Emergent Horticulture Opportunities Fund

About the fund:

In collaboration with the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Vineland is committed to 1) coordinating input from the industry to establish research priorities, 2) ensuring research priorities are relevant to stakeholders and address real-world problems and opportunities and 3) supporting small projects for emerging needs or alternative specialty crop sectors.

In response, Vineland is launching the Emergent Horticulture Opportunities Fund (EHOF). This fund is designed to help the Ontario-based specialty crops sector access ‘seed’ money and expertise to address pressing needs and opportunities.

To be considered for funding in the EHOF, projects should fit in at least one of four priority areas identified through the industry consultation process:

  1. Sustainable/enhanced production practices
  2. Address persistent and emerging pests and diseases
  3. Variety development and evaluation
  4. Automation of labour and increasing operational efficiencies

How funding works:

  • 1:1 matching; 50% maximum of total eligible project costs from $15,000 – $50,000
  • Minimum Vineland contribution (funded through Sustainable CAP); $7,500 per project
  • Project duration can be between six months up to two years
  • Cannot be leveraged with other federal or provincial grant programs
  • In-kind contributions can be used to demonstrate industry support but are not eligible for matching funds
  • Projects conducted solely by Vineland
  • No cash transferred to applicants

Eligibility requirements:

  • Project must address at least one of the four previously outlined priorities for specialty crops
  • Include two or more of the following project contributors’ categories:
    • Grower(s)
    • Association partner(s)
    • For-profit entities
    • Third party, arms-length contributors (i.e. consultants)
    • OMAFRA crop specialists

How to apply:

  • Fill out an Expression of Interest (EOI) form * Please note that completion of this form does not constitute an application for funding.
  • After you submit your EOI form, you may be invited to complete a full proposal. Vineland will pair you with one of our researchers to co-develop the research proposal and complete the application.

Assessment timeline, process and evaluation criteria:

The EHOF launches in February 2024. The final intake will be February 2025. All projects need to be completed by December 31, 2025.

The EHOF is a discretionary, non-entitlement fund with limited funding. All proposals will undergo a review process that has been validated by OMAFRA, where proposals will be evaluated for eligibility and suitability for the EHOF and assessed against fund objectives and evaluation criteria.

All submissions are subject to a signed contractual agreement between Vineland and the applicant.

 Evaluation criteria include:

  • Funding alignment (i.e. fit with fund priorities)
  • Level of commitment from the industry association/fund partners (confirmed cash contributions and in-kind)
  • Potential for delivering impact to the sector (i.e. economic, social, environmental benefits)
  • Clear and effective knowledge and/or technology transfer plan (as per the evaluation criteria)
  • For greater detail and examples of metrics for the criteria, please see Appendix A, in the Description of the Emergent Horticulture Opportunities Fund Document

For more information, please contact:




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