The Indigenous Food Systems and Agriculture Partnership Program (IFSAP) supports First Nations and Indigenous communities, businesses, and organizations in increasing food security and sovereignty over their food systems and strengthens Indigenous peoples’ success within the agriculture and food sector.

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Program Overview

The Indigenous Food Systems and Agriculture Partnership Program (IFSAP) supports First Nations and Indigenous communities, businesses, and organizations in increasing food security and sovereignty over their food systems and strengthens Indigenous peoples’ success within the agriculture and food sector.

This program funds activities involved in agriculture, food processing, and/or food systems planning, training and skills development, technological adoption, productivity and profitability improvements, and climate change adaptations.

The program provides up to $80,000 of funding per project. Program funding is available to successful applicants for projects beginning on or after January 1, 2023. Projects can be up to 24 months in duration and must complete no later than December 31, 2024.

BC farmland, Nicola River

Eligibility

Eligibility Criteria

The IFSAP program provides funding to First Nations and Indigenous communities, businesses, and organizations for Indigenous-led projects that increase food security and sovereignty, or that strengthen Indigenous peoples’ success within the agriculture and food sector. The program supports both for profit and not-for-profit projects that have the potential to be self-sustaining and demonstrate broad benefits.

To be considered eligible for this program, an applicant must be in the Province of British Columbia, and must be:

  • an Indigenous government, community, or Indigenous led non-profit organization (including a band or tribal council, government of a self-governing First Nation or Métis Nation Chartered Community, Society or Association, economic development corporation, not-for-profit other Indigenous organization, or association); or
  • an Indigenous business or entrepreneur engaged in food production and/or processing with a minimum of 2-years in operation (including a for-profit or social enterprise, cooperative or institution, or other Indigenous business, partnership or joint venture).

NOTE: An Indigenous led not-for-profit is defined as a not-for-profit organization where Indigenous persons have at least 51% decision making power. An Indigenous Business is defined as a business where an Indigenous person(s) has/have at least 51% ownership and control of the business. Indigenous entrepreneurs are defined as independent business owners, including sole proprietors and limited companies and partnerships owned by, or where the majority of shares are held by, an individual or family members, resident in the Province of British Columbia.

All projects and activities must align with the program goals of supporting First Nations and Indigenous communities, businesses, and organizations in increasing food security and sovereignty over their food systems and strengthening Indigenous peoples’ success within the agriculture and food sector. Projects should also show broad benefit and the potential to be self-sustaining.

Note: For this program, the term “broad benefits” means the benefit of the project activities extends beyond a single person or business. For example, the benefits extend to the community, environment, or towards increasing food security within their food system.

Eligible activities and costs include the activities involved in food systems planning, training and skills development, technological adoption, productivity and profitability improvements, and climate change adaptations.

A wide range of activity areas will be considered including:

Indigenous government agricultural and food systems planning:

  • surveying existing agricultural and food systems activities and land use,
  • identifying opportunities for agricultural and/or food system development, stewardship, and protection,
  • updating existing bylaws/policies/ Comprehensive Community Plans, review of current lease agreements to incorporate agriculture and food system considerations,
  • developing community farms/food systems initiatives or value-added processing facilities, and
  • implementation of projects identified in existing agricultural and food systems plans.

Training, skills development, and peer-to-peer learning to:

  • increase Indigenous participation in agriculture and food processing,
  • identify labor needs,
  • identify need for and/or develop Indigenous specific training, skills development and/or peer-to-peer learning programs and/or curriculum
  • transfer knowledge to address skill shortages,
  • support the revitalization of cultural and economic food harvesting and production and processing practices through training.

Revitalizing traditional production methods and knowledge, such as:

  • food harvesting,
  • food preservation, and
  • the production of culturally appropriate foods.

Adopting technologies or practices, such as:

  • greenhouse/controlled growing,
  • regenerative agriculture practices (new and existing technologies that aim to restore soils, water and biodiversity health to improve overall ecosystem services and make farmland more resilient to climate change), and
  • Agri-Tech (e.g. precision agriculture, automation, artificial intelligence, ‘Internet of Things’, new processing methods and equipment, customized software and machinery).

Scaling up production and profitability of producers and food processors by:

  • addressing barriers to growth/limitations identified within business plans,
  • supporting branding and e-commerce, and
  • investments in community or cooperatively owned farming, processing tools, and infrastructure.

Adapting to climate change, drought, and weather events through projects that build long-term resilience, such as:

  • assessing current/projected water availability and needs,
  • preparing and implementing risk management plans (including investments in community-owned irrigation supplies and systems, installing water storage tanks, etc.) and
  • identifying new crops, cultivars, and opportunities to transition to more sustainable production methods.

The following activities and costs are not eligible for funding. For clarification on items not listed below, please contact IAF program staff.

  • Any costs not specifically required for the execution of the project,
  • direct income support,
  • export subsidies,
  • direct advertising / promotion,
  • core operational expenses,
  • staff wages not directly related to the implementation of project activities, and
  • costs related to activities that directly influence or lobby any level of government

Application Process

Applications will be accepted through IAF’s online client portal from September 26 to October 31, 2022. If there is available funding, a second application window will open in the fall of 2023.

