GFM Network News


“There are some new guys from the oilfields who are coming, and some of them have moved into farming,

Alberta’s organic heartland wants to bring more farmers on board

Two-year initiative will assist both existing growers and those wanting 
to transition to organic production

Being Alberta’s most northerly rural municipality isn’t Mackenzie County’s only claim to fame. “Right now, Mackenzie County has the highest number of organic farmers,” said Jacob Marfo, manager and research director of the Mackenzie Applied Research Association, (MARA). And the region may soon have more. MARA and Organic Alberta, with support from the county and […] Read more

New online tool for using green manure

The Prairie Organic Grain Initiative has launched a free, online Green Manure Tool Kit. A reliable and effective green manure program is essential for the success of an organic farm, and the tool kit is a guide to help producers to select the best green manure for their farm conditions. It has modules on selecting […] Read more


Apprenticeships available for aspiring organic farmers

Application deadline is Jan. 31

Young Agrarians, a program of Organic Alberta, is growing the next generation of farmers through a new apprenticeship program in 2017. The program is intended to help aspiring farmers gain skills and insight from experienced producers willing to share their knowledge and expertise. Four host farms have been selected in central and northern Alberta. Core activities […] Read more

Pair of organic field days on offer

Organic Alberta and the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative will be hosting two field days on organic grain and field crop production. On July 11, there will be a tour of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lethbridge Research Station and Leffer’s Organic Farm. Federal researchers will talk about weed biocontrol, integrated pest management, soil health, and nutrient management. […] Read more


Stockmanship schools on offer

Classes run June 13-14 in Red Deer and June 16-17 in Cochrane

Richard McConnell and Tina William are presenting a two-day Proper Stockmanship School in Red Deer (June 13-14 at the Red Deer County Office) and Cochrane (June 16-17 at the Weedon Pioneer Community Hall). Topics include pressure and release; instincts of humans and livestock; the predator/prey relationship; positioning and movement; and sorting, weaning, receiving, and loading livestock. […] Read more

The 2016 edition of Alberta Farm Fresh School ready to roll

Event runs from Feb. 25-26 on the Olds College campus

The Alberta Farm Fresh School 2016 is coming up and commercial horticulture specialist Rob Spencer says it’s the perfect place to learn more about production and marketing. “This year’s event is being offered jointly by Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association and Organic Alberta,” said Spencer. “As a result, there will be sessions for organic grain […] Read more


Organic Beef Mentorship program taking applications

The 2015 Organic Beef Mentorship program is open for applications. “Organic Alberta offered the program last year with four pairs of mentors and mentees,” said Melisa Zapisocky, livestock manager with Organic Alberta. “The program was a big success and we’ve decided to offer it again this year.” Under the program, selected transitioning producers, including those […] Read more

Producer Steven Snider hopes a new Prairie-wide organics program 
will dispel some of the misconceptions about organic production.

Organic is booming — and the push is on to get more growers

Demand for organic grain is growing at a sizzling pace and the sector fears it will lose market share if it can’t up production

Steven Snider was just 16 years old when he realized conventional farming wasn’t for him. “I was spraying a wild oat herbicide on a field, and I got drift poisoning,” said the Edberg-area farmer and owner of Little Red Hen Mills. “For three days, I was sick as a dog. That kind of changed my […] Read more


The money’s good. But is organic for you?

There’s money to be made in organics, says the executive director of Organic Alberta. “From a business perspective, organic production does make sense,” said Becky Lipton. “If you’re looking on how to expand your operation, organics do provide a lot of opportunities on that end.” While yields can be substantially lower — as much as […] Read more

Ottawa funding effort to help farmers grow organic crops

Ottawa and a group of organic food producers are spending $2.2 million to boost organic production on the Prairies. “While the Canadian organic food market has tripled since 2006 from $1 billion to $3 billion, organic production has not kept pace,” Organic Alberta executive director Becky Lipton said in a press release. “This project will […] Read more