GFM Network News


The pigs raised by Steph Campbell and husband Ben arrive in spring and are butchered in the fall.
Selling pork and eggs allows the couple to generate more sales from their customer base.

Couple weren’t millionaires — so they found a different way to farm

It’s not for everyone, says Ben Campbell, but direct marketing is a low-cost route to farming

Although Ben Campbell is a third-generation rancher, he didn’t have an operation he could take over. And when he looked at the math for starting his own ranch, it was worse than ugly — he figured he’d need $3 million in assets to generate an income of $50,000. “I didn’t have enough money to do […] Read more

Mark Gibeau credits the success of his organic heritage grain business to the connections he’s built with bakers and chefs.

You can direct market grain, too — but it’s more complicated

Mark Gibeau sells flour to bakers and chefs while selling direct helped Steven Snider get started

Mark Gibeau wouldn’t be a farmer today if he couldn’t direct market his grains. “Having small acres in the big-boy system doesn’t work,” said the owner of Heritage Harvest near Strathmore. “We had to find something different right from the get-go.” Gibeau, who farms with his wife, began growing certified organic heritage grains on his […] Read more


Elna Edgar knew that direct marketing at farmers’ markets was the only way to make a go of selling her asparagus.

Better together: Innisfail Growers is a testament to teamwork

The five farm families in the group have been successfully selling direct for more than 25 years


Beck Farms took an unorthodox approach to getting into the wholesale market when it was starting out in the mid-1980s — by selling directly to consumers. “We actually went to a few small farmers’ markets and had people try our carrots,” said Shelley Bradshaw, who owns Beck Farms with husband Rod. “We would say, ‘If […] Read more

Leona and Blaine Staples have grown their U-pick operation to a full-blown agritourism venture.

Shop local trend has changed the game at the Jungle Farm

Leona and Blaine Staples have continually diversified their farm 
to capitalize on changing consumer shopping trends

Leona and Blaine Staples produce a bit of a different kind of commodity on their operation near Penhold. “We really farm people,” said Leona Staples, who has been running the Jungle Farm with husband Blaine since 1996. “One of the passions in our life is sharing our farm with the rest of the world. We […] Read more



Learn the ins and outs of direct marketing

Marketing Made Easy workshop in Calgary on Nov. 5

The Marketing Made Easy workshop takes place Nov. 5 in Calgary and Jan. 20 in Fort Saskatchewan. “This workshop examines selling products at Alberta-approved farmers’ markets and beyond,” said Delores Serafin of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “You will learn strategies for creating a lasting first impression, clearly identifying your target clients, and how to make […] Read more



Black Diamond rancher Ben Campbell doesn’t know what the future holds for his fledgling beef business — but he’s confident enough to leave his engineering career to pursue it.

Forging deep bonds — one customer at a time

It’s a whole different world, but these Alberta farm entrepreneurs 
say direct marketing gets in your blood

Grazed Right Grass Fed Beef / Black Diamond As one of four children of one of seven brothers who jointly own the family ranch, Ben Campbell knew a farming career was simply out of reach. Even if he had the land base, the cost of starting a commercial-size herd is huge. “Cattle are so expensive […] Read more


Alberta Farm Fresh School 2015

The Alberta Farm Fresh School 2015 takes place Feb. 26-27 at the Pomeroy Inn and Suites on the Olds College campus. “This annual school is the perfect place to learn more about direct- market production and marketing of fruit, vegetables and livestock, as well as connect with producer peers and experts,” said Rob Spencer, provincial […] Read more

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development is hosting a one-day CSA workshop on Nov. 18.

Workshop offered on Community-Supported Agriculture

Registration deadline is Nov. 12

The local food movement has seen farms across the country offer CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) programs, in which customers pay up front and receive weekly shares of vegetables and other farm products during the growing season. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s Explore Local initiative is hosting a one-day CSA workshop on Nov. 18 at the provincial […] Read more