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

At the Weston Family Foundation, we want to see innovators solve the problem of out-of-season production of berries – not only in the laboratory, but also at-scale in the greenhouse or on the farm.  That’s why we are offering up to $33 million in grant funding available to the innovation teams that successfully navigate through the Spark, Shepherd and Scaling phases of the Challenge.  For clarity, a single innovation team that participates in every phase of the Challenge and goes on to win the final prizes would receive nearly $8 million!

A summary of the stage-gate approach we use to deploy this funding in an optimal manner can be found in the dynamic timeline below.

We desire to see innovation teams use the funding provided as effectively as possible as they seek to achieve their approved research and development goals and, ultimately, address the Challenge statement.  To this end, we envision a dynamic and ongoing relationship with teams, whereby our panel of international experts can provide mentorship, technical feedback, and product development guidance – everything needed to ensure teams put their “best foot forward.”

The Weston Family Foundation and our partners can also help you to identify team members and strategic partnerships.  If you are looking for this type of support, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us right away at challenge@westonfoundation.ca.

What we expect from applicants

By participating in the Homegrown Innovation Challenge, applicants must agree and adhere to the Challenge’s Terms and Conditions. We may also ask applicants to help us track the overall impact of the Challenge by participating in surveys and other data collection exercises at various phases of the Challenge.

Funding will be awarded at each stage of the Homegrown Innovation Challenge as follows (click and drag timeline):

August 2022

In August 2022, 15 innovators received up to $50K (Spark Award) to support the development of their concept, team and application to the Shepherd Phase.

Spring 2023

In the spring of 2023, 10 innovation teams will each receive up to $1 million to develop proofs-of-concept for their ideas in the Shepherd Phase.

Early 2025

In early 2025, 4 innovation teams will each receive up to $5 million to prepare their innovations for implementation at farm scale in the Scaling Phase.


In 2028, prizes of $1 million each will be awarded to the innovation team with the best overall solution as well as to the team determined to have developed the most breakthrough technology. Note that it is possible for one team to qualify for both final prizes.