GFM Network News


Lana Shaw is asking for producers to give $200 to “adopt” one of 48 plots in her flax-fababean intercrop trials in Redvers, Sask., this year.

Research to go to a good home

‘Adopt a Plot’ campaign turns to crowdfunding to test novel intercrop combinations

Lana Shaw has a long list of crop combinations she would like to test in the intercrop trial plots, and she hopes farmers themselves will give her the funds to get that research off the ground. The researcher from the South East Research Farm is back again with another crowdfunding research campaign. Shaw is asking

A mulch of dry leaves helps protect a perennial border.

Protecting plants from winter damage

You’ll be glad you did when you see healthy plants come back in the spring

Late October/early November is the ideal time to plan on how you are going to protect vulnerable plants from our severe winter. The first step has hopefully already been taken where you have chosen most of your plants that are hardy to your climate zone. Many gardeners, however, like to try a few “challenging” plants


Dave Barnes stands at what will one day be the path separating a prairie garden and edible orchard

Community group looks to merge food production and conservation

The Assiniboine Food Forest Initiative hopes to break ground on two projects this summer, including an edible tree orchard open to the public

For Dave Barnes, chair and founding member of the Assiniboine Food Forest Initiative, it all started with a desire to protect the stands of oak, ash and maple along the banks of the Assiniboine River east of Brandon. “I saw threats to landscape everywhere,” he said. “I saw these ancient oak trees. I know they’re

The importance of composting

Understanding how to make and use compost important as problem of waste disposal continues to grow

Compost is decomposed organic material, such as leaves, grass clippings, and kitchen waste. It provides many essential nutrients for plant growth and therefore is often used as fertilizer. Compost also improves soil structure so that soil can easily hold the correct amount of moisture, nutrients and air. It improves the texture of both clay soils

Christian Thierfelder demonstrates how the soil under conventional tillage is rocky and hard. The soil becomes more mellow under conservation agriculture.

Grow less maize and produce more food

Boosting yield allows seeding less maize as ‘insurance,’ and adding more profitable and nutritious crops to the rotation

Christian Thierfelder strides into a plot of maize, reaches down, and scratches through the mulch with his fingers to grab a clump of soil. Holding it up, the senior agronomist with CIMMYT’s Harare field station lets it crumble through his fingers — it is moist but not muddy, and the decaying plant material gives it


Four farmers discussed nutrient management during the 4R Nutrient Field Day at Kelburn Farm July 3. Curtis McRae (l to r), Ed Peters, Frank Prince and Jonathan Hodson.

Farmer panel discusses 4R nutrient stewardship

There could a fifth ‘R’ in sustainable nutrient management — the right economics

The 4R Nutrient Stewardship program aimed at promoting nutrient management on Canadian farms is short an R. The four “Rs” are using the right source of fertilizer, applied at the right time, at the right rate and in the right place. The fifth “R” is the right economics. “Economics determine the rate of change,” Virden

Mark Shepard, author of Restoration Agriculture and permaculture pioneer, has created a permaculture design plan for Prairie Heritage Farm north of Gimli.

Restoration Agriculture project moving forward

Gimli-area farmers to host permaculture expert Sepp Holzer in May

The design is in, dozens of species of fruit- and nut-bearing trees have been ordered, and now the owners of Prairie Heritage Farm north of Gimli are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the spring planting season. Last fall, Kirsten Benot and her husband Daniel hosted a three-day workshop featuring perma-culture pioneer Mark Shepard. Along with

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