Rajan Rathnavalu of Camrose, Alta., gives a presentation to the Holistic Management and Organic Alberta conference in Camrose about his hopes to raise $2 million and use the co-op structure to buy Don and Marie Ruzicka’s farm and create a template for regenerating rural areas.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

Co-operative model used in attempt to buy farm

The Sunrise Community Farm Co-op wants to buy an Alberta farm as part of an effort to maintain its rural sustainability

CAMROSE, Alta. — Twenty years ago Don and Marie Ruzicka changed the way they farmed. Now they hope they can create a new way to sell the farm. Their 640-acre certified organic Ruzicka Sunrise Farm has become an ecological oasis with native prairie, replanted tame pasture, large bodies of water protected by vegetation, more than […] Read more

Katelyn Duban of Lethbridge, right, interviews Kelly Sidoryk of Lloydminster, Alta., for Duban’s The Rural Woman Podcast during a session at the Holistic Management and Organic Alberta conference in Camrose Feb. 1.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

Podcast tells stories of prairie farm women

The weekly Rural Woman Podcast has featured 41 women with 50,000 downloads since its launch last March

CAMROSE, Alta. — Inspiration can come from anywhere. For Katelyn Duban, inspiration for her podcast came from driving a tractor with no air conditioning and scrolling through Instagram. “I was watching stories of amazing women who were farming and ranching all their lives in their own unique way,” Duban said during a Holistic Management and […] Read more

The hardware store fire in Hines Creek, Alta., in 1981 is one of the topics covered in the Hines Creek Book Facebook page.  |  Photos courtesy of Roxanne Lefebvre

Alberta town’s history becomes online sensation

A popular Facebook page provides former residents of Hines Creek an opportunity to stay connected with their roots

The logical place to start when gathering stories for a history book was to begin a Facebook page, said Roxanne Lefebvre. Four years later, the Hines Creek history book has long been published, but the Hines Creek History Book Facebook page has grown and attracts new members each week. “I have lots of members who […] Read more

Rachel Yadlowski shows some of the mushrooms grown in her family’s indoor farm.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

Indoor farm started in a shipping container

An Alberta family’s mushroom operation sells its produce to wholesale markets, restaurants, hotels and specialty stores

NISKU, Alta. — The Gruger Family Fungi farm has come a long way since its beginning in a metal shipping container. Today the mushroom farm is in a warehouse in an oilfield industrial park. There may not be soil, gravel roads and quarter sections of land, but Rachel Yadlowski believes their warehouse bay is a […] Read more

Brenda Bohmer of Bawlf, Alta., stands in a newly seeded perennial strip between an existing wetland and her grain field. The plan is to let the wetland refill and then plant trees around the wetlands.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

Farm puts out welcome mat for trees

An Alberta producer has taken 20 acres out of production, filling the wetlands with water and planting 3,100 trees

BAWLF, Alta. — Brenda Bohmer’s farm looks like hundreds of others on the Prairies. A canola field lines the long driveway. Grass is neatly mowed near the row of grain bins. Trucks and swathers are washed, serviced and ready. Old wagon wheels and rustic signs lean again wooden buildings as decoration and as a nod […] Read more

High energy costs, staff shortages, labour costs and imported products from the United States and other provinces help create a stressful business environment for the greenhouse industry.  |  File photo

Alberta greenhouse closure sign of a tough business

For gardeners, the notice on the Central Alberta Greenhouse’s Facebook page was distressing. After 85 years, the greenhouse was closing its doors. “We regretfully have to inform you of the closure of Central Alberta Greenhouses. Effective: Aug. 6, 2019, our doors will officially be closed.” Since 1931, the third-generation greenhouse had supplied gardeners, florists and […] Read more

Tracey Stott of Olds, Alta., races her team across the finish line during the Alberta Professional Chuckwagon and Chariot Association races in Bashaw, Alta.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

More women flock to the track in Alberta

Sixteen of the 79 drivers in the Alberta Professional Chuckwagon and Chariot Association this year are women

BASHAW, Alta., — In 1992 Tracey Stott was the youngest woman to drive a chuck wagon in Alberta’s racing circuit. From her seat in the wagon 27 years later she sees more women taking the reins and racing around the track. This year, 16 of the 79 Alberta Professional Chuckwagon and Chariot Association’s drivers are […] Read more

Seed grower says all wheatgrasses are in short supply, especially northern and western varieties. | AAFC photo

Find forage seed supply early, expect to pay more

Seed grower says acres are down for almost all forage and grass seeds, creating a supply shortage and sending prices up

LEDUC, Alta. — Strong cattle markets, a strong U.S. dollar, dry weather and dwindling forage acres have pushed grass and forage seed prices to some of the highest levels in years. Heather Kerschbaumer, president of Forage Seed Canada, said her family’s Golden Acre Seeds paid growers 11 cents a pound for sweet clover seed when […] Read more

Shannon Ruzicka with her children Madalynne, 11, Josh, 9 and Molly, 6, in front, and their milk cow. The family is six months into a quest of living off the land like their German ancestors when they came to Canada. They milk the cow once a day and turn the milk into cheese, butter and cream. | Mary MacArthur photo

Living life of ancestors gives insight into future

Surviving off the land has sparked panic from not knowing if the food will last, and satisfaction in learning how to make do with less

VIKING, Alta. — Are we as tough and resourceful as our pioneer ancestors? It’s a question farmers Danny and Shannon Ruzicka asked. After six months of eating like pioneers, they know they aren’t even close. “What sucks we are today,” said Shannon Ruzicka, whose family launched a yearlong quest of buying nothing, including food. Instead, […] Read more

Jordan Webber of Brownfield, Alta., says the 12 acre solar farm is expected to generate enough electricity to power 400 homes. | Mary MacArthur photo

VIDEO: Excitement heats up over electricity generating farm

BROWNFIELD, Alta. — Alberta’s first solar farm is set to be built and hooked to the power grid by the end of the year. The proposed 12-acre farm is expected to generate one to two megawatts of electricity, enough to power 400 homes, said Jordan Webber, Starland County’s economic development officer. “The people in the […] Read more