GFM Network News


Collaborative marketing can make customers part of something bigger

Collaborative marketing can make customers part of something bigger

Teaming up with other growers can widen a customer base, create more convenience, and give new farmers a leg up

Collaborating with other farmers to direct market food can show customers that they are part of a larger community, says one direct-market farmer. And, unlike organics or environment-friendly farming practices, community doesn’t scale up to Walmart size. “(The local food movement) succeeded in creating an awareness that food is a purchase that has a serious

An aerial view of a bale-grazing pod on the Nerbas farm.

Many options, obstacles for value added

Many entrants are young, driven and with few other options to farm

Young farmers face “strict realities,” said speaker Phil Veldhuis, who teaches value-added agriculture at the University of Manitoba. They also have some opportunities in value-added production and direct marketing. Veldhuis heads Direct Farm Manitoba, which represents mainly small-scale farmers who sell direct to the public, grocery stores and restaurants. Many farmer members of the group


Michelle Schram, with her young son, on the farm she co-runs with husband Troy Stozek near Cartwright.

Women more likely to run non-conventional farms: report

EQUALITY | Access to land, social capital and difference in interests, skills may account for the trend

While women are less likely than men to farm in Manitoba, inequality appears to be lower for women in direct marketing or non-conventional farms, according to a recent report from the University of Manitoba. “There is a dynamic that women face that young men don’t face entering farming, but I also think that that’s changing

Heart Acres Farm is run by Laura Tait (left), Chad Wiens (centre), and staff Hillary (second from left), Hannah (centre, rear) and Maureen (right).

Creative pivots help small-scale food producers, sellers weather pandemic

COVID-19, hot and dry weather, grasshoppers and flea beetles made for a challenging growing season for Manitoba’s small food producers

COVID-19 threatened their markets and pests plagued their crops, but two small-scale vegetable growers say this has been a rewarding growing season. “In all regards, it’s been our best year,” said Chad Wiens, who, along with Laura Tait, runs Heart Acres Farm south of Winnipeg. When the pandemic hit Manitoba in March, it was unclear

Direct Farm Manitoba calls for changes to meat regulations

Direct Farm Manitoba calls for changes to meat regulations

Direct sales of meat have increased, but the capacity to ramp up production isn’t there, producers say

Direct Farm Manitoba is calling on the province to increase capacity for local meat sales in light of recent meat plant closures. Direct sales of meat like beef and roasting chickens have risen since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Manitoba, said Phil Veldhuis, Direct Farm Manitoba president, but producers have limited ability to capitalize on the


The program was going to look like a British Columbia farmers’ market coupon system since 2007, but changes to the market have required flexibility.

Farmers’ market ‘coupon’ program adapts to new reality

The pilot program will provide community organizations with funds to buy Manitoba food

A pilot project to put locally grown food in the hands of low-income people is adapting to fit markets moving online. “The social aspect of our program, the coming together at a farmers’ market, was incredibly important to us,” said Justin Girard, Direct Farm Manitoba board member. “But in the midst of a pandemic that’s

Michelle Schram and Troy Stozek farm beef, lamb and bees near Cartwright.

Small food producers innovate to survive

Creativity, humour and social distancing combine to get food to customers for one meat producer

Direct-marketing farmers and food producers are finding creative ways to get meals on their customers’ tables and maintain a sense of community. “You guys are all amazing and you convinced us that we will get through this crazy time. Enjoy your food, stay home, stay safe, stay classy,” Michelle Schram and Troy Stozek of Fresh

British Columbia has had a farmers’ market coupon system since 2007, and has reported good success.

Market coupons aim to give less fortunate local food access

The system, to be administered by Direct Farm Manitoba, is modelled on a system British Columbia has had since 2007

A program that would give farmers’ market coupons to low-income families will help people and build a market for small food producers, Direct Farm Manitoba says. “I believe this program is a fantastic tool to help pitch in and address food insecurity by helping restore local food economies,” said Justin Girard, who heads the steering


Direct Farm Manitoba is a new organization formed in 2016 to represent the small-scale farmer and its membership includes many new entrants to agriculture keen to forge strong direct-to-consumer relationships. The DFM met in Winnipeg February 9 for its annual convention.

Direct Farm Manitoba hopes for better connection

2016 census revealed a vibrant direct-marketing sector in Manitoba, but that hasn’t translated into memberships in the organization

There are 900 farms in Manitoba selling agricultural product of one kind or another direct to customers, and Direct Farm Manitoba (DFM) wants to connect with more of them. The farm number comes from the 2016 Census of Agriculture data which revealed both a vibrant direct-marketing sector for Manitoba and one probably a whole lot

August is peak season for farmers’ markets and other forms of direct marketing in Manitoba. Customers visit farm stands and local markets to meet growers and entrepreneurs selling an increasingly diverse range of products.

Manitoba’s direct-marketing sector gaining strength and diversity

There’s still lots of potential to grow this sector, says Direct Farm Manitoba spokesman

Early August is the peak of summer and peak time for sales at farmers’ markets, farm stands and other ways Manitobans sell their farm-grown products direct to customers. More farm families see the potential to make sales and earn extra revenues this way and the growth in this sector is steady, says spokesman for Direct