Uber-stores for food

Businesses like Marcia Woods’ FreshSpoke are figuring out how to connect Canadian farmers with the consumers looking for ways to buy from them

Marcia Woods’ frustration at not being able to buy the high-quality food that she knew was being grown right down the road evolved into an online business that not only connects farmers with wholesalers, but also solves their transportation and cash-flow headaches. Coming from a long line of Oxford County farmers in Ontario, Woods, who’s […] Read more


Making ethnic markets pay

In Toronto alone, consumers are buying $400 million a year of imported ethnic vegetables. Could it make sense to grow them here?

Edamame, okra, bitter melon, quinoa, Chinese long eggplant — all these are edible crops that you’d have had a hard time finding on the country’s store shelves 50 years ago, let alone growing in Canadian fields and greenhouses. They’re still crops that few Canadian farmers know about, and that even fewer have considered growing. But […] Read more



Getting serious about local food

Philly Markowitz is fired up about supporting local farmers in an effort to build up rural communities throughout Ontario’s Grey County

Generations of rugged farmers have worked this rugged landscape. They’ve run cattle, they’ve pastured sheep, they’ve planted crops. None of it has been easy. South of Georgian Bay, the county’s highlands are notoriously cold, the ground rolls unpredictably in all directions, and the soil is just plain tough. If Grey County was an old building, […] Read more


Is local food good for farmers?

Canada’s social sciences council is investing $2.4 million in local food research. Here’s what they hope to learn

Alison Blay-Palmer has been studying and promoting local food systems for nearly 20 years, and her enthusiasm for the topic is greater than ever. Blay-Palmer is director of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., where she explores the big questions around sustainability. Those big questions include social justice, […] Read more



The hustle and bustle of the Ontario Food Terminal

Handling over a million tons of produce a year, the Ontario Food Terminal is like agriculture’s Port of Vancouver in the east, and just as complex

Tucked between a Shoppers Drug Mart and an overgrown hedge, the entrance to the Ontario Food Terminal is nearly impossible to find after you turn off the bustling Queensway in southwest Toronto — unless you know where you’re going. Yet every day, about 2,500 people in cars, half-tons, cube vans and tractor-trailers do know exactly […] Read more


The hub of an opportunity

Food hubs are moving north, making it easier for medium-size farms to break into ‘local’ sales without all the marketing

Trissia Mellor is on a mission to boost the sustainability of farmers and small businesses in eastern Ontario. In Northumberland County’s economic development and tourism department, she’s the energetic agriculture manager, and she’s also heavily involved in getting the new Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC) up and running. The venture centre is one of a […] Read more



Better ag education

Getting more young Canadians more interested in working in agriculture can be an achievable goal, says Becky Parker, whose Nuffield scholarship is supported by Glacier FarmMedia. First, though, we need to learn some lessons for ourselves

If you need to make a big splash, says Nuffield scholar Becky Parker, throw a big rock. A lot of little stones will only create a lot of little ripples. It’s an insight that Parker has brought home from her Nuffield tour of Britain, New Zealand and Australia, and it’s among the strategies that she […] Read more


agricultural map of southern Ontario

Save Ontario farmers, save farmland in the process

10 years later, was setting up the Ontario’s Greenbelt worth the pain? More farmers are saying yes

Rapidly rising populations, sprawling cities, shrinking farmland, and the feared effects of climate change prompted the Ontario government to create its Greenbelt around Toronto 10 years ago, with the goal of protecting some of the nation’s top agricultural land from development and fragmentation. After a decade, it seems it may be working. The greenbelt approach […] Read more



woman outside wearing winter jacket

Promoting agriculture around the globe

Why are other countries better than Canada at getting their young people excited about careers in agriculture? With support from Glacier FarmMedia, Nuffield scholar Becky Parker is on her way to find out

Becky Parker’s passion for agriculture and its future shines through when she talks about her upcoming two-year research adventure as a Nuffield scholar. But Parker also knows that it’s going to take the best people doing the best work to keep our agriculture at the forefront. In particular, she is focused on one crucial question. […] Read more


farmyard

Building a better bridge between farmers and consumers

The gap between producers and consumers is still way too deep, but new programs are proving they can make a difference

Although public and private marketing campaigns aimed at bridging the gap between farmers and consumers are making real strides, two studies conducted in 2014 point out just how far apart the two groups are in their attitudes to modern agriculture and food production. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) commissioned a $100,000 qualitative research study from […] Read more