Thank you, Mrs. Bessette.
Indeed, in ridings right next to mine, in the Eastern Townships, the community organizations you mentioned work hard to meet a demand that is unfortunately very high. The local food infrastructure fund helps food banks, youth centres and community gardens, among others.
Last year marked the first call for proposals. Under that phase, up to $25,000 in funding was available to projects for the purchase of equipment. The idea behind the second call for proposals, which was just launched yesterday, is to support community-driven projects with up to $250 million in funding over three years.
The goal of the program is to move beyond merely purchasing equipment; we want to encourage people to form partnerships, to connect with local farmers, grocers, restaurateurs—in other words, integral members of the food system—to set up infrastructure that will help reduce the demand. Our long-term vision is to strengthen local food systems.
The fund will help cover costs related to infrastructure, alterations, equipment and some minor expenditures that are not recurring. The program does not cover ongoing costs.