Spark Grants enhance work of meals initiatives in Guelph and Wellington

GUELPH – From building community gardens or helping people grow food at home to improving access to culturally-significant foods or foraging for natural food and medicines to support Indigenous families, Guelph-Wellington’s Our Food Future program is helping advance local projects to improve community access to nutritious, affordable food.

In May, community members, groups or organizations applied for a Spark Grant for ready-to-implement ideas supporting food access. 

More than 30 ideas were submitted, with 11 finalists receiving funding. Finalists were chosen by a selection panel comprised of Guelph and Wellington staff, and local representatives working to improve food access.

The following projects were awarded Spark Grants:

– $2,000 for barrier-free access to fresh, culturally sensitive fruits, vegetables, spices and oils for newcomers;

– $2,000 for Community Builders Lunch and Learn food skill education and community leadership skills;

– $10,000 for Guelph Food Bank pilot to reduce barriers due to transportation;

– $5,000 for a collaborative learning community from seed to plate in the Town of Erin;

– $2,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters Centre Wellington to introduce a program for youth and mentors to grow food;

– $10,000 to transform a Guelph school staff room into a commercial kitchen to support the neighbourhood cooperative food system;

– $5,000 for local food procurement to leverage buying power and support local producers while increasing community access to local foods;

– $5,000 to make University of Guelph a hub for food initiatives;

– $2,000 for low-income older adults to receive a hydroponic vegetable garden;

– $5,000 for an Indigenous food sovereignty and security collective, and The SEED will launch a gleaning and foraging initiative to gather local seeds, fruits, grafts, roots, nuts and barks to be shared as foods and medicines amongst food insecure Indigenous families; and

– $2,500 to create a low-barrier community garden in Mount Forest and engage community members from diverse groups to come together and grow food.

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