Circular Food Solution Challenge

Priority Area: Food Action

Dates: Nov. 2023 - Feb. 2024

Status: Closed

The Opportunity:

Approximately 58% of all food produced and distributed in Canada is lost or wasted, accounting for 4% of Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and costing approximately $49 billion per year. Opportunities for diverting, reusing, and upcycling food loss and waste (FLW) resources exist throughout the food value chain. Preventing food waste, diverting it from landfills, and fostering a circular bioeconomy are essential steps in mitigating these environmental challenges and creating economic opportunities in Canada. Collaboration across various sectors in Canada supports circular strategies, knowledge exchange, and resource sharing, making it crucial to advancing these goals.

The Project:

The National Zero Waste Council, in partnership with Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL), Halifax Regional Municipality, Halifax Food Policy Alliance, Halifax Partnership and others is spearheading Circular Food Hubs: Mainland Nova Scotia. This pilot project is applying a 5-step process, guided by COIL, to support the evolution of Nova Scotia-based food hubs that integrate circle economy solutions with food loss and waste (FLW) prevention. Peer-to-peer learning through workshops, data collection and strategic opportunity assessment, and the piloting and testing of solutions together will shine a light on how a circular food system in Nova Scotia can evolve.

The Challenge:

The Halifax Innovation Outpost,1in collaboration with the National Zero Waste Council and Guelph- Wellington’s COIL, is issuing an open call for the piloting and testing of circular food solutions in mainland Nova Scotia that either launch new, or deepen, action on food waste and climate change.

Applicants will receive:

  • Advice and guidance as appropriate in implementing a solution
  • Funding up to $5,000 for solution costs (including supplies, marketing or campaign fees, equipment, meeting or event costs, etc.)
  • Participation in a national lessons-learned webinar event with other businesses and local governments across Canada
  • Introduction to other grants, external to this project, to scale up promising solutions.

We are inviting applications that explore a practice that is circular*: to trial it and learn what it may take to scale it or even test its viability.

*a circular food solution is one that: helps design out food waste and pollution; contributes to shorter supply chains; helps circulate resources, and regenerates natural systems.

Who Can Apply:

Eligible applicants include Nova Scotia-based for-profit businesses and not-for-profit organizations.

  • Businesses need to have operations in mainland Nova Scotia, but are not required to be headquartered here.
  • Requirement for applicants to be working in collaboration with a minimum of two different supply chain actors.
  • Collaborations can be cross-sector (public, private or community) or single sector.
  • Government bodies can be included as a partner, but cannot be the receiving agency for funding.

If you are looking for additional information on how best to collaborate, or with who, consider reaching out to NZWC - Our Circular Peer Network: People & Resources.

How to Apply:

Submit an application through this LINK.

Review Process:

A committee of project partners will review applications, considering:

  • How proposed solutions deliver on circularity, and food loss or waste reduction;
  • Likely achievability of solutions within the funding and timeline parameters;
  • Ability to transfer and scale; and
  • Depth of collaboration.

This committee includes Halifax Partnership, National Zero Waste Council, City of Guelph COIL, Halifax Regional Municipality, Halifax Food Policy Alliance, and Dalhousie University faculty.

Funding will be awarded up front.

Deadline: Applications are due by November 13, 2023. Results and final reports from applicants are due by February 15, 2024.

Project costs provided: up to $5000

Eligible Expenditures:

The following includes, but is not limited to, eligible expenses:

  • Supplies, including machinery
  • Marketing
  • Partnership-development support (e.g. new relationships for food recovery/food redistribution)
  • (Food) Product testing
  • App Platform testing

Behaviour change campaigns including materials (* e.g. see Love Food Hate Waste Canada. Contact [email protected] for details).


  • A circular food solution that is trialed in collaboration with other supply chain actors.
  • A brief, one page ‘Lessons Learned’ report complete with budget details on funding expenditures at the end of the Pilot and Test phase. This report identifies what would be needed to make the solution viable, and scalable, in Nova Scotia, and whether the applicant will pursue the solution more comprehensively post the trial phase.
  • Successful applicants must also participate as guest speakers in a national webinar, hosted by the National Zero Waste Council, that shares the lessons learned through the pilot and test experience.

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