Northern Food Development Program

Apply for the Northern Food Development Program

The Northern Food Development Program was created in 2013 to support commercial farming, fishing, wild harvesting, and non-timber forest products. The overall goal of the program is to increase local food production and availability of northern food products for northern consumers.

Who is Eligible?

Eligible applicants include:

  • Land-based applicants with a minimum of 1 acre under production and the ability to demonstrate commercial sales.
    • In communities where land base or market is limited, a lessor minimum acreage may apply on an exception basis. Commercial growers with less than an acre should demonstrate that the majority of production is being directed to commercial markets.
  • Greenhouse growers should have a minimum of 1,000 square feet under full production and demonstrate commercial sales.
    • Commercial growers with less than 1,000 square feet should demonstrate that the majority of production is being directed to the commercial markets.
  • Wild edible and wildlife harvesters should demonstrate commercial sales
  • Applicants who are just starting commercial activities should be able to demonstrate relevant experience and a capacity to engage in food production, either, or in combination, through access to land, equipment, licenses and permits, etc.

For full eligibility requirements, please review the Northern Food Development Program guidelines in the downloadable document below.


 Investment may include but not limited to:

  • Pre-design, design, construction and expansion of facilities (greenhouses, storage facilities, washing/grading/packaging facilities, irrigation, and food processing facilities)
  • Introduction of new equipment and technology aimed at increasing yields in a cost-effective and energy-efficient manner
  • Land development costs including inputs such as fertilizer, seeds and soil
  • Specialized training
  • Marketing, promotion, product and packaging design and development
  • Food transportation costs

For activities related to agriculture:

  • Input freight assistance $0.30/loaded kilometre (feed, seed, fertilizers, compost and amendments)
  • Initial small livestock to a maximum of $1,000
  • Small equipment materials and supplies $200/acre (may be pro-rated as per land/greenhouses) plus applicable freight costs (fencing, covers, hoses, small pumps)
  • Alternate energy technology 50 percent to a maximum of $5,000
  • Land preparation (based on $1,000 per acre for primary cultivation/$200 per acre for subsequent cultivation, allowed to be pro-rated—refer Eligibility) to a maximum of $5,000
  • Greenhouse development or expansion (based on $2.00 per square feet) to a maximum of $5,000 (allowed to be pro-rated – refer to Eligibility section)

For activities related to fisheries:

  • Boat, motor, nets; 50 percent up to a maximum of $20,000
  • Alternate energy technology; 50 percent up to a maximum of $5,000

For activities related to traditional harvesting:

  • Wild harvest equipment and supplies up to a maximum of $5,000

Marketing Support:

  • Market assessment 75 percent total costs up to a maximum of $1,500.
  • Primary processing, (washers, grading equipment, small processing, packaging equipment) 50 percent to a maximum of $5,000.
  • Inter- settlement trade (max. $2,500 per client applies to third-party supported freight costs).
  • Farmers market -- water/power supply, materials and supplies – 50 percent up to a maximum of $2,500, for the first year of the market only.
  • Packaging and promotional materials max. $2,500 per client.
  • Fish fillets (FISP) -- $.44 per kilogram apply to third-party supported sales receipts only.

How do I apply?

Download the application below and submit it to your regional ITI office.

In the section titled Type of Assistance, check the Northern Food Development Program box. If you have any questions, please contact your regional office.