The Zuidhof family: Jeffrey, left, Martin, Annette, Victor, Allison and Ashely. Missing is daughter Jessica. | Maria Johnson photo

Third generation continues legacy on Alta. farm

LACOMBE, Alta. — Zuidhof Feeders sprawls over the rise of a hill in the rolling parkland of central Alberta. Its towering feed mill can be seen for miles. Pens of feeder cattle are squared off over the hillside. Hundreds of bales are stacked in rows nearby. Adjacent to the farm site, cattle dot the landscape. […] Read more

Devastation was complete after a fire destroyed a goat barn on this Alberta farm Feb. 4.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Alberta farm loses 300 goats in barn fire

CLIVE, Alta. — Meindert and Johanna Dijkstra were nearing home around 10:30 p.m. Feb. 4 after being out for the evening. As the couple got closer to their farm, set in the hills a few kilometres southeast of Clive, they wondered at the orange glow in the night sky. Upon turning south at their range […] Read more


All main course meal items are sourced locally at least one day a month at the University of Alberta’s Augustana campus. On a day in late October, the cafeteria served spicy sausages from Irving’s Meats in Round Hill, Alta., baby potatoes from the Little Potatoes Co. in Edmonton and creamy dilled carrots from greenhouses in central Alberta.  |  Maria Johnson photo

College students treated to local fare

CAMROSE, Alta. — It’s lunch time at the cafeteria at the University of Alberta’s Augustana campus in Camrose. Students are lining up, chatting and laughing, awaiting their turn. The main course menu items today are spicy sausages, tender baby potatoes, and creamy dilled carrots, all locally sourced. A homemade bun rounds out the main course. […] Read more

Alf and Thelma Foster stand in front of their store sometime in the 1940s. They bought the store in 1939 and eventually added a Cockshutt farm equipment agency. They renovated the second floor living quarters and lived there during their time in Benalto. The Fosters sold the store in the mid 1940s.  |  
Jim Foster photo

Benalto’s ‘mini-mall’ provides gathering place

This Alta. general store comprises a convenience store, post office, ATB branch, hair salon and courier depot

BENALTO, Alta. — Some things about the traditions of a community general store never change. “We’re a meeting place, a gathering place,” says Karen Turner-Padley, referring to the Benalto General Store. She adds that some people jokingly refer to it as the mini-mall of Benalto, and for good reason. All together under one roof in […] Read more


Nancy Warwaruk weaves on one of her Leclerc looms. She uses 100 percent cotton thread to make a piece of fabric that will result in 24 tea towels. Weave time is 30 to 45 minutes per towel. Looking on are 
husband Corwyn and son Chance.  |   Maria Johnson photo

Couple finds ways to remain on the farm

The Warwaruks raise chickens and gather eggs 
for sale and market their hand-woven items at farmers markets and trade shows

NEVIS, Alta. — Corwyn and Nancy Warwaruk may have one of the smaller farms in central Alberta but they are finding unique ways to make a living and raise their two young children. The Warwaruks’ hilly three-acre farm houses several dozen goats, 100 chickens, an alpaca, a horse, and Rosa, the dog. Corwyn and Nancy […] Read more

A half sole is attached using a decades old outsole stitcher. | Maria Johnson photo

Boots made for walkin’ are worth fixin’

PONOKA, Alta. — Vance La Bine was determined to earn a respectable living at a business many might consider to be gasping its dying breaths. He decided this central Alberta community was the perfect place to accomplish it. With a plethora of cheap, easily replaceable shoes on the market, shoe repair isn’t often what comes […] Read more

Emery Klein runs two flocks each of chickens and turkeys a year. They will be transported to Pigeon Lake Poultry Processing in Westerose, Alta.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Family uses free-range thinking to diversify

DELBURNE, Alta. — Klein Farm, situated in the rolling parkland of central Alberta, keeps its eggs in several baskets. The farm includes a free-range poultry operation numbering 300 turkeys and 2,000 chickens, a 20-acre orchard planted with rows of black currants, saskatoons and chokecherries, and 900-plus acres of commercial grain: wheat, malting barley and canola. […] Read more


Laura and Cal Siebenga of Gull Lake, Alta., stock their store, Small Circle Foods and Retail, with locally produced food and crafts. The couple raises about 70 ISA brown chickens. The breed is known to be prolific layers giving large brown eggs. The Siebengas raise Suffolk Dorset cross sheep. They sell their meat and also have two other producers who supply the same breed and quality of lamb. A protective llama keeps the flock safe from coyotes. The Siebengas sell food and artisan items from more than a dozen producers around central Alberta.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Alberta foodies satisfied with being small and local

GULL LAKE, Alta. — The conversation is easy and relaxed like friends catching up. Laura Siebenga chats with a longtime customer who stops for eggs at Small Circle Foods and Retail, the store located on her and husband Cal’s 17-acre Brown Eggs and Lamb farm. “That’s a huge part of what this store is,” says […] Read more

A plaque at the Eleanor Pickup Arts Centre  shows the Cardium Theatre in its heyday in 1957. 
The Drayton Valley Historical Society turned it into an arts centre in 2006. | Maria Johnson photo

Town transforms cinema into performing arts centre

DRAYTON VALLEY, Alta. — Recitals, choral productions, dance festivals and plays used to be held in local churches, schools and community halls in Drayton Valley, Alta. Today, the Eleanor Pickup Arts Centre provides a home for these local performing arts and brings the community together. “And this is where it starts, in the little theatres,” […] Read more