GFM Network News


 Gardening, as in producing one’s own food, is a satisfying physical activity that is remarkably energy efficient.

An ode to the Prairie garden

Letter Five from Northern Blossom Farms: In his fifth instalment from Northern Blossom Farms, Gary Martens 
reflects on the value a garden brings to a farmer’s life

In previous letters I have discussed three major components of a complete farm; crops, livestock, trees and the whole that results from these components. I propose that there is a fourth component that is already present on many farms and that is the garden. Gardening is an activity that is common to many people in

Rethinking the possibilities of trees

The view from Northern Blossom Farms

In this third letter from Northern Blossom Farms, Gary Martens 
discusses ways to keep trees on the landscape.

In my first letter I advocated integrating livestock and crops for the synergistic benefits of both components to the farming system. In the next letter, I discussed my crop rotation which includes perennials but is still based mainly on annual crops. In this letter, I want to propose the integration of trees as a beneficial


Universal rotation principles uniquely applied to each farm

The view from Northern Blossom Farms - Part 2

This is the second instalment of a series of letters from Gary Martens, who is an instructor in plant science with the University of Manitoba. His ‘nano’ experimental farm is located near Kleefield, Man.  First I will lay out the principles by which I planned the crop rotation. These principles are derived from a long-term understanding

The view from Northern Blossom Farms

A university instructor is turning his nano farm into a living laboratory for sustainable farming systems

I spoke to a number of young farmers recently and learned that they are questioning the business decision that every farmer makes every year: Hold $2 million in assets, invest another $250,000 cash in a crop in order to get $60,000 profit. And that is if everything goes right, which it typically doesn’t. What is

Emerald Green Or Muddy?

Why is it that Ireland is called the emerald green isle and we are called muddy Manitoba when the annual rainfall in Ireland is 730 mm and in Manitoba it is only 440 mm? The answer is quite straightforward. They have 80 per cent of their agricultural land (17 million acres) in managed forage crops,