GFM Network News

Steph and Ben Campbell, owners of Grazed Right, have already pre-sold 15 per cent of next year’s meat sales as a result of higher-than-normal demand.

Demand soars as consumers find new appreciation for local food

Consumers are stocking up these days and increasingly looking towards local food producers

Reading Time: 3 minutes Demand for local food products has exploded in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. “We’ve seen a very big spike in interest and demand for our products,” said Steph Campbell, who owns and operates Grazed Right, a grass-fed beef company, with husband Ben near Calgary. “People are panic buying, and that’s spilling over into the […] Read more

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

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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

Reading Time: 4 minutes 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

Reading Time: 4 minutes 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

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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

Top farm direct-marketing conference comes to B.C.

Reading Time: < 1 minute The continent’s top farm direct-marketing event is coming to Canada for just the fourth time in its 31-year history. The North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association convention runs from Jan. 31 to Feb. 5 in Vancouver and Abbotsford. It attracts about 1,000 attendees and more than 40 per cent of event participants said their farm […] Read more

Learn the ins and outs of direct marketing

Marketing Made Easy workshop in Calgary on Nov. 5

Reading Time: < 1 minute 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