GFM Network News


Hospital food gets a local boost

Hospital food gets a local boost

Can local food create meaningful sales for farmers? Check out these institutional success stories

Reading Time: 7 minutes Putting the words “hospital” and “food” together in the same sentence doesn’t always spark much of an appetite. Mostly they conjure thoughts of a mediocre meal, something bland, tasteless and unimaginative. You might say the same thing about the way hospitals have procured their food too, with purchase systems that have been as bland, tasteless […] Read more

For mid-sized farms like his, collaborations are more essential than ever, says Brock. In Canada, he now believes, joint ventures have nowhere to go but up.

‘That will never work!’

Mark Brock was told it’s a waste of time for independent farmers to try to collaborate with other farmers. Then he did the research

Reading Time: 10 minutes Consolidation is the name of the game in Canadian business, and especially in Canadian agriculture. The pressure is on everywhere to grow bigger. If you’re a farmer, that means buying your neighbour’s land to grow your economy of scale, and it’s the same if you’re a processor, an input dealer, a chain of accountants or […] Read more


What happens when a country’s mid-sized farms disappear. For good or ill, Canada is well on the way to finding out, and the future for young farmers like Scott Beaton will never be the same.

Goodbye to Canada’s ‘average’ farm

It used to be that one farm on a road was pretty much like every other. Not anymore

Reading Time: 9 minutes What does an average farm look like in today’s Canada. If there is such a thing these days, there’s a good chance it looks a lot more like Scott Beaton’s farm than you would ever have thought possible. Beaton didn’t grow up on a farm, or think he’d ever have one of his own, but […] Read more

“You can’t be a farmer without the drive and passion for what you do every day,” says Katie Keddy. And as the Keddy farm shows, if the passion is there, all sorts of impossible things become possible.

Roots and branches

The popular idea is that farming is a closed shop: If you aren’t born on a farm, you will never farm. But it isn’t quite true

Reading Time: 12 minutes Unconventional stories are becoming conventional in today’s agriculture. In fact, they’re becoming surprisingly conventional. Yes, agriculture across the decades has always found unexpected ways to replenish itself. Still, the barriers to entry have never been as astronomic as they are today for anyone who isn’t among the fortunate few to have been born into long-established, […] Read more


“I thought several times we’d be in a wreck. I marvelled at his resilience and mental fortitude.” – Art Lange.

From ‘no’ to ‘yes’

How one farmer and his financial advisor persevered to find a route out of financial disaster

Reading Time: 6 minutes American psychologist B.F. Skinner once said: A failure is not always a mistake. It may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying. This is a story about a farmer who never stopped trying, even as his finances went so horribly off track that he risked […] Read more

When farm financial pressures mount

When farm financial pressures mount

Sleepless nights? Behind on your bills? Avoiding the banker? You aren’t alone, and there can be a path back to better times

Reading Time: 7 minutes Maybe Benjamin Franklin said it best. “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” If you find yourself in financial trouble, it’s smart to ask for help. Art Lange is president of AJL Consulting in Edmonton, and in an article from our October 2020 edition, he and an Alberta farm couple worked together to share […] Read more


VRP Farms Ltd. is proud of its farm team made up of people hired both locally and internationally. Staff pictured here, who represent a range of jobs on the farm, come from Canada as well as Mexico, France and the U.K.

Alberta farm builds labour diversity into its core

Is there a better way to find and retain farm employees in Canada’s tough market? Van Raay Paskal Farms figured there must be, with innovative thinking and a readiness to look to non-traditional sources

Reading Time: 9 minutes The sun is barely up but VRP Farms Ltd., a half hour north of Lethbridge, is already humming. Pen riders saddle their horses and barn labourers are shipping, sorting and processing. Feed drivers put their trucks in gear, operators of high hoes and manure trucks shuttle about the site, and truck drivers back up to […] Read more

Patricia Bishop and Josh Oulton are building a business plan to bring linen flax back to their farm, and to the country.

From flax in the field to shirt sleeves

Meet a Nuffield Canada farmer scholar with a vision for a value chain for Canadian-grown linen

Reading Time: 10 minutes [UPDATED: Jan. 11, 2021] Josh Oulton and his partner Patricia Bishop have grown flax on their Nova Scotia farm for nearly a decade, but not with an eye to the market that most Canadian flax growers are after. Instead, Oulton and Bishop grow varieties of flax that produce the plant-based fibre used to make linen, […] Read more


“For me opportunity, I think, lies in trying to partner with other farms.” – Erin Harris.

Farm opportunities on your mind

Canada’s farmers tell us the new directions they’re planning for their farms

Reading Time: 12 minutes Not so long ago, all the buzz was about unleashing Canada’s full agricultural potential on a world that desperately needs our farmers to produce more and more. Global population was booming, more countries were more prosperous, and consumers everywhere were changing and improving their diets. Now our country needs Canada’s farmers to succeed too. Whether […] Read more

The farm reason to travel

The farm reason to travel

Actually, the COVID-19 pandemic is a great chance to re-think how ‘off the beaten track’ travel and extended time overseas can be great business catalysts. Three farmers and a business professor tell us how it works for them

Reading Time: 8 minutes Of course there’s a cost. Travel is an education, but how and where you travel means you do have to make the time, you do have to have the means, and you must seize an opportunity to do it. What do you get for that investment? The answer is both simple and complicated. Travel will […] Read more