The federal government plans to invest $7.2 million in a hub for agri-food at the Western Fair District in London.
The hub is called The Grove and is located in the buildings that once held events like the London Farm Show, across the street from the AgriPlex.
The funds are coming from FedDev Ontario, the federal government agency that funds business development. The funds were announced by Kate Young, member of parliament for London West, who also has responsibility for FedDev Ontario.
The Grove was launched about a year ago and is now home to six businesses and organizations connected to food, including meal delivery company LiveFit Foods, the Middlesex London Food Policy Council, Renix, which uses ion exchange to make food processing more efficient, The Wormery, which uses worms to compost green waste, The Fritter Shop, a company that make traditional Dutch fritters and Factory Bucket, a technology company that uses software to improve processing efficiency.
The $7.2 million will allow The Grove to accelerate its development, says Reg Ash, chief executive officer of Western Fair.
“This funding will allow us to be at the state we wish to be at in the next five years. This will allow us to get to the point of transforming the space quickly,” he said during an announcement of the funding.
The Grove is connected to numerous other organizations in the London area to help businesses grow there, including the RH Accelerator, Western University, Fanshawe College, the London Training Centre and the London Small Business Centre.
“This will provide critically needed wrap-around supports for agri-food companies in southwestern Ontario,” said Ash.