GFM Network News


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

Local, diverse veggie varieties part of food security, says seed group

SeedChange promoting wider use of local vegetable varieties, including in home gardens

SeedChange, a non-profit that works with farmers in Canada and around the world to save seeds and grow food sustainably, is launching a campaign for a more resilient post-pandemic food supply. “It’s no secret that the coronavirus is impacting Canada’s food supply,” said Jane Rabinowicz, executive director of SeedChange. “COVID-19 has revealed the importance of […] Read more


Food policy should focus on the establishment of strong communities centred around identifiable, traceable food production and processing for local, domestic and export markets. – Brenda Schoepp.

As we rethink globalization, we need to think about communities

In many parts of the world, the current system is broken and doesn’t serve consumers or farmers

The world was once a scattering of small communities that through hunting and gathering, and later farming, were often self-sufficient. As systems of trade were built, dependent largely on the sea, goods and services had value and started to leave or be exported from these community hubs. In many cases, this brought an infusion of […] Read more

Federal food policy aims to lift local and Canadian-grown products

Federal programs to boost the profile of domestic and locally grown foods at home while reducing food waste, food insecurity and deceptive food marketing are all up for funding under the government’s new Food Policy for Canada. Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Parliamentary Ag Secretary Jean-Claude Poissant announced the new policy Monday in Montreal, following […] Read more


Local food trend is still hot

Growing interest in healthy eating and where food is produced continues to increase demand for local food, says a provincial consumer market analyst. “Data shows that for fresh food like fruits, vegetables and dairy — milk, butter, cheese, and yogurt – consumers show a strong preference for local brands,” said Jeewani Fernando. “Between 55 to […] Read more

Jeff Senger and the other members of the new Local Food Council have a year to find ways to boost the sector.

Farmers and small processors tapped for local food council

The group has a year to find ways government can assist burgeoning local food sector

There’s no shortage of hands-on experience on a new advisory group charged with coming up with ways to boost Alberta’s local food sector. Creating a Local Food Council — and ensuring it had a healthy number of producers and processors of local food — was part of a bill titled Supporting Alberta’s Local Food Sector […] Read more


A conceptual drawing of the World Food Center, located in the heart of the Netherland’s main food region. The centre hopes to attract 350,000 visitors annually and take them 
on a “food journey.”

New Dutch ‘theme park’ aims to connect consumers with their food

The World Food Center will connect the entire value chain to share in the experience of food

There’s a spark of life at an abandoned military base in the heart of the Netherlands’ Food Valley. You see it everywhere you look — in the students living in the dorms and working on the grounds; in the sports hall-turned-dining centre; in the modern offices now housed in the main building. But it’s only […] 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

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


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

Ben and Steph Campbell didn’t have millions for enough land and cows for a conventional ranch, so they went the direct-marketing route. The couple (pictured here before the birth of their third son) operates Grazed Right, one of about 2,000 farms in Alberta that sell directly to customers.

Local food is putting down deep roots

One in 20 Alberta farms are selling directly to their customers, and there’s room for plenty more

The year Mark Gibeau started growing heritage grains, a book called The 100-Mile Diet had just come out. Suddenly it seemed everyone was using terms such as ‘local food’ and ‘locavore.’ It was good timing on Gibeau’s part, but would time be his friend? Would local food be one of those ‘here today gone tomorrow’ […] Read more