  • Be led by a registered charity or qualified donee
  • Demonstrate an innovative approach and test measurable hypotheses
  • Seek to advance new ideas or fill knowledge gaps on food security and insecurity in Canada
  • Work openly and closely alongside the Centre to learn what works and what doesn’t through rigorous annual evaluation, and share that learning with others to advance broader knowledge and change 
  • Be willing to work with the Centre to course correct, overcome challenges and enable project resiliency

While food does not need to be a core component of a project, the work must be led by or include organizations that provide access to food or have advancing food security as a primary outcome.

Generally we do not fund:

  • Organizations that are not registered charities or qualified donees:
  • Faith-based initiatives
  • Political organizations
  • Initiatives that focus purely on developing food and nutrition skills
  • Ongoing operating expenses that are unrelated to the proposed project
  • Capital projects

The Feed Opportunity Fund provides grants that fall under two categories, “Projects” and “Learning.”

Project Grants

Feed Opportunity Project Grants support initiatives that go beyond emergency food relief to provide programs or interventions that reduce barriers to food security for food-insecure individuals and households and which may reduce food insecurity.

Project Grants typically range from $25,000–$150,000 annually, although increased funding may be considered for initiatives with high potential for scale impact. Grants typically range from one to three years and are subject to annual review. In exceptional cases, approved funding may exceed three years to allow time for grantees to prepare, launch, test and scale.

Project Grants will be assessed on the basis of:

  • Clarity of your initiative, key activities and milestones
  • Rationale for the work
  • Alignment with the goals of the Centre and the Feed Opportunity Fund
  • Alignment with the key focus areas listed on the “Apply for Funding” page and potential to address barriers to food security
  • Potential for impact and whether the approach could be scaled to reach more people over time
  • Potential to fill knowledge gaps and ideas for sharing knowledge and learning with the Centre and others
  • Ability to engage other funders, including the private sector, foundations, academia and government
  • Sustainability of the project post-Centre funding

Upon approval of a proposal, the partner permits Maple Leaf Foods and the Centre to publicly communicate support, including potential campaigns designed to raise awareness and fundraise that are developed in conjunction with the partner.

Learning Grants

*Note that we are not accepting applications to the Learning Grant stream in 2021*

The Feed Opportunity Learning Grants advance knowledge transfer, training, evaluation tools and research that further understanding of food security and the efficacy of different interventions to reduce food insecurity. Projects that receive Learning Grants can also involve the sharing of knowledge through partnerships, collaboratives, or networks that build skills and collective action towards reducing food insecurity.

Learning Grants typically range from $10,000–$150,000. Subject to annual review, Learning Grants may extend up to three years, or more in exceptional cases.

Learning Grants will be assessed against the following:

  • Clarity of the initiative and learning objectives, including key activities and milestones
  • A rationale for how the approach advances knowledge within the food security sector, fills research gaps, and/or builds or strengthens networks
  • Potential for the initiative to impact food-insecure people in the long-term
  • Plans for sharing knowledge and learning from the project with the Centre and others  
  • Ability to engage other funders, including the private sector, foundations, academia and government

Upon approval of a proposal, the partner permits Maple Leaf Foods and the Centre to publicly communicate support, including potential campaigns designed to raise awareness and fundraise that are developed in conjunction with the partner.