Up to $8 million in funding for the grantee team that progresses through the three phases of the Challenge and wins one of the final awards.
Create and deliver a market-ready system to reliably, sustainably and competitively produce berries out of season and at scale in Canada.
By solving the interconnected challenges that come with growing berries out of season, the Homegrown Innovation Challenge process will catalyze a range of solutions relevant to a broad array of other fruits and vegetables in Canada and around the world. Ultimately, extending the country’s growing season for fresh produce will reduce the country’s dependence on imported fruits and vegetables, enabling a more resilient food system in Canada.
The phases of the Challenge
The Homegrown Innovation Challenge launched in February 2022 and is made up of three distinct phases, click on the arrow to expand:
Spark Phase, including Spark Awards:
(Applications are now closed)
The top 15 grantee teams selected by an independent judging panel were awarded $50,000 each to develop their concepts along with detailed plans for how they would implement and scale their concept during the later phases of the competition. The solutions articulated by funded grantee teams reached Technology Readiness Level 2 or higher by the end of the Spark Phase (i.e. at time of application to the Shepherd Phase).
(Applications are now closed)
The top 11 grantee teams selected by an independent judging panel were awarded up to $1 million each across an 18-month period to develop and demonstrate a small-scale proof of concept of their system, generating evidence and learning to be assessed for progression to the Scaling Phase. Solutions should reach Technology Readiness Level 5 or higher by the end of the Shepherd Phase (when being submitted to the Scaling Phase).
Please note that only grantee teams that receive funding under the Shepherd Phase of the Homegrown Innovation Challenge are eligible to participate in future phases of the Challenge, including the Scaling Phase.
(Applications deadline late 2024)
The top 4 grantee teams selected from the Shepherd Phase will be awarded up to $5 million each across three years to build and demonstrate their system at farm scale in Canada, providing the judging panel with evidence that berries have been produced out of season, at the target costs, inputs, and other specified parameters during the trial. Solutions should reach Technology Readiness Level 8 or higher by the end of the Scaling Phase (when being submitted for final assessment).
Grantee teams that have best met the Challenge statement — “Create and deliver a market-ready system to reliably, sustainably and competitively produce berries out of season and at scale in Canada” — by the end of this period qualify to be considered for the final prizes. $1 million will be awarded to the best overall team and $1 million will be awarded to the team that has demonstrated the greatest breakthrough vis-à-vis its technology.
Note that both final prizes could be won by the same team.
The support we provide
We want to see teams develop innovations that will transform food production, and are prepared to provide the support necessary to achieve this goal.