GFM Network News


Abelman’s Salt Spring farm is hardly a grain and oilseed powerhouse. But consumers line up to buy from him.

Food in its place

Canada’s top urban-agriculture advocate admits that mostly it isn’t farming. So why does he keep pushing?

Reading Time: 6 minutes “I took it as a compliment,” says Michael Ableman as he recalls being called a “food terrorist” by cooking celebrity Julia Childs. It was a charge she made after he spoke to a group of culinary professionals with a bag of groceries at his side. One by one, he took out the groceries and told […] Read more

“I just jumped on it,” says founder Pete Sanagan, saying Canada’s farms, including its small farms, are producing “so much amazing product.”

At the storefront

Peter Sanagan, owner of Sanagan’s Meat Locker, wondered why so few farmers sell into huge, nearby markets. Then he had an idea

Reading Time: 6 minutes A truck pulls up in front of the butcher shop on the narrow, one-way street and parks under a no-stopping sign. Pedestrians emerge from shops and dart from one side of the street to the other. In the air there are smells of coffee, restaurants, even cannabis, and everything is laid out to celebrate food […] Read more


Just a sample of the dishes on display at the RC Show.

Three chefs take centre stage

Restaurant owners know disruptive change is coming, and that farmers have to be involved. But do they speak the same language? Hmmm, we sent a reporter

Reading Time: 11 minutes It’s shoulder-to-shoulder people, with barely enough space to bring a forkful of Peruvian spicy creamed chicken to my mouth. It’s great. So is the next taster I try, a vegetarian burger garnished with Peruvian chili aioli. The burger is made from pressed Canadian cottage cheese. Next are tables with cocktails, kombucha and Canadian cheese paired […] Read more

Kings Noodle House.

A food tour of Toronto’s Kensington Market

When city dwellers get curious about where their food comes from, they take tours like this one to Toronto’s Kensington Market. Country Guide sent writer Steven Biggs to buy a ticket and answer the question: Should a farmer go too?

Reading Time: 7 minutes Our tour guide is Leo Moncel, and as he looks over the English-Chinese menu, he calls out, “Does anyone have dietary restrictions?” In a restaurant like this after everything we’ve seen on the stands and in the windows of Toronto’s Kensington Market, it makes us wonder. What could he mean? It turns out it’s the […] Read more


‘Good in Every Grain’ campaign bridges urban-rural divide

This Grain Farmers of Ontario campaign means consumers meet farmers where they’d never expect to see one

Reading Time: 4 minutes Three tickets for a whisky. Not rye. It’s a downtown Toronto event, the currency is sample tickets, at a buck a piece. Seems reasonable. Besides, there’s a sign that has caught my eye. It announces, “Sample Ontario Corn Whisky: Neat, On the rocks, Whisky sour cocktail.” In a way, it’s the kind of sign I […] Read more

“Bring joy and nourishment to the table,” Halliday says. That’s what makes your message to consumers memorable.

How to talk food in the city

When city consumers want to know how to communicate about food, they go to Voula Halliday

Reading Time: 5 minutes “At the core, you try to create something memorable and special. The possibilities are endless,” says Voula Halliday as we discuss food and events — and how using them together has so much impact when you’re trying to promote causes and make change. It’s a Tuesday morning, and Halliday apologizes as she tells me it […] Read more


Although big chains buy at lower prices, McMullen has her own strategy. The playing field isn’t level, so she changed the game.

A turn at Summerhill

Running this family-owned independent Toronto grocery is amazingly like making a success of a mid-sized Canadian farm, which is why co-owner Christy McMullen is rarely standing still

Reading Time: 7 minutes Chicken pot pie is on our radar the moment I arrive. I’ve heard raves about it, and it’s not long before I spot it. When I pick one up, I quickly understand something about this store’s reputation. At over 1.5 kg, this not your typical meat pie. Nor is this your typical store. Summerhill Market […] Read more

Gone to school

Guide Canada: For a growing number of Millennials, the place to learn about agriculture doesn’t have a conventional farmer anywhere in sight

Reading Time: 5 minutes “I’m energized every time I walk into this building,” says Tony Doyle. “And so is everyone else. They know we’re doing something unique here.” The building Doyle is talking about is the Centre for Food at Durham College in Oshawa, the city on the eastern edge of Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe that has been best known […] Read more


“You’ve got to constantly find ways of making money without raising your prices,” Ezio Bondi says.

The distributor’s business

Bondi Produce in Toronto trucks farm produce inside one of Canada’s most diverse food markets, and sees more opportunities for farmers every day

Reading Time: 8 minutes “We’re selling commodities, which is the exciting part of it. And we’re selling a perishable product, which adds this real pressure,” Ezio Bondi tells me as we walk about his distribution centre here in Toronto. It’s some warehouse. The business started in 1976 with one man — Ezio’s grandfather — and his pickup truck. Some […] Read more

Hanging out in Toronto and talking about pulses,” chef Michael Smith calls out to the city's food glitterati. “Who knew?”

Pulsing in downtown Toronto

To get Canada’s food elites excited about their farm products, Pulse Canada turns to three high-octane city buzzes... celebrities, glamour and nightlife

Reading Time: 6 minutes The presentations begin. A woman takes the stage in the middle of the long, narrow, high-ceilinged room. Across from her, two slide shows project on the wall. On the left screen is a combine working in a large, flat field; on the right, gourmet food. The room hushes as Allison Ammeter, chair of the Alberta […] Read more