GFM Network News

Berith and Bernd Klänhammer see a bright farming future for son Jonas, but in today’s Germany, their land-buying days may be over.

The German question

Now that they’ve recovered from communism, these East German farms worry about the excesses of democracy

Reading Time: 9 minutes The fall of the iron curtain in l989 brought democracy to the former East Germany (DDR). For farmers like Bernd Klänhammer at Penkun, an hour and a half northeast of Berlin, it also brought, for the first time in their careers, the freedom to make their own decisions. Of course, Klänhammer wasn’t the only one […] 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

Jan VanderHout hosts a food tour at his greenhouses.

Canada’s food producers speaking up

Farmers on both sides of the Atlantic are scoring big wins with effective new consumer-outreach strategies

Reading Time: 6 minutes When I was in the Netherlands this past summer, I had the chance to visit a hog farm. That in itself is not unusual, but what stayed with me were the blunt comments of the farmer who hosted us that day. “We need consumers to like us if we want them to buy our products,” […] Read more

Robotica’s indoor farming modules have style-conscious Italian consumers in mind. “Our vision is to grow food on every desk in every house,” its builders say.

Could the future of farming lie indoors?

Innovation: The scale seems much too small, say farmers. But that may be its greatest strength

Reading Time: 5 minutes Outside of maybe the health care field, there are few sectors that are as innovative and changing as rapidly as agriculture. It’s what I’ll write about in this series of columns for Country Guide, because frankly, some of the technologies that are coming off the drawing boards are going to challenge the way we think […] Read more

This earthen “tank” is 100 feet above the Coen farmyard and provides gravity pressure for livestock watering, irrigation and fire protection. For more photos and videos of the Coen farm, visit and search for “Takota Coen — Grass Roots Family Farm.”

‘Farmscaping’ for profitability, sustainability

Applying some of the same principles from kitchen design can improve the environment and the workflow on the farm

Reading Time: 5 minutes “Farmscaping” might be a new term for many western Canadian producers, but it’s shorthand for a familiar set of ideas: building features like shelterbelts and perennial strips into the farm landscape to best utilize their ecological goods and services. In other words, taking a “whole-farm” approach, with the goal of maximizing profitability and sustainability. Joanne […] Read more

There are so many producers who have great products but can’t get them from point A to point B, especially at volume,” Ferguson says.

The Farm Network takes farm food products beyond local

The Farm Network is pioneering a new category of food business, helping farmers grow their sales of local products to reach commercial scale

Reading Time: 5 minutes When Tyler Ferguson found a distinct gap in Canada’s local food system, he decided to fill it by starting his own sales, marketing and distribution company focused on getting more food products from the farm into retail. That was the first step. But only the first step. “I noticed that a lot of local food […] Read more

Can higher production co-exist with monitoring and maintaining the environment? The answer seems to be “Yes!”

Improving nature

Corn and the environment can work hand-in-hand, and thanks to our farmers, in many cases, they already do

Reading Time: 6 minutes Every harvest season, word spreads quickly about yield. And happily, that trend line is up, with growers taking off phenomenal yields whenever the weather is halfway co-operative. But can today’s yields co-exist with a healthy environment? It’s a question that is getting asked more and more. And for the most part, it seems, the answer […] Read more

The beef industry has been shown to be reducing its carbon footprint, but Tim McAllister says more needs to be done.

Beef industry challenged to do better

Reading Time: 4 minutes It’s no secret the beef industry is under attack from environmentalists and activists — or that they frequently distort the truth. “They have an agenda that they are trying to gain information to support — they’re looking for things that have gone awry in the industry, and there have been problems,” renowned Alberta cattle researcher […] Read more

The sign at the entrance to the City of Munich’s Gut Karlshof farmyard is well within the limits of the city.

Urban agriculture in Germany

Could Munich’s urban farm be a model for Canada, helping improve quality of life in our cities and narrow the urban-rural divide?

Reading Time: 6 minutes If you have never heard of the now-extinct Schlüter tractor brand, what you need to know is that the company produced some famously unique looking machines during its corporate life. Now, this was the first opportunity I’d ever had to see a working Schlüter tractor, and it came in a city — although still on […] Read more

Learning from organic takes patience and an open mind, says Dave Hunter (l) and Bob Kerr, but there’s
a payoff in richer soils.

Learning from organic agriculture

These conventional farms are adapting techniques from organic agriculture — with a little time and care

Reading Time: 10 minutes Agriculture is always in search of the next innovation, but as most growers learn — some, the hard way — there is no silver-bullet solution. If you’re going to change things for the better, it’s going to take time, effort and likely a departure from the norm. Yet with lower crop prices, growers are also […] Read more