Northern Food Innovation Challenge

The Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency invites you to learn about the Northern Food Innovation Challenge Phase 2 participants. The Challenge is now in its final phase and is no longer accepting applications.

Table of contents

The Northern Food Innovation Challenge is one of three streams under the Northern Isolated Community Initiatives (NICI) Fund.

The objective of this Challenge is to support innovative, community-led projects for local and Indigenous food production systems to help improve food security in Canada's territories.

This challenge consists of two phases:

Phase 1: Conceptual stage to testing environment.

Phase 2: Project scaling and deployment with direct benefits at a local level.

Food Security in Canada's territories

Figure 1. Percentage of food insecure households in Canada, provinces and territories, 2017-2018 (modified from Statistics Canada)
Text alternative for Figure 1. Percentage of food insecure households in Canada, provinces and territories, 2017-2018 (modified from Statistics Canada)
Province or Territory Percentage of Food Insecure Households
Nunavut 57
Northwest Territories 21.7
Yukon 16.9
British Columbia 12.4
Alberta 12.9
Saskatchewan 13.9
Manitoba 14.4
Ontario 13.3
Quebec 11.1
New Brunswick 13
Nova Scotia 15.4
Prince Edward Island 13.9
Newfoundland and Labrador 14.8

About the Challenge

Northern Food Innovation Challenge Logic Model
Text alternative for Northern Food Innovation Challenge Logic Model
  • Challenge Launched
  • Enhanced Public Awareness of a Problem or Issue
  • Process Outcomes
    • New Talent Mobilized
    • Collaborative Networks and Partnerships
  • Sustainable Delivery Model
    • Innovative Products and Services
    • Enhanced Skill and Capacity
    • Increased Investments
  • Greater Public Value
    • Social Benefits
    • Environmental Impacts
    • Economic Improvements

Key Challenge Areas

Priority was given to projects that used innovative solutions that work in a northern or remote climate, can be deployed in the territories, and address one or more of the following areas:

Projects related to innovative training and capacity building in these areas were also considered.

Priority was given to proposed projects that address food security in Indigenous communities or other vulnerable populations.


The Challenge was for:

Applicants located outside of the territories were encouraged to apply provided that they had a territorial partner and could demonstrate how the proposed innovation could provide direct benefits to reducing issues related to food insecurity or strengthening food systems in one or more of the territories.



CanNor Northern Food Innovation Challenge
Text alternative for CanNor Northern Food Innovation Challenge
  • Phase 1 Challenge Launched
    • Deadline March 31, 2021
    • Up to $250,000 funding available per project
  • Approximately 8 successful projects selected for funding
    • Conceptual stage
    • Targeted research
    • Community Validation
    • Proof of research
    • Prototype demonstration in operational environment
    • Projects will be invited to participate in a Catalyst Workshop
  • Phase 2
    • February 2023
    • Up to 3 projects from phase 1 selected
    • Up to $1M funding
  • Up to 3 successful projects selected as finalists
    • Phase 1 prototype scaled accordingly
    • Innovation deployed
    • Innovation tested, sustainability analyzed
  • Innovation Showcase
    • 2023

Virtual Catalyst Workshops

As part of the Northern Food Innovation Challenge, CanNor hosted a series of Virtual Catalyst Workshops to share information and expertise. Along with the nine innovators, members of the Advisory Committee and CanNor staff took part in the workshops which ran from April 11-13, 2022.

Timeline/Key Dates

For more information

If you have any questions about this challenge, please email, or reach out to one of our regional offices.

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