Federal government earmarks $8 million to connect Canadian farmers and consumers

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Not-for-profit associations will have the opportunity to access a piece of $8 million in federal funding over the next three years for communications initiatives.

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau announced the AgriCommunication Initiative via webcast December 9, 2021.

The initiative will support progress towards achieving Canadian’s access to safe, nutritious, and culturally diverse food, says a press release.

Minister Bibeau credits the Canadian Agricultural Youth Council with playing a large part in the development of this funding project, as well as public opinion research, focus groups, and consultations, and industry and provincial organizations.

Farmers have the most to benefit from building public trust, Bibeau says, and Canadians want to know where their food comes from, how it was produced, more about the environmental footprint, and how animals are treated.

The AgriCommunication Initiative will seek to better connect Canadians with the farming sector, by helping farmers tell their story. There will also be an information gathering aspect, so farmers can better anticipate and adapt to the expectations of consumers, she says.

As part of a vision established in the Food Policy for Canada, the initiative will have two streams: one to help Canadians better understand how their food is produced and the other will focus on increasing the sector’s understanding of consumer preferences and expectations.

Bibeau adds that Canadian farmers have incredible stories to tell on their sustainability, productivity and more. Funding, which will be available with up to 70 per cent cost-share, could be used to develop digital communications that share positive stories of success, in-person, consumer-facing field events showcasing practices that protect soil and water, or clean technologies to fight climate change.

Eligibility of who can access the funding is limited to national not-for-profit associations, such as fairs and exhibitions, and Indigenous groups.

Academic institutions, commodity organizations, for-profit organizations, and individuals are ineligible for funding.

Applications for the program will be accepted on an ongoing basis until September 30, 2023 or until full commitment of funding.

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