GFM Network News


Gialuca Brunori  

Farmers’ markets drive food sector innovation

They offer valuable insights into changing consumer tastes and preferences

While many view farmers’ markets as an enjoyable and quaint, albeit inefficient, place to buy food, few would characterize them as cutting edge. But small-scale farmers and farmers’ markets are an important source of innovation in the food system because they are a source of direct consumer feedback, Gialuca Brunori, a professor with the department

Springstein-area farmers Andreas Zinn and his mother Monika Zinn are experienced direct marketers who see a growing demand for their production.

Direct Farm Manitoba begins membership drive

Direct Farm Manitoba has merged with Small Farms Manitoba to build up its membership base

Andreas Zinn grew up on a farm in the breeder pullet business, but as a youngster he was mostly interested in his mother’s backyard flock. He’d eventually decide to farm. It was that flock that influenced him most, says Zinn. “I could see both management systems and the benefits of each,” he says. “But I


The changing face of Canadian farms

A close look at the current census will give us a chance to examine the evolution of Canadian agriculture

Every five years, Canada’s federal government asks us to provide details on who lives in our household. The demographic information is used to guide decisions ranging from school planning to transportation infrastructure to government transfers. Among the census questions is one that asks if you intend to sell agricultural produce. This may strike most as

Small farmers considering their own organization

Nov. 24 meeting will explore how to best represent small-scale farms

Small-scale producers who sell mostly direct to consumers will meet next week to decide whether they have enough in common to form a new Manitoba farm organization. A good turnout for the meeting Nov. 24 is expected, but it remains to be seen whether they can unify under an umbrella organization, one of the organizers

Business development support was good to get their small honeybee apiary and meadery up and running in Alberta, 
says Cherie Andrews, who co-owns Chinook Arch Meadery with her husband Art.

For direct-farm marketers, Alberta is a great place to operate

Support includes help to finance travel and research, and allowing sales of alcohol in farmers’ markets

Direct-farm marketers in Alberta have their share of regulatory hurdles to gripe about, but they have distinct advantages and supports which marketers in other provinces would envy. When apiary owners Cherie and Art Andrews were first eyeing prospects to start making mead (honey wine), the province gave them several kick-starts, not the least of which


Bailey Gitzel sells her cookie sandwiches and French macaroons at the opening day of the Carman Farmers’ Market June 19. The 17-year-old Graysville entrepreneur also sells honey produced from her own beehives. She plans to study agriculture at university.

New specialists, more online resources for small-scale production

The government must act quickly to keep up with needs of a fast-emerging sector, says report chair

Manitoba is acting on the recommendations for improving the working environment of small-scale farmers and processors, says Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn. Last week he and other MAFRD officials were at the St. Norbert Farmers’ Market to introduce the two business development specialists being reassigned in the department to work with these

Jeff Eastman is MAFRD’s new small-farm development specialist. His office is based at the University of Manitoba’s Livestock Knowledge Centre. Teulon-based MAFRD business development specialist Jayne Kjaldgaard is Manitoba’s new specialist to work with small-scale processors.

New production and processing specialists’ positions assigned

The new extension positions will be focused on reducing the intimidation factor for startup businesses

One of the most intimidating aspects of direct marketing a farm-grown product is knowing the rules for safe food handling and other regulatory and production requirements. Last week, the province announced it has reassigned two business development specialists with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development staff to roles that will avail them to processors and

Jon McPhail, co-owner of Jonnies Sticky Buns in Winnipeg, enthusiastically shows off his wares.

Get Fresh food event attracts new faces to local producers

Businesses and schools looking to buy local can face many challenges, including not knowing who can supply them with what they need

Wondering who can supply you with local berries in January? Or maybe you’re looking for pasture-raised pork for your home economics class? Or perhaps you’re looking for someone who needs local oats year round? Thanks to Get Fresh, a networking event hosted by Food Matters Manitoba, producers and purchasers are now better able to answer


NFU recommendations to protect farmland, tackle farm debt

1. Enact laws to restrict farmland ownership to individuals who live in the province the land is in and the same for incorporated farming operations, including co-operatives. 2. Provincial governments should monitor farmland ownership and report changes annually and also consider legislating the maximum amount of farmland an individual or incorporated family farm can own.

There’s a new generation of agri-entrepreneurs at farmers’ markets these days.

Local food demand increasing the value of direct marketing

The Direct Farm Marketing Conference marks its 20th anniversary at its meeting in Brandon

Forget the stereotype of the elderly farmer selling some garden surplus or a few jars of homemade pickles at the Saturday morning farmers’ market. Vendors selling homegrown vegetables, preserves and meat today are just as likely to be their energetic and technically savvy grandkids — or at least their age. Their small businesses aren’t just