GFM Network News

“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

“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

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

When food is on the table, it’s the right time to talk farming, Anderson believes.

A foodie’s Calgary

Next time you’re in CowTown, here’s a way to see the future of Canadian food, and do some great eating too

Around the world, the mention of food and Calgary conjures up thoughts of a great steak in a bustling town. But the idea of Calgary as a foodie destination isn’t so easy a jump. Or at least, it hasn’t been so easy until now. But is it true? Is even the heart of beef country […] Read more

For Bain, reaching consumers boils down to one rule: “There always has to be a story.”

Buffalo Girl author tells food stories in ‘Star’ fashion

Married to an Alberta bison farmer, Jennifer Bain is food editor of Canada’s largest newspaper

I had to buy a chest freezer when we were dating,” says Jennifer Bain. She pauses while the audience laughs. Then she continues telling us about writing Buffalo Girl Cooks Bison, her latest cookbook. She is Buffalo Girl. Her introduction to bison came when she married Rick, an Alberta bison rancher. Bain weaves her own […] Read more

Rudy Knitel (l), and Corne Mans.

Young and old defining food distribution success

Separated by 52 years, Rudy Knitel and Corne Mans find how to succeed at food distribution

As good as you or better,” says Rudy Knitel when I ask him what he was looking for when he went in search of a business partner. A sense of humour apparently helps. Aged 74, Knitel did find his business partner, though. He’s Corne Mans, aged 22. A 52-year age difference might seem like a […] Read more

Whole populations seek foods rarely grown on Canada’s farms.

A food walk in India on the streets of Toronto

Follow Steven Biggs’ footsteps for your own eye-opening tour of the new world of Canadian food

It’s pretty clear that we don’t exactly know what we’re doing. The shopkeeper, looking through the window, sees our hesitation. He opens the door, looks at us, smiles, and waves us in. “Please come in,” he says. Not familiar with this stretch of city shops, we had paused to peer in the window of a […] Read more

Consumers want to connect to their family, their land, and their shared values.

The direct option for marketing ethical beef

At first, direct marketing gave Dylan and Colleen Biggs hope to save the farm. Now it’s driving robust expansion

They told me I would fail,” says Colleen Biggs, remembering the phone call she made soon after taking over sales and marketing on the home ranch. It was 1995, and with no room to cut costs any deeper, she had called the Alberta Ag Ministry to find out more about direct marketing, thinking their way […] Read more

dee Hobsbawn-Smith

Prairie writer has close relationship with food, farming

dee Hobsbawn-Smith is winning international literary awards for her portrayal of Alberta farmers

A friend flipped me an email about a reading in Toronto by Prairie writer dee Hobsbawn-Smith from her book, Foodshed. Her book is about Alberta food and farmers, making this an unusual event in urban Ontario. It turns out, this isn’t the only way that it’s unusual. The event is described as an informal potluck […] Read more

The plus side of the new farm is that Stoddart has largely freed his farm from commodity markets. But it takes commitment.

Organic by choice, sort of

If you think you’ve got what it takes to thrive at direct-to-consumer farming, maybe you better talk to Harry Stoddart first

We’re really selling the relationship, and the story of us,” says Harry Stoddart as he describes the markings on his White Park-cross cattle. The rare White crossbreed, he explains, is part of his story. It’s because he can tell a story that I’m at Stoddart’s farm. His book, Real Dirt: An Ex-Industrial Farmer’s Guide to […] Read more

Last year alone, FoodShare’s 5,000 volunteers reached out to over 200,000 Torontonians.

FoodShare provides fresh vegetables, food security

Farm groups are getting on the inside with Toronto’s world-class food outreach program

When I fire off a last-minute email to confirm the details of my scheduled visit, I mention that I have never before seen a food bank. Debbie Field, executive director of FoodShare, politely responds, “We are not a food bank,” she tells me. “We’re a community food hub.” Food bank, food hub. But the next day, […] Read more