Homegrown Innovation Challenge: Shepherd Phase

How to Apply: 

The $33-million Homegrown Innovation Challenge, delivered over six years, will identify teams and support the development of tools and technologies that enable Canadian farmers and producers to sustainably and competitively grow berries out of season.

At the Weston Family Foundation, we want to see innovators solve the problem of out-of-season production of berries – not only in the laboratory, but also at-scale in the greenhouse or on the farm.  That’s why we are offering up to $33 million in grant funding available to the innovation teams that successfully navigate through the Spark, Shepherd and Scaling phases of the Challenge.  For clarity, a single innovation team that participates in every phase of the Challenge and goes on to win the final prizes would receive nearly $8 million!


By solving the interconnected challenges that come with growing berries out of season, the Homegrown Innovation Challenge process will catalyze a range of solutions relevant to a broad array of other fruits and vegetables in Canada and around the world. Ultimately, extending the country’s growing season for fresh produce will reduce the country’s dependence on imported fruits and vegetables, enabling a more resilient food system in Canada.

The top 10 innovation teams selected by an independent judging panel will be awarded up to $1 million each across an 18 month period to develop and demonstrate a small-scale proof of concept of their system, generating evidence and learning to be assessed for progression to the Scaling Phase. Solutions should be reaching Technology Readiness Level 5 or higher by the end of the Shepherd Phase (when being submitted to the Scaling Phase).

Please note that you do NOT need to be a Spark Awardee to apply for the Shepherd Phase.

External Deadline: 
Thursday, January 5, 2023
Funding Source: 
Funding Level: