Ontario Supports Food Industry in Thunder Bay Region

Province strengthens agriculture, aquaculture and food processing sectors

THUNDER BAY – The Ontario government is providing more than $2.2 million to help support the agriculture, aquaculture and food processing sectors in the Thunder Bay region. The funding will help 13 businesses and Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation expand operations, create jobs and drive economic growth.

“Our government recognizes the importance and significance of local food sources to our wellbeing and economy,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry. “We are providing access to healthy food options for Northerners, and also cultivating business development, diversification and growth in the food industry across Northwestern Ontario.”

The following funding is being delivered through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC):

  • $500,500 for Roots to Harvest – a non-profit and charitable organization in Thunder Bay – to purchase the building it currently leases and renovate the space to include a community dining area and collaborative workspace for partner agencies. The association previously received $34,200 to build an accessible kitchen and training area.
  • $373,394 for North Highland Farm to purchase and expand a dairy farm in Kakabeka Falls
  • $189,000 for Superior Roti to establish a roti-making business in Thunder Bay
  • $171,149 for B & B Farms Thunder Bay in Rosslyn to increase its potato production capacity by purchasing equipment and expanding its facility
  • $158,012 for Thunder Bay Co-Operative Farm Supplies in Slate River to increase its fertilizer storage capacity by purchasing equipment and expanding its facility
  • $156,643 for Elite Beef to establish a meat processing plant in Thunder Bay that specializes in premium beef cuts
  • $137,221 for Woollysteer Ranch to establish a heritage breed cattle and pig farm in Nolalu
  • $124,000 for Heartbeat Hot Sauce Co. in Thunder Bay to increase its hot sauce production capacity by relocating to a larger facility and purchasing equipment
  • $123,225 for CharKuu 102 to establish a pig farm in Gorham that specializes in cured pork
  • $59,350 for Bluejay Meadows Farm to establish a mushroom, garlic and hay farm in Kakabeka Falls
  • $55,000 for St Paul Roastery in Thunder Bay to increase its coffee roasting capacity by purchasing equipment and expanding its facility
  • $52,500 for Silver Creek Farm to establish a cattle and pig farm in Kakabeka Falls
  • $43,501 for the Association of Community Pastures to establish three rotational grazing systems in O’Connor Township. The farming technique – new to Northwestern Ontario – divides a large pasture into smaller lots, allowing cattle to be moved from one lot to the next every few days. The technique promotes new vegetation growth, increased nutrient intake for cattle and better beef yields for farmers.
  • $37,500 for Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation to conduct environmental assessment work on developing rainbow trout open pen aquafarming at three potential sites on Lake Superior

The NOHFC promotes economic prosperity across Northern Ontario by providing financial assistance to projects—big and small, rural and urban—that stimulate growth, job creation and skills development. Since June 2018, the NOHFC has invested more than $374 million in 3,713 projects in Northern Ontario, leveraging more than $1.3 billion in investment and creating or sustaining over 5,500 jobs.

“Our government is proud to be working with the sector to grow agri-food business development in Northern Ontario,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Making investments into our local food industry, agriculture and aquaculture in the North demonstrates our commitment to strengthening Ontario’s food supply chain so that everyone can continue to access safe, healthy, locally grown and made food throughout our province.”

Quick Facts

  • In February 2021, the Ontario government launched new and improved NOHFC programs that support more projects in rural northern communities and make it easier for more people and businesses to apply. The programs target existing and emerging markets, provide more work opportunities for Indigenous people and address the skilled labour shortage in the North.


“The Ontario government has helped Elite Beef purchase equipment and grow processing capacity to further service and work with purveyors in Northwestern Ontario and beyond. The goal being to process and supply locally produced beef all over Thunder Bay and surrounding area.”

– Derek Lankinen
Owner, Elite Beef

“Support from the Ontario government has not only allowed us to start our business, but has given us the tools to start it off properly and accelerate its growth. Our main goal was to be able to provide our community with high quality grass-fed beef and pastured pork – the NOHFC grant has made our dream a reality.”

– Rachel and Jason Audette
Owners, Woollysteer Ranch

“The support from the province of Ontario has helped our business expand our coffee roasting and processing space, which was much needed, especially during the pandemic. The support from NOHFC helped us greatly during these difficult times and allowed us to create jobs while ensuring a reliable supply of our product.”

– Cameron Reid
Owner, St Paul Roastery

“The Ontario government funding we received for the construction of our barn allowed us to be more resilient during the extreme weather and drought this year. The barn also helped us expand our business into new markets.”

– Chantal and Wes Alkins
Owners, Silver Creek Farm

“Funding from the province of Ontario for rotational grazing enabled the Thunder Bay Community Pasture to extend the grazing days for cattle, despite the drought this year. Without this work, the cattle would have had three fewer weeks of grazing time.”

– Diana and Larry Bockus
Secretary Treasurer and Co-Manager, Thunder Bay Community Pasture

Source Province of Ontario 

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