The Overcast’s $12,500 Albedo Grant is available for entrepreneurs, organizations, and artists looking to kickstart a dreamjob or launch their operation to new heights.

Its 3 sponsors, Dean MacDonald, John O’Dea, and Phil Keepings’ family, judge the submissions, and grant $12,500, no strings attached, to a winner.

Whatever your mind can whip up that’s worthy of free funding is eligible, but there’s an emphasis on benefit to the community you’ll operate out of.

This Year’s Top 12 Contenders

We received a record number of applicants this year, and advanced a top 12 to the finals that represent a variety of ideas and industries. Pick a favourite, cross your fingers, and wait until September’s Cover story to see who’ll get the grant.


3F Waste Recovery:
Turning Garbage into Cosmetic Gold

3F Waste Recovery is “in the business of turning garbage into gold,” specifically garbage from the 3Fs of our fishing, farming, and forestry industry. Waste from each could be monetized via secondary processing for use in cosmetics. For example, marine collagen and oils from cod and salmon skins are cosmetic gold. This would be a 100% locally made product, that keeps waste out of our crowded dumps, and they have a network of academic partners behind them, namely from the Marine Institute and Grenfell campus. If they win, the grant money will go towards their first 2 research & development projects with Marine Institute & Grenfell campus.


Bonavista Film Festival:
A Film Festival off the Avalon

An impressive, impassioned team of Bonavistans, are ready to roll on the province’s newest film festival, in the province’s most booming town.  This summer celebration of local and international films, hosted in the culturally vibrant towns of Bonavista and surrounding rural communities, will focus on community, storytelling, and diversity. The festival will showcase the region and province to the greater film industry, which will further increase the profile and economic life of the region, foster a new audience of film lovers outside of the Avalon, and engage the next generation of storytellers and filmmakers.


Fishing for Success:
Fish Tank Think Tank

60% of the cod we catch goes to waste. Yes, sixty. Not sixty percent of the actual number of fish, but 60% of each codfish. As the application states, “Considering the state of our iconic fish stock, we should be doing our best to use all of what we do catch!” This project is finding room for entrepreneurial activity in making money off the parts of fish we tend to throw away. In a nutshell, this think tank will employ youth to cut out cod tongues at the Petty Harbour Fish plant, and the plant will grant groups access to cod offal that may have otherwise gone into a garbage bin, so these groups can try and develop new products with them. It would be neat to see what they come up with, as cod offal already has known uses, from packaged fish stock to dog treats to cosmetics, and even jewellery.


2.0, Tech-driven Farming

The person behind this project, Luis Reyes, is an agronomic engineer with a background in developing and teaching farming adaptations and innovations. Her vision takes farming into the tech age, while harnessing our abundance of fog in Newfoundland. Open source technologies, apps for tracking demand and inventory, and “fogponic methods of indoor farming,” aren’t typical farming lingo, but the outcome of this project would be a web platform where a farmer can download plans and build their omega13 model farm independently with no support, at a fraction of the price of commercially available systems, and for a fee, sell their goods directly to customers (similar to how crafters can sell their products direct to customers through This project has the capacity and intention to increase the amount of fresh, local produce available to consumers, year round.


Iron Earth East:
A 3-in-1 Winner of an Idea

This project will address two separate issues, renewable energy and food security in NL, and enhance an existing social enterprise at the Autism Society. They will build a greenhouse that operates year round, by harnessing modern green technology. After it’s built by Iron Earth East, The 365 Greenhouse will be used by, and expand the capacity of the Autism Society’s gardening-focused job training initiative for youth (which won the Albedo Grant in 2016!). The certain success of the 365 Greenhouse in growing food year round, powered by green energy, will ideally inspire other communities to adopt this model and grow their own food regardless of local climate, to improve their access to fresh, healthy food, particularly in remote rural communities without grocery stores or access to a grid.


Meals for Margo:
A Meal Program for Cancer Patients

A commercial cook and nutritionist have started a program that makes ready-made meals for cancer patients, tailored to their dietary needs, and the side effects of treatments like chemotherapy. Malnutrition is a serious complication of chemo, which often leads to death or secondary illness, yet no food program for these people exists. Meals for Margo will make meals that cater to the unique dietary needs, appetites, and altered tastes of people undergoing cancer treatment. The meals will be prepared in accordance with the side effects of treatments, with optimal nutrition in mind. Cancer patients, or their caregivers and loved ones, can order customized meals, or, pick them up.


