Food Security and Sovereignty
The Indigenous Food Security and Sovereignty (IFS) Grant provides non-repayable funding contributions to First Nation communities, Indigenous organizations, businesses, and entrepreneurs in British Columbia that want to participate in and receive financial supports to develop, expand, or strengthen their Indigenous food systems and innovation to enhance sustainability and growth of the Indigenous agriculture and food sovereignty.
The intention of the IFS program is to address existing gaps in supporting Indigenous agriculture and food projects while reviving indigenous traditional food systems, processing and resource management strategies that provides greater quantities and improved quality of foods in a sustainable way that promotes community health and lasting positive socio-economic impacts.
Eligible applicants will have access to two (2) funding streams to support progress through the stages of planning and implementation of their agriculture and food project. This will ensure approved applicants have financial support throughout the lifecycle of their Food Security project whether the project is in development stage or implementation stage.
The IFS program is intended to be a 3-year initiative with new funding available in each of the next 3 years (ending December 2025) and is being funded by the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food. All funding opportunities under the IFS will be administered by NRT and co-delivered by NRT and participating Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFI’s) in B.C. To read the news release announcing this funding initiative, please click here.
The goals of the IFS Program:
- Strengthen Indigenous food security and sovereignty over food systems and increase Indigenous participation in the agriculture and food sector.
- Reduce barriers for First Nations and Indigenous communities, organizations, and businesses in accessing funding and the scope of eligible expenses that can be supported.
- Be a funding hub that is Indigenous-led and distinctions-based platform that provides streamlined, cooperative, and permissive access to support.
- Empower a broader definition of food security initiatives to be inclusive of Indigenous traditional food systems that may not be accepted in the conventional or mainstream agriculture and food sector.
- Indigenous employment creation, skills development and training in the agriculture and food sector.
- Economic diversification and equity in the food systems space including opportunities for and in rural and remote communities.
- Development and growth of Indigenous supply chain participation, and procurement opportunities of Indigenous food products.
- Support Indigenous applicants navigate, prepare for, adapt, and implement food security opportunities that revive the traditions and spiritual aspects of indigenous relationships between harvesting and processing food, the environment, and Indigenous communities.
Who Can Apply
Eligible applicants must be based in B.C. and include:
- First Nation communities (Indian Act, Self-government, or Treaty) or any of their departments or organizations under their authority or control (eg. Economic development corp, community school etc)
- Tribal Councils
- Métis Nation Chartered Communities
- Indigenous led not for profit organizations that supports programs primarily for the benefit of Indigenous peoples and where it can be demonstrated that decisions and directions of the organizations are being made by Indigenous peoples at the highest governance level (i.e. at least 51% decision making power)
- Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs engaged in food production or processing, including for profit or social enterprise, cooperative or other similar body where applicant or majority indigenous ownership (at least 51%) can validate their indigenous ancestry or affiliation (status card, Métis citizenship card) or other method of validating a clear and authentic connection to their Indigenous heritage
Applicants can apply or will be placed in one of the funding streams below:
- Stream 1 (funding cap: $150,000): provides funding for activities and costs associated with the planning and design phase of a food security project.
Eligible expenses include (not an all-inclusive list) feasibility studies and assessments, business planning, permaculture design, food production strategies, site analysis, community engagement, agriculture & food training etc.
- Stream 2 (funding cap: $250,000): provides funding for activities and costs associated with the implementation of a food security project.
Eligible expenses include (not an all-inclusive list) start-up costs, capital contribution for construction, retrofits, equipment, community greenhouses, processing technologies, food cold storage, smoker/dehydration, freeze drying technologies, water infrastructure solutions, marketing, composting solutions, and other acquisitions to support the project and skills, training and capacity development directly related to food security project launch etc.
- Grants for certain projects will not be a stand-alone source of funds as applicants must be willing and able to pay a portion of the costs of the project.
- Approved applicants can only have one funded project at a time.
- Applicants that receive Stream 1 funding and successfully complete their project will be prioritized for Stream 2 funding upon receipt of a new application.
- Businesses/entrepreneurs must have a minimum 51% Indigenous ownership structure with the underlying indigenous ownership and control being in proportion to the amount of equity invested in the business.
- On Reserve projects may require evidence of support or land-use approval from the appropriate governing body or organization with that authority.
The IFS will have a continuous intake and approval process during the annual application intake periods identified below.
Please note that the annual intake and approval process will end the earlier of the intake closing date or when the annual funding available has been exhausted.
|Intake||Start Date||Closing Date|
|Intake #1||August 1, 2023||December 1, 2023|
|Intake #2||May 1, 2024||December 1, 2024|
|Intake #3||May 1, 2025||December 1, 2025|
List of Participating Aboriginal Financial Institutions
The list below identifies the Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFI’s) in B.C. that will be supporting the delivery of the IFS grants. The NRT in its application process will be referring certain applicants to an AFI for further screening and approval.
|Tale’Awtxw Aboriginal Capital Corporation (TACC)||West Vancouver|
|Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation (NEDC)||Port Alberni|
|CFDC of Central Interior First Nations||Kamloops|
|Native Fishing Association||West Vancouver|
The IFS staff encourage potential applicants to reach out if you have questions, require assistance, or wish to discuss your food security initiative opportunity prior to submitting an application.
Please contact us at the email address below and we will respond as soon as we can within 5 business days.
By Email: FS@nrtf.ca
How to Apply
- Download, review and complete the Grant Application Below.
- If you have questions or want to discuss a potential project, please contact us at FS@nrtf.ca and we will arrange a time to connect with you.
Open: August 1, 2023
Close: October 6, 2023 as funds were exhausted. Please check back May 2024.
Final Report Template
If you have completed your project, please download and complete the brief final report template and send to the contact listed on the form.