GFM Network News


And so it is with the journey as we begin another year.

Schoepp: A tedious task offers up some lessons on life

Those who came before us have given us a gift and we must preserve it for future generations

Surrounding my new rural house is a rock garden that stretches 30 metres long and is 10 metres deep. It’s steep and rugged and has not been tended to for several years. The task of pulling established grasses, invasive ground cover and weeds from this huge space seemed a monumental task. I began the process […] Read more

Does the wall need to be repaired before being repainted?

There’s a case for fixing mistakes but also one for brightening things up to give us a fresh start

The person I was walking with on a soft and warm island night was speaking of her career as a commercial painter. From a previous conversation, I knew that in her work she was a victim of harassment, exposure to extreme language, lack of privacy and the frustrating absence of washroom facilities. She was small […] Read more


Food security amounts to access to nutritious and appropriate food regardless of circumstances.

In many Canadian homes, there’s not enough food

As farmers we tend to take abundance for granted but food insecurity affects one in seven people

I saw her as rich and sophisticated. She saw me as well fed and wildly free. I was visiting with my cousin who had lived her childhood and most of her adult life in the city. We were talking about food and she mentioned how poor they were — with so many limits on their […] Read more

Big brown bats are one of nine bat species in Alberta.

The interconnections between species are deep and interwoven

COVID-19 has put bats into the spotlight, and research shows how deeply everything is connected

In the last column I introduced the concept of systems change for the benefit of human and animal health. Fortunately, there is an avenue to work with human and animal doctors, scientists and experts towards a healthy world and it is called One Health. One Health is defined as a “collaborative, multi-sectoral and transdisciplinary approach […] Read more


In the last decade, for the first time, we saw influenza carried by birds transfer to pigs.

How did we get to this place at this time in history?

The spread of disease from animals to humans isn’t new, but reducing it will take a new approach

It’s a bewildering year and you may have wondered: Just how did we get to this place at this time in history? There are many theories that are specific to the origin and spread of the coronavirus, but few look at global history and the role of food and population change within the context of […] Read more

If COVID has taught us anything, it is the value of food and the importance of family. – Brenda Schoepp.

Reflections from a long and sorrowful drive

Those who came before us have given us a gift and we must preserve it for future generations

It was a long and sorrowful drive home in September as I travelled to say the final goodbye to my dad. He was a man of honour, integrity and faith — and will remain forever our farmer and gentleman. It is men like him who along with their partners carved out a living strictly from […] Read more



Farmers need to lead in the food space by focusing on consumer trust and need, collaboration, and authentic representation.

Opinion: We need to open the farm gate wide

Consumers want to see in, and farmers need to know what is happening beyond their operation

The first half of 2020 was amazing for agriculture as Canadians were focused on food quality and security. Consumers were interested in being part of the solution and, at the very least, wanted more information about where their food came from. Local became in vogue and instead of standing in line at the checkout, many […] Read more


This harvest, take a bit of time to do things differently

Instead of the usual go-go-go approach, think about how we can all learn to use time more wisely

I watched in horror a video on social media in which a farmer wrapped his preteen son in bale wrap. The child was in the machine! Later that week I coaxed an elderly man holding his electric saw down off a 25-foot extension ladder. At a lavender farm, I encouraged the owner to stop giving […] Read more

There were three pressing, immediate issues identified in our the food supply chain during the early days of the pandemic.

The food supply chain bent but did not break

But the pandemic also highlighted many weaknesses 
in a complex system with many parts

The food supply chain did not fail Canadian consumers in the first half of 2020 despite huge challenges. Yes, there were times when some product was sold out or limited, but emaciated shelves were short lived. Overall, consumers had adequate access to food and beverages from the Canadian food supply chain. The Canadian Agri-Food Policy […] Read more