The Milky Whey:
Out of This World Ice Cream

Justine Thompson would like to milk the fact we produce nearly fifty million litres of milk here a year, but do very little in the way of secondary processing of this dairy, to make things like cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. She was the pastry chef at The Reluctant Chef, and was one third of the legendary pop-up donut business, Holy Grail donuts (aka, the best donuts ever). Now she’s looking to start a local ice cream business. The Milky Whey will begin its journey as a push cart, Dickie Dee style, that can also remain static, indoors or out, before blooming into a brick-and-mortar establishment. It’s likely local restaurants would eat this up too, for their desert menus. Her plan is to “challenge palates with unorthodox flavours through something that has never let us down – ice cream.”


NL Design Resource Centre:
Curb the Urban Sprawl

There are a few things that define our province and capital city, and one of them is poor forward-thinking when it comes to long-term planning, and urban design. This group is proposing the creation of a Design Resource Centre: a publicly accessible “storefront” where people from all walks of life can be exposed to the myriad concepts and possibilities that the term design presents. It will be space where courses in architecture, interior design, heritage preservation, urban planning, and design thinking are taught by experienced individuals, possibly sometimes in partnership with MUN and colleges. The Design Resource Centre is seen as a seed that will one day be a prized local institution. The notable trio behind this idea is City Councillor Dave Lane, visionary Architect Grant Genova, and Chair of Happy City St. John’s, Rob Nolan.


NL Fibre Mill:
Milking Wool for All Its Worth

The Newfoundland Fibre Mill, set to open in Bonavista in 2019, will be the only operating fibre mill in Newfoundland and Labrador. It has too many visions and endeavours to list here, but will essentially be a production facility, retail space, hands-on education centre, and cultural preservation centre for the all things fibre in our province. In their own words, the goal of the Newfoundland Fibre Mill is to process as much local wool as possible, in part because it is estimated by the Sheep Producers Association of Newfoundland and Labrador that more than 41,250 pounds of sheep fleece goes to landfills in Newfoundland and Labrador annually. The aim is to get wool out of the landfills and create beautiful useful local products, such as yarn, felt, scarves, blankets, rugs and cushions, etc, and give farmers this new revenue stream.


Pennywell Farms:
Fresh Greens, Year-Round

Pennywell Farms is an indoor hydroponic farm business: note the word indoor. It means the produce they produce is not limited to our brief growing season, so they could sell fresh, local produce all year round. Their “indoor hydroponic farms” are insulated composite-steel containers, capable of growing food anywhere on earth. Using hydroponics, this system requires 95% less water than a typical outdoor farm with similar yields, and less than 30% of the energy. Their plan is to start out with herbs and leafy greens (hurray for that, says everyone looking for fresh herbs for their recipes in the dead of winter in Newfoundland). It’s a scalable model, with the ability to add growing units based on product demand. The plan is to pilot on the Avalon, then expand across the province.


Resource Centre for the Arts:
Enhancements to Accessibility

Better known as The LSPU Hall in general, this mecca of local arts has been making consistent strides in facility and programming upgrades. The Resource Centre for the Arts has been improving their accessibility, with the goal of creating a fully accessible venue. But as a charity and a not-for-profit organisation, it can be extremely hard to find the funds to do so. This grant could help them focus on five specific initiatives to try and incorporate before their upcoming season, and encourage their renters to utilise as well: ASL interpretation, hearing assisted devices, magnifying sheets, audio description, and the use of colour contrasting painting around the building in key places, to enhance independence, safety, and accessibility.


Writers Alliance of NL:
Marginalized Community Workshops

The Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador want to present workshops, facilitated by local writers, in some of the province’s prisons and treatment centres. The programming will focus on writing, and how it can influence and develop the skills and perspectives of its participants. Last year, WANL started developing outreach workshops for marginalized communities, namely by partnering with The St. John’s Status of Women Council Women’s Centre, Thrive Community Youth Network, and the Aboriginal Resource Office. The quantity of positive feedback these programs received inspired them to continue these sorts of programs, but a non-profit organization only has so much money to fund their visions. The Albedo Grant would be used to develop and present writing workshops at the Woman’s Correctional Centre in Clarenville and the Tuckamore Youth Treatment Centre in Paradise. The program could scale out from there.