GFM Network News

Marketing funds for organic food

The federal government is supporting the marketing efforts of two organic trade associations. The Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) will receive $180,000 from the AgriMarketing Program to help it participate in international trade shows, develop promotional materials, and build a long-term international strategy for the organic sector. The Organic Council of Ontario (OCO) will receive

Bad news for XL Foods is good news for organic beef

Smaller, independently operated production, slaughter and marketing channels 
paying off in higher prices and increased consumer confidence

Some Manitoba ranchers aren’t losing any sleep over the problems faced by the XL Foods beef recall. That’s because their beef is certified organic, and marketed through channels that operate totally independent of the big players. “I think we are definitely starting to see demand perk up, not that it wasn’t hot already,” said Allan

On rural romanticism and “natural” foods

The proliferation on our grocery shelves of foods with “natural” claims shows no sign of abating. With the growing recognition that organic food is not any safer, tastier, more nutritious or more sustainable, in spite of the higher price, consumers now want foods that are produced the old-fashioned way on the small family farm. Not

U.S. organic growers appeal court ruling

A group of U.S. family farmers said March 28 it is appealing its lawsuit against Monsanto Co. to challenge the company’s patents on technologies for genetically modified seeds. The group of organic farmers and seed dealers says its industry is at risk from Monsanto’s growing market dominance. “Farmers are under threat. Our right to farm

Better times ahead for organic farmers held on through downturn

The recession has taken its toll on Canada’s certified organic sector, but the worst may already be over. The number of Canadian certified organic farms peaked at 3,914 in 2009. Then the recession hit and that number fell 4.5 per cent nationwide, with a 16 per cent plunge in Saskatchewan, once home to the largest

Food panel releases first study results

Eating out appears to be a once-a-week occasion for most Manitobans. We have strong views about local food but differing definitions of what “local” means. Most of us have never eaten buckwheat, hemp or flax-based foods. And while a little over 40 per cent of Manitobans buy organic food, an equal number don’t think organic

OPAM trims costs to be more competitive

Streamlined operations and paperwork put Manitoba’s only homegrown 
organic certifying body back on the road to financial health

Manitoba’s own organic certification body is well on its way back to financial health. The Organic Producers of Manitoba, founded in 2005, was hit by a cash crunch as organic’s boom years ground to a halt, said president Edward Lelond. “We were anticipating growth before it happened, and then we hit the recession of 2008,”

Organic research achieving critical mass in science

The modern organic agriculture movement started 100 years ago. Sir Albert Howard was an English mycologist who served as the imperial economic botanist to the government of India between 1905 and 1924. He was fascinated by the indigenous practices of Indian farmers, whom he called his professors. His 1940 book, An Agricultural Testament, has become

Weeds helped save his farm

Weeds aren’t always a farmer’s enemy. Sometimes they’re an ally. Grant Rigby says weeds helped him tackle soil salinity on his farm near Killarney and led him into organic agriculture. “The fundamental reason I dropped herbicide spraying was to allow plants to live on those areas of the farm where the crops I planted were