GFM Network News


This is urban agriculture?

CANADA: If you want to see eyes roll, just ask Country Guide readers (and writers) if urban farmers are actually farmers. Since when was a pot of tomatoes on a balcony a farm? But maybe we need to think again

Reading Time: 7 minutes Not surprisingly, urban farming is generally defined as agriculture that is done in a city, usually on a small plot of land but really it could be on any available nook. That’s what separates it from conventional farming. But then, it’s also done as a business, producing food for commercial sale, which is what links […] Read more

SPIN Farming is a peer-to-peer system that aims to make agriculture accessible to anyone, anywhere.

A new SPIN on urban farming

CANADA: Here’s a Saskatchewan farm that defies all your preconceptions

Reading Time: 8 minutes Wally Satzewich learned from his mother at an early age how to pull weeds and tend a garden, and was grateful for those skills when he started his own urban agriculture project many years later. His parents were first-generation Ukrainian immigrants who had come to Canada in the early 1950s and settled in Saskatoon, where […] Read more


The increase in non-farm and non-country people moving to rural communities is pushing the complexity of litigation.

So sue me! Farm litigation is on the rise in Canada

Can you survive a legal attack from an angry neighbour?

Reading Time: 8 minutes It used to be a cheeky way of saying “C’mon, get over it.” Somebody might complain that you took the last donut, or that you stepped on their toe. And you’d reply, “So, sue me!” Not anymore. Across farm country, the phrase now is deadly earnest. Farming is no longer the isolated, rural occupation it […] Read more

“Have a goal for the first six months, the next year, and five years,” says Nicole Porterfield (left).

Pair combine efforts for pet food business

Nicole Porterfield and Kim Good have a word of advice for your value-add project. Whether it’s big or small, you’ve got to build a great team

Reading Time: 9 minutes Whether you’re looking for a banker, accountant or lawyer, or whether you’re pursuing a new customer, what you’re actually doing is building a team that understands what you are trying to achieve, says Alberta’s Kim Good, co-owner with Nicole Porterfield of Farm Fresh Pet Foods based in Edmonton. If they don’t have faith in you, […] Read more


Lighting up the hemp business

Could the timing finally be right for a Canadian hemp crop? Blue Sky Hemp Ventures is betting yes, based on a marriage of oil-industry strategies and hard-nosed farm smarts

Reading Time: 9 minutes It isn’t easy to make a business case for hemp. The crop has so much potential. But then, it has had such a checkered past too. Sure, there have been some successes, but farmers can’t be blamed for remembering the hemp co-operatives that bled red ink, or for recalling all the big talk about hemp […] Read more

“We all appreciated being recognized as an essential service during the pandemic,” says one senior advisor with the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council. But it comes with a price.

Networking in a new era

We thought the online age hit agriculture two decades ago. Then came the pandemic. Are you ready?

Reading Time: 9 minutes Everyone knows that farmers spend a lot of time on the farm, but farmers know how vital it is that they maintain excellent off-farm contacts too, whether it’s for the health of their businesses, the health of their soils, or their own personal and social health. In fact, farmers value networking as much or maybe […] Read more


Risk, uncertainty and fear are the inevitable downsides of entrepreneurial life, Amy Stefanik says, but in every sector, including farming, it’s a chance to thrive.

Double team

It can be a roller coaster ride if your farm spouse is highly entrepreneurial. It is in other business sectors too. Now we can all start learning from each other

Reading Time: 11 minutes No matter what sector a person works in, and whether you’re husband or wife, if you’re an entrepreneur’s spouse, you are along for the ride, strapped in with no control over the steering wheel or the brake. On the farm, of course, both partners are dedicated, energetic and business-minded. But that doesn’t necessarily change the […] Read more

No one can conquer a mountain alone. Building a team is an essential, and the CEO needs to be good at attracting great candidates to yours.

Your CEO interview — six years on

12 questions to ask yourself to discover if you're continuing to fulfill your role as a leader

Reading Time: 12 minutes Let’s say you’re going to interview someone for your job as the CEO of your farm. Or maybe you’re considering someone in the next generation for the job. Or you might even be looking in the mirror, asking yourself where to focus your energy over the next year. What questions would you ask? That was […] Read more


“Your time isn’t free; there is a value to it,” says the author of ‘The Farmer’s Office.’

Above board

Pay yourself, and put the numbers in your budgets right from the start. It’s better for you, and for the business too

Reading Time: 5 minutes The thing is, you’re going to eat anyway, and probably wear clothes too. When a farmer doesn’t build a salary into their business model, they’ll still spend money on their personal needs and desires. The money just gets sucked out some other way. Of course a salary can take some getting used to, says Julia […] Read more

“It was so simple,” Bob McCoubrey says. Instead of putting funds in investments, he’d set up a mortgage to help the Thurstons buy the farm. But it didn’t stay simple for long.

Getting to the dream

A real-life story of making a non-family farm transition work, including all the time, the effort, the talking and the satisfaction

Reading Time: 9 minutes About 15 years ago, Bob and Sharon McCoubrey were facing a dilemma. Bob’s body was telling him it was time to give up his orchard and vegetable farm in British Columbia’s Okanagan. It was time for the next phase of their lives, but past experience had left a bitter taste in their mouths. “We were […] Read more