GFM Network News


“They were surprised I could do it,” Bob Baloch says, but that’s exactly what he has done, working, dreaming and sweating to become a Canadian farmer.

A new farm story

Most of Canada’s farms got their start when previous generations of immigrants made sacrifices and worked hard to gain a toehold, often via truck farming. Is it still happening?

Reading Time: 9 minutes Bob Baloch has taken what he has learned about logistics and marketing from working in the IT world, married it up with his experiences of growing up on a family farm in Pakistan, and applied it to create a highly diverse and successful fruit and vegetable farm on 23.5 acres of land at Rodney, Ont. […] Read more

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


Consumers continue to love the farm-to-fork concept, says Braden Douglas, founder of CREW Marketing Partners.

Building the chain

When should you give an expert chain-builder like Braden Douglas a call?

Reading Time: 7 minutes Farmers are expert at producing food. No one doubts that. Increasingly, farmers are also expert at finances and myriad other sorts of business management. Again, that’s beyond debate. But are you expert at launching startups too? It’s one of the big questions of 2020, when so many of the ideas that are bubbling up across […] Read more

Beyond startup

Launching a new supply chain is hard enough. But will yours have legs? Can you grow it into a sustainable business that will thrive through all the changes coming your way? Here’s what Three Farmers’ Natasha Vandenhurk has learned on her own road

Reading Time: 7 minutes This is the third time Country Guide has interviewed Natasha Vandenhurk, CEO of Saskatoon-based Three Farmers. If anything, this time it feels more urgent. The reason isn’t exactly the pandemic. At least, let’s put it a bit more accurately. It’s the opportunities that COVID-19 is creating, and the impetus for farmers to take more ownership […] Read more


Owning the supply chain

B.C.’s third-largest hog producers Charlotte and Bob Lepp thought they’d test the waters with a small step into retail. It’s led to incredible learning, and growth

Reading Time: 8 minutes It isn’t exactly unusual. Time and again, all across the country, and especially now with COVID-19, farmers have looked at what they produce and thought, “If only I could cut some distributors and wholesalers out of the chain, I’d get to keep a lot more of what the end-user actually pays for the food I […] Read more

A view from above of Stamp Seeds in Alberta.

The joy of farm diversification

On more farms across Canada, keeping an eye open for diversification opportunities is part of what it means to farm

Reading Time: 11 minutes Chances are, any reader of Country Guide knows at least some farmers who have diversified in some way. The odds are good, too, that you’ve heard them get talked about. Maybe you’ve done some of the talking yourself? Everyone has an opinion. Are these farmers risk-takers, or are they just ordinary farmers like you who […] Read more


Blockchain pilot project of the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA) and Grain Discovery, which involved soybeans bred at the University of Guelph, produced by Szentimrey Seeds, grown at Minten Farms, stored at Beechwood Agri Services, processed at Ying Ying Soy Food in Mississauga, and distributed by FreshSpoke to retail stores.

Real blockchain payoffs

Sure, a lot of what you hear about blockchain technology is hype. But there are also very real pathways to higher net returns

Reading Time: 10 minutes By now, we’ve all heard about the new kid on the ag tech block, known as blockchain. But we’re far from understanding what the use of blockchain is going to mean at the farm level. What benefits will it provide? Will its chain-of-custody and traceability for identity-preserved (IP) crops, including seed, keep Canada competitive? Is […] Read more

Red Shed Malting adds value to the farm’s barley by producing premium-quality base malts, plus lightly kilned and roasted specialty malts made from them.

Why marketing is the test, no matter how great your idea

“It’s a mind-shift,” says value-add pro Gary Morton. Success takes groundwork, strategic planning… and money

Reading Time: 3 minutes Branding that identifies you as the producer and connects buyers to your farm product is a key strategy for adding value to farm products, says Halifax-based business consultant Gary Morton with Morton Horticultural Associates. “You are kind of in a sea of sameness,” says Morton, who has worked with all types of farms, not only […] Read more


David and Paul Waldner of Clear Lake Hutterite Colony.

Alberta Hutterite colony bottles water to diversify

Clear Lake Colony is challenging the definition of “value-added” with bottled water production

Reading Time: 8 minutes Across the West, Hutterite colonies are successfully diversifying into other business ventures, but this is a unique story at the very rural Clear Lake Hutterite Colony, an hour and a half southeast of Calgary. Clear Lake, it turns out, is home to a natural spring well — and to a group of very forward-thinking farmers, […] Read more

A full-sized Silverado made out of LEGO blocks was built by school students to help publicize the Silverado and “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part.”

Affecting attitudes

GM takes to TV and the movies to get you to buy the new Silverado pickup

Reading Time: 6 minutes One of the most interesting press releases to drop into my inbox this year has come from General Motors. “Chevrolet debuts all-new Silverado marketing campaign,” was the headline. It revealed how The General (as car guys have called the brand for years) plans to convince consumers to take a second look at the updated pickups […] Read more