For thirty years The Big Carrot has been searching for Nature’s Finest to provide our shoppers with delicious, nourishing and sustainable food. In celebration of this commitment to sustainable food production we are launching the Nature’s Finest Fund. This will become an annual grant program to expand the availability of locally produced food and to support and strengthen the working relationships between local family farms and The Big Carrot.

As founding members of Carrot Cache (a small foundation that funds local organic food initiatives), we have seen the transformative power of investing in our regional food economy. Inspired by this success, we want to provide a similar opportunity for our own producers. 

Five grants were awarded to Ontario farmers in the inaugural year of the Nature's Finest Fund increasing our supply of local beans, pastured chicken, organic vegetables and greens. The grants lent support to some long-standing producers as well as bringing new farmers into our community.

This year The Big Carrot is committing $15,000 for new grants to eligible Ontario Producers.

Mission

  • To invest in our community of local sustainable food producers
  • To expand the availability of locally produced Organic food
  • To strengthen the working relationships between family farms and The Big Carrot

Criteria for Eligibility

  • Meet The Big Carrot’s Quality Standards
  • Products marketed as Organic must have a current Organic Certificate
  • Be a registered farm business
  • Funds are to be used for capital expansion (i.e. investments in new equipment, greenhouse extension, perennial crops, breeding stock, etc), not for operating expenses.
  • Interest in supplying to The Big Carrot.

Desired Attributes of Applicants

  • Be an existing vendor to The Big Carrot in good standing
  • Be an Ontario producer of high quality food
  • Be a business that is ready to expand (not a new venture)
  • Be Co-op positive
  • Share our values of an Organic and non-GMO food system

Appropriate Projects Might Be:

  • Row covers, low-tunnels, high-tunnels and greenhouses that can extend fresh production seasons
  • Purchase of Quota for managed products so our customers can obtain foods they feel comfortable using
  • Harvesting equipment, washing facilities and packing equipment for reduced labour and more effective post-harvest practices
  • Energy efficient Refrigeration and Storage facilities that will lengthen shelf-life to extend seasonal availability
  • Market Research to identify customer values so that packaging, labels, and website become more effective marketing tools
  • Laboratory testing to provide nutrient content and best-before-dating on labels for additional customer assurance
  • Training and equipment for effective fencing, composting, compost tea, biological pest controls, and green manuring that will contribute to improved quality and reliability
  • Soil testing and application equipment that will improve soil fertility for higher yields, improved flavour, and reduced susceptibility to disease
  • Irrigation equipment and water sourcing that will extend the ability to adequately irrigate with reduced effort and water usage
  • Transportation and administrative systems to more reliably and regularly deliver products to The Big Carrot
  • Processes that contribute to food safety with recommended cull and manure handling, water monitoring and treatment, animal welfare, traceability, and installation of more cleanable equipment

Application Process:

  • Submit a a completed NFF Application by December 18, 2014.
  • Completed NFF Applications to be reviewed by The Big Carrot Nature’s Finest Fund Committee and The Big Carrot Membership.
  • Recipients will be announced by January 30th, 2015.

Nature’s Finest Fund Frequently Asked Questions

Is Nature’s Finest Fund a loan or a grant?

Is Nature’s Finest Fund a loan or a grant?

Nature’s Finest Fund is a grant. 

What size is the Nature’s Finest Fund?

What size is the Nature’s Finest Fund?

The 2015 Nature’s Finest Fund is $ 15,000. This amount is based on a percentage of our annual Collective Capitol Donations for grants to eligible Ontario Producers. 

Will the Nature’s Finest Fund be split up between many producers or will one applicant receive the $15,000?

Will the Nature’s Finest Fund be split up between many producers or will one applicant receive the $15,000?

The grant will remain responsive to the projects submitted so as to be most impactful. Flexibility to award the grant to one or more applicants exists. 

Do the producers need to be exclusive to The Big Carrot?

Do the producers need to be exclusive to The Big Carrot?

Exclusivity is not a term of the Nature’s Finest Fund. 

Is there a fee for applying?

Is there a fee for applying?

There is no fee for applying.

I am not currently a Big Carrot supplier, can I still apply?

I am not currently a Big Carrot supplier, can I still apply?

All Ontario producers who are growing in line with our values and Quality Standards are eligible to apply for the Nature’s Finest Fund. Please see the detailed Criteria for Application. 

I am not certified organic, does that make me ineligible?

I am not certified organic, does that make me ineligible?

Priority will be given to those applications from suppliers who share our values of an organic and non-GMO food system. If your product is making an Organic claim, then we do require you to be certified organic. 

Is the Nature’s Finest Fund the same as the Carrot Cache?

Is the Nature’s Finest Fund the same as the Carrot Cache?

The Big Carrot is one of the founding organizations of Carrot Cache (a small foundation that funds local, organic food initiatives). We have seen first hand the transformative power of investing in our regional food economy though this work and want to afford a similar opportunity to our own producers. While Carrot Cache funds a wide range of activities and innovations, the Nature’s Finest Fund will focus on helping new and would-be producers of The Big Carrot. 

I have received a Carrot Cache grant/loan does that mean I can’t apply for the Nature’s Finest Fund?

I have received a Carrot Cache grant/loan does that mean I can’t apply for the Nature’s Finest Fund?

Receiving a Carrot Cache grant/loan does not preclude you from the Nature’s Finest Fund.  

Is there an application deadline?

Is there an application deadline?

Yes, December 18, 2014 is the deadline for Proposals. Learn more about the application procedure and timeline here.

I have a question that's not covered here. How can I contact you?

I have a question that's not covered here. How can I contact you?

Feel free to contact us at naturesfinestfund(at)thebigcarrot.ca

An annual grant program to expand the availability of locally produced food and to support and strengthen the working relationships between local family farms and The Big Carrot.

2014 Recipients

Come to the Big Carrot Natural Food Market!

We are closed Monday September 1, 2014 for Labour Day!

Our hours of operation Juice Bar Summer Hours
Monday-Friday 9:00-9:00
Saturday 9:00-8:00
Sunday 11:00-6:00
Monday-Friday 8:30-7:00
Saturday 9:00-7:00
Sunday 10:30-6:00

Give us a call 416-466-2129

The Big Carrot is located in the Carrot Common, 348 Danforth Ave. 3 Blocks east of Broadview Ave. or 1 block west of the Chester subway.

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Metered Parking is available on Danforth Ave. and in the Carrot Common parking lot.