GFM Network News


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

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


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

Schoepp: Pandemic an opportunity to rethink food distribution

A highly centralized food system isn't the only option; there's a place for local, too

First- and second-fiscal-quarter earnings for those selling groceries exceeded expectations as consumers stocked up during the pandemic. From small specialty stores to supermarkets, all have reported excellent profits. The idea of centralized retail grocery is relatively recent and yet most societies, regardless of global address, can now relate to shopping at a supermarket. In North […] Read more


Perhaps never before in Canadian history has there been such an awareness of the entire food system, and this is a pivotal point.

We can put food at the centre of our national economy

We have a new appreciation for food systems, and a chance to capitalize on our strengths

Nature is the great equalizer. In just three months she took the world from assured continuance along the path of globalization and commercialism to world recognition of one simple fact — we all need to eat. For many years, there have been calls to recognize the importance of agriculture. I have been in that camp, […] Read more

AI is determining what to put on the shelves in the future, how much of it to have available and at what cost.

Artificial intelligence is everywhere, and it’s just getting started

The invisible tracking of our buying habits should challenge us so we are not defined by a database

I have been thinking about artificial intelligence (AI) and the impact it has on consumerism. AI is used to track your buying habits and predetermine your buying needs. It is also the robotics that clean fields or make cars, do complex surgery or make a digital diagnosis. It is the smart fridge that knows what […] Read more


Creating food security requires innovative approaches

It’s not a matter of providing food but finding long-lasting solutions that fit the needs of communities

The fear environment that we live in at this time now goes beyond disease and disaster. For many it is simply a question of finding enough food to eat or drink. As persons of privilege in a First World country, how can we engage in solutions that are transformative and transferable? This past winter I […] Read more

Something special is created when we choose to share our lives with animals.

Our animals give us such a precious gift

We have something very special when we share our lives with companion and food animals

I was visiting with a friend who has had a rough life. His mother and dad worked hard to provide, but they did not know how to love each other or their children. Babies were not rocked or held, and little ones were on their own. There was never a goodnight kiss, a story, a […] Read more


China needs what we can supply — but it’s a challenging customer

When markets get back to normal, expect China to continue its protein buying spree

China has been unfortunate in the past few years in experiencing both animal and human disease that has been costly in terms of life and the economy. Often, China is thought of as an exporter of almost anything, but the table has turned when it comes to food and to protein supplies. Until the coronavirus […] Read more

Young folks are willing to be part of a long day, but maybe not the whole of it. This may require two people with a flexible schedule to fill one job description.

The all-too-common pitfall of successful businesses

Growth brings rewards but also stretches the founder — especially if he or she hasn’t developed their team

What does success look like to you? For many, success is measured in terms of net profit, wealth or an accumulation of assets. For others, it is the ability to put children through school, travel or to own a cabin. However measured, success is often tied to money and people. In my Nuffield travels and […] Read more