The deadlines for applications for the 2022-23 fiscal year are as follows:

  • Application Window: September 26, 2022 – October 31, 2022
  • Application Deadline: October 31, 2022, at 16:30 Pacific
  • Project Start Date: January 1, 2023

Applicants will apply through IAF’s client portal. The application process will consist of:

Registering their organization:

  • Creating an Organization Profile (primary contact name/contact information, organizational information, type of organization)

Applying to IFSAP Program for Project Funding:

  • Select applicant type from eligibility list (an attestation and/or supporting documentation may be requested to confirm applicant eligibility)
  • Select project start & end dates
  • Select project activities from the eligible activities list or briefly describe activities if not listed
  • Explain how these activities align with or support their organizational goals
  • Describe project benefits (e.g. to their organization, community and/or more broadly)
  • Identify who will lead/undertake the project (Please list the names and qualifications of the people who will be carrying out the project activities. Identify whether they are employees or external resources (e.g. consultants, volunteers, partner organization).
  • Explain whether project benefits are sustainable and if they will extend beyond project
  • List project expenses and project funding required
  • List any communications/information sharing activities
  • Applicants may provide supplementary materials in support of their application (e.g. business plan, letter of support, CV’s, quotes). These appendices can be uploaded through IAF’s client portal as attachments to the application.

During the application window, IAF staff are available to answer questions regarding eligible activities, costs and/or the application process. IAF may also contact applicants for additional information or clarification to assess or strengthen their application.

Applicants can contact ifsap(at)iafbc.ca with any questions about the program or to receive support in developing their application.

Applicants are encouraged to include only activities that they are confident will be completed on time and within budget limits.

After the application window has closed, the IAF will review all applications and make recommendations for funding decisions. The IAF team will consult with the Indigenous Advisory Council on Agriculture and Food (IACAF) on applications and funding decisions.

IAF will review and assess all applications according to the program eligibility requirements and evaluation criteria:

Program Alignment

Is the applicant eligible to apply for funding?
Does the project align with the program goals?
Are proposed activities and expenses eligible for funding?

Project Benefits

Does the project address a current need or priority of the applicant or their community?
How will the project provide broad benefits?
Are project benefits sustainable and will they extend beyond project funding?

Project Plan

Are the project objectives realistic within the project’s timeline and budget?
Does the applicant have sufficient human resources (internal, partners, consultant) to undertake the project?

Notifications & Obligations

If the project is approved, IAF will inform the applicant of the details of the decision and any associated terms and conditions. The applicant then enters into an agreement with IAF which outlines the obligations of each party.

Funding is application and project-specific and must be used for the approved project and related expenses. Funds are non-transferable.

Project activities requiring financial resources cannot commence until the contribution agreement has been signed by both the applicant and IAF.

Communication materials being funded by the program need to be pre-approved by the IAF communications team. All communications materials must be sent to communications(at)iafbc.ca. Items not pre-approved by IAF Communications will not be funded.

Projects funded in the 2022 intake may begin on or after January 1, 2023 and must be completed by December 31, 2024. If the project is not approved, the applicant will receive a written response from IAF.

Once the contract with IAF is in force, requests for changes to program activities must be made in writing to IAF. IAF must approve the changes for expenses to be deemed eligible.
The funding recipient may have opportunities or situations arise which make it difficult to proceed with a pre-approved project/activity. Should this happen, immediately contact your IAF program manager.

Program participants are required to submit progress and financial reporting to IAF. Progress and financial reporting will be made available to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and to the Ministry’s Indigenous Advisory Council on Agriculture and Food. Reporting and supporting materials will be uploaded through the IAF’s online application portal.

Program Timeline

Ready to Apply?

Applications are open from September 26 to October 31, 2022 at 16:30 Pacific.

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Resources

IFSAP Program Guide

Download a PDF version of the Program Guide.

Note: All details are presented on this webpage

Program Guide

Have a Question?

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FAQ

Funding

No, all project activities and expenditures must take place between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2024. Any expenditures incurred outside of this time range will not be considered for reimbursement and no project extensions will be considered.

Retroactive costs will not be considered. Costs must be incurred after January 1, 2022 to be eligible for reimbursement.

A project can receive up to a maximum of $80,000 in funding from the program.

This program does not require cost-sharing and projects can request funding for up to 100% of project cash costs. However, the breadth of public benefits, expected private versus public benefits, and your organization’s support for project activities (cash and in-kind) will be considered during application review. For further guidance, please contact IAF Team to discuss.

Funding from other government and non-governmental sources can be used for up to 100% of projects cost. While this program does not have any stacking limitations, other programs may have restrictions.

The latest that a project’s activities or expenditures can take place is December 31, 2024. Projects with approved end dates before December 31, 2024, can apply for an extension up to that date in exceptional circumstances.

No, all project activities and expenditures must take place between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2024. Any expenditures incurred outside of this time range will not be considered for reimbursement and no project extensions will be considered.

Support to Complete applications

For assistance with the IAF application portal, please contact us via:
Email funding(at)iafbc.ca

For LiveChat please click the icon in the bottom right corner of the window.

