Blair Lebsack, chef of the Rge Rd restaurant in Edmonton, shows Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier (right), producer Jason Andersen (centre) and MLA David Shepherd food his restaurant prepares with local ingredients. | Jeremy Simes photo

Alta. aims to bolster local food sector

New provincial legislation will create a local food council and local food week and change organic certification

As demand for food grown and made in Alberta continues to surge, the province is hoping a slight boost to the sector will help it expand further. The province tabled the Supporting Alberta’s Local Food Sector Act in the legislature last week. Once passed, it will allow for the establishment of a local food council, […] Read more

The market value for farmers markets reached $924 million in 2016, which is nearly quadruple the value in 2004.  |  File photo

Local food demand soars in Alberta

Consumers continue to clamour for food produced in the province, but the increased demand come with its challenges

Demand for food grown and made in Alberta continues to be on the upswing, according to a recent provincial survey. The survey, released last September by Alberta Agriculture, shows that the market value for farmers markets reached $924 million in 2016, which is nearly quadruple what the value was in 2004. As well, the report […] Read more



Mill Maximets founded her Solberry company almost as an afterthought as she followed her desire to adopt the eating ethics of her childhood, when her grandmother taught her all about foods' nutritional and medicinal properties. | Ed White photo

VIDEO: A practical outlook

Manitoba entrepreneur applies personal philosophy about using local, healthy foods
to create thriving business

As a rich, marzipan-like scent wafts out of a tiny container of brass-gold oil that she is holding, Mila Maximets muses on years of painstaking efforts to use all parts of the tart cherries she processes. “I’m not into juices,” said Maximets, who has been manufacturing a seabuckthorn puree for five years and has just […] Read more

Chef Blair Lebsack is owner of The Butchery and Rge Rd restaurant in Edmonton.  |  Detour Photography photo

Restaurant gets food from the source

As a young chef, Blair Lebsack questioned why most food arrived in boxes on a truck from a central supply depot. “I always asked the driver where it came from and he didn’t know,” he said. Lebsack had grown up on a mixed farm near Red Deer where they raised livestock and garden produce for […] Read more


John and Robin Acton in the greenhouse at Lower Shannon Farms near Lloydminster, Sask.  |  Karen Briere photo

Farmers launched bold plan

LLOYDMINSTER, Sask. — If it’s true that the first five years in business are the toughest, then John and Robin Acton must wonder what lies ahead for their Lower Shannon Farms. Three years ago they took a chance that people in northwestern Saskatchewan would appreciate and, more importantly, buy locally grown produce year-round. They were […] Read more

Christina Willard-Stepan operates Seeds Natural Food Market in Cumberland, B.C. Items in the store are labelled to identify those that came from local, provincial and international producers.  |  Karen Morrison photo

Business booming in B.C.’s Comox Valley

CUMBERLAND, B.C. — Christina Willard-Stepan does the heavy lifting and leg work at Seeds Natural Food Market so that her customers don’t have to. The owner of the seven-year-old boutique-style natural food market in Cumberland describes her customers as buyers particular about what they eat. “They prefer knowing about their groceries and knowing the farmer […] Read more

Doug Smith of Natural Pastures Cheese tours visitors through the plant at Courtenay, B.C. Much of the cheese maker’s sales are on Vancouver Island. | Karen Morrison photo

B.C. island ag ventures find new support

COURTENAY, B.C. — Water buffalo cheese, salmon pepperoni and broccoli sprouts are just a few of the unusual items produced in Vancouver Island’s Comox Valley. The willingness to take a leap of faith on such ventures says a lot about the people who live here: from the dairy farmers who don’t want to milk cows […] Read more


Brian McCormick checks the new crop of garlic, emerging in February in B.C.’s Comox Valley.  |  Karen Morrison photo

New ideas keep island promoters thriving

BLACK CREEK, B.C. — Entrepreneurial blood has always pumped through Lia and Brian McCormick’s veins. They have grown wasabi on Vancouver Island and operated a restaurant. More recently, they produced salad greens and squash for local markets. Now in their 40s, they are poised to capitalize on a large local food movement with the acquisition […] Read more

During an event designed to help farmers get their food into local restaurants, chefs shared their points of view on what foods they are looking for to highlight their dishes.  |  Mariusz Strawinski/Flickr.com photo

Chefs seek unique produce unlike grocery store fare

LEDUC, Alta. —Vegetables are king as far as chef Ben Staley is concerned. For chef Jasmin Kobajica, it’s meat that wears the crown. “Vegetables deserve respect,” Staley said during an Alberta Agriculture Explore Local event designed to help farmers get their food into restaurants. “The humble carrot should be given the same respect as a […] Read more