GFM Network News


Ward Middleton, an organic grain and oilseed farmer from Morinville, was one of the farmers who joined the participatory plant-breeding trials, selecting wheat grown on his farm for breeding.

Hands-on plant breeding: Farmers help select new plant lines

Since 2011, organic farmers from across Canada have been making their own breeding selections

You might call it DIY cereal breeding. Since 2011, plant-breeding researchers have collaborated with organic farmers in a breeding program in which the producers select lines from trials on their own farms. Normally, a breeder goes through a plot, and selects the best spikes, heads or plants according to their breeding goals. “The participatory plant-breeding […] Read more



Gerjan Snippe, managing director of Bio Brass, isn’t the stereotypical “grey woolly goat sock” farmer that people in the Netherlands think of when they think of organic farmers.

Organic doesn’t need to be ‘so expensive,’ says Dutch farmer

Farmer alliance’s relentless focus on efficiency aims to take organics to the next level

In Canada, we might call them hippies or tree huggers but in Holland, organic farmers are called “grey woolly goat socks.” Gerjan Snippe, managing director of Bio Brass, doesn’t wear his grey woolly goat socks anymore, but he carries them in his back pocket. They’re a reminder of why he got into organics in the […] Read more

Giving young farmers help in establishing an organic dairy is an excellent idea, says veteran organic milk producer Joe Mans.

Alberta Milk offers program to entice new organic producers

There are just six organic milk producers in the province but a new program aims to up that by a third

[UPDATED: July 23, 2018] Growing demand for organic milk not only has the provincial dairy association seeking more production but also more producers — just to make sure it never runs short. “We need more organic and we need to make sure that we don’t only have a few farms taking some of the supply […] Read more


“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

Organic grain producer Ward Middleton has found a way to make record-keeping easier on his farm — the KISS approach, or keep it simple stupid.

Organic record-keeping made easier

It’s important for organic producers to understand the standards — and how certifiers interpret those rules

Organic production comes with its own headaches — but that’s nothing compared to organic record-keeping. “It’s a crush of paperwork,” said Ward Middleton, an organic grain producer from Morinville. “It seems thoroughly intimidating, and we need to make it as easy as possible. Otherwise, we’ll never entice larger farms to go organic.” Organic certifying bodies […] Read more


German coalition deal sets no timetable to end glyphosate use

Hamburg | Reuters –– Germany’s draft coalition government deal includes a goal of ending use of glyphosate herbicide within the country, but gives no time frame, after Berlin swung a vote in November extending its use across the European Union. The timing of an end to glyphosate use has been highly controversial in Europe amid […] Read more

Farming is not a one-size-fits-all business

There is room for organic, conventional, and GM technology because each of them offers different benefits

I continue to witness arguments over different methods of farming. But considering the variety of farms around the world, and that most of them are very small compared to the Canadian average, combative conversation is really rather unwarranted and, in many cases, an uneducated dialogue. When one disparages farms that are organic or ones that […] Read more


More and more people are regularly buying organic food — usually produce and usually at a mainstream grocery store — a new survey has found.

Organic food continues to win market share

Millennials and young families are the biggest factors in the ‘staggering’ jump in the popularity 
of organic

The Canada Organic Trade Association marked National Organic Week earlier this month by releasing new data that shows a “staggering” increase in the number of Canadians who are buying organic groceries every week. An online consumer research study done earlier this year found that organic food is on the weekly shopping list of two in […] Read more

Producer Steve Snider manages weeds the mechanical way, using mow tilling (pictured), harrowing, and plowing to tackle tough weeds like Canada thistle.

Three ways to manage tough weeds on organic farms

Using green manure, increasing seeding rates, and incorporating mechanical weed control can help organic producers manage weeds on their operations

The biggest challenge on Steve Snider’s organic farm is weeds — and killing them properly isn’t a one-size-fits-all operation. “The key to remember in organics is there’s no one answer,” said Snider, who has been growing organic grain on his farm near Edberg for 30 years. “It’s not like conventional agriculture. You can’t control weeds […] Read more