All applicants, regardless of whether they have applied for and received funding from IAF in the past, need to confirm their eligibility for the program through IAF’s online portal.

IAF Team can provide support with your application and to answer questions. Please email ifsap(at)iafbc.ca with questions or to book a call.

The IAF Team can review your application and provide feedback or suggestions during the application intake. Comments can be added to your application within the application portal, or you can email ifsaf(at)iafbc.ca to request assistance.

IAF staff will review all applications received in the intake and request clarification or additional information where needed.

No, applications to the program will only be accepted through the IAF Client Portal. A copy of the application form is not available.

Eligibility: Organization

The “applicant” for this program is the organization (e.g., First Nation, farm, not-for-profit) which is applying for funding. The applicant organization is required to be at least 51% led, owned, or managed by Indigenous people.

The Lead Project Contact (usually the person completing the application form), is not required to be an Indigenous Person so long as the applicant organization meets the requirements above.

The program is not able to provide funding towards buying or starting a new business. Organizations who apply to the program should be in operation for at least 24 months prior to applying to the program.

No, applicants are not required to have Farm Status to access the IFSAP program.

Applicants are not required to have an Environmental Farm Plan to access the IFSAP program. However, the completion of an agri-environmental risk assessment through the Environmental Farm Plan Program is highly recommended as it is a confidential, no cost tool to support environmentally sustainable land management. Applicants will need to be appropriately licensed and registered for any activities that they undertake.

Previous or in progress Environmental Farm Plan or environmental risk assessments will be considered during application review. Program staff can work with applicants to guide them through the process to complete an Environmental Farm Plan as part of the project. Find out more information about the EFP program here.

Applicants are not required to have specific planning processes or documents completed to access the IFSAP program. However, planning is encouraged to support the overall success of the project and planning activities are an eligible activity as either the main purpose or part of the project.

Program staff may support applicants to identify areas in which projects would benefit from specific planning and with accessing planning resources/expertise. If planning has already been completed, please indicate in the application and include planning documents as attachments to support your application. Completed or in-progress planning will be considered during application review. For further guidance, please contact IAF staff to discuss.

Project Lifecycle

All applicants will receive an email notifying of funding decision (approval/decline) by December 31, 2022.

If funding is approved for your project, it will be provided in one or more payments depending on the length of your project. Generally, a payment of up to 70% of approved funding will be released upon signing of a Contribution Agreement (contract). The remaining portion of IAF’s contribution will be delivered after your project has completed and submitted a Final Report, including descriptions of all activities and achievements, as well as a detailed expense report.

If funding is approved, you will be requested to provide banking information for Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). Funding will be deposited via Electronic Funds Transfer. Please notify the IAF Team if you are unable to receive payment via EFT.

Project approval is based on the application and budget submitted and approved for funding. Any changes to your project activities or budget must be approved in advance by IAF. Please contact the IAF Team as soon as possible at ifsap(at)iafbc.ca to discuss any potential or expected changes to your project activities or budget.

Eligibility Activities / Costs

IFSAP funding cannot be used to hire staff for your organization’s ongoing/regular work or to supplement general staff wages.

IFSAP funding can be used towards direct project costs including for staff, consultants, or new hires. However, these costs must be directly tied to the project (i.e. these costs would not be occurring if you were not undertaking the project) and are limited to the duration of the project.

Organizations applying for funding must be based in British Columbia to be eligible for funding through this program.

All project activities and expenditures should take place in British Columbia. If project activities or expenditures are proposed outside of British Columbia, an explanation should be provided of why the service or activity is not taking place in British Columbia.

Yes, projects and activities related to aquaculture, aquaponics, or seafood processing are eligible for funding for this program if they meet other program eligibility criteria.

Yes, projects and activities related to cannabis are eligible for funding for this program if they meet other program eligibility criteria.

Yes, in-kind contributions can be used towards project activities. However, the budgets and any funding awarded are based on cash costs and expenditure. Please include only costs that you will be paying cash for and can provide a receipt/invoice in your budget to be eligible for funding reimbursement.

You may apply for multiple projects through this funding program provide each project meets eligibility requirements and does not exceed $80,000 per project (one or more similar projects cannot be combined).

Each project will be considered and evaluated separately and IAF may limit funding received by a single organization to prioritize diversity and equity of access across applicants.

It is up to the applicant to determine their funding request, based on their financial need and budget. Considerations may include:

  • What is the degree of cost sharing requested versus the expected project benefit? For example, projects where a private company is the main beneficiary are recommended to provide more matching funding towards a project than projects with broader benefits.
  • Does your project show community support or ‘buy-in’? While community support or alignment with community needs can be demonstrated in different ways, contributions from the applicant and project partners are considered in project review.
  • Is the budget reasonable and in line with industry standards? (For example, hotel and travel costs in a project are expected to be budget or 3-star equivalent.)
  • Does the funding request fit within the project funding cap ($80,000)?

Funding provided by:

Province of BC Logo
Government of Canada Logo

Please note: the Government of BC may, from time to time, give instructions to IAF in relation to the delivery and administration of this program. IAF must and will comply with those instructions.