To build an on-line knowledge sharing tool to help Canadian grain farmers sell portions of their crops directly as specialty or branded products in the global marketplace.


To pursue this mission, it is essential to explain everything in a stable and predictable way. That’s easier if all of the parties recognize shared values to help keep the communications on track.

  • Integrity – Transacting large grain deals is a high stakes undertaking for all parties. To foster new relationships and grow existing ones, everyone must learn to trust one another. That demands ethics and integrity from everyone … throughout the process.
  • Communication – The Canadian prairies are a long way from the markets we hope to penetrate. Canadian farmers must explain their capabilities and foreign buyers must explain their needs. Building efficient communication is a must. Not just technology, but also the norms of human behavior across cultures.
  • Patience – In farming, many initiatives take time to mature. Farm investments (e.g., tiling a field) often can’t be judged for years. Building new global markets is an equally long-term investment. Even though it involves Internet technology, the human element (e.g., trust) will take a while to mature. It’s a job for a frugal tortoise, not an expensive, technical hare.
  • Systematic Organization – One of the better ways to foster communication between strangers is to apply a consistent pattern and organization to all activities. A user might need to work through the system once, but it should be easy and familiar when they do it a second and third time.
  • Service – Farmers and buyers aren’t Internet professionals, but farmers and buyers are the stakeholders for whom this site exists. The internet professionals need to aid and serve the stakeholders, not the other way round.


Our goal is to create a website that is the destination for global buyers to understand and contact Canadian farmers concerning direct shipment of specialty or branded grain products. The idea of a market “destination” is key. It allows buyers to efficiently search for specific products.

A Korean brewer is unlikely to fly to Saskatchewan to visit one farm. They might spend an hour or three scrolling through a website if they believed they could find out what they need to decide whether to contact the producer. Grain Street is designed to bring enough Canadian producers together into one virtual place that it become worthwhile for a foreign buyer to engage.

Market destinations are nothing new. They have been commonly used for thousands of years. In many cities around the world, vendors of specialty products still tend to cluster tightly in one place. One might think that it would create more competition. However, there are examples all over the world that prove it is a good idea:

North American Farmer’s Markets

Most people have passed a farmer’s roadside stand and visited a weekend Farmer’s market. The roadside stand is easier to set up and can stay open longer, but the weekend market draws far more customers.

The sales volume from the weekend market’s larger customer base more than offsets any losses from greater price competition. The same farmers show up weekend after weekend and often get to know the same customers.

Mexico City Lighting District

Most cities outside North America are older and more congested. People walk more and use transit, so they don’t like to travel as far to shop. Staple goods (groceries, pharmacies, etc.) are scattered around the city, but stores that sell a given specialized item (auto parts, sporting goods, cameras, etc.) tend to cluster together in one area.

If customers know they want to buy something specific, they can go straight to the district that specializes in it. Any searching will be concentrated in a small area where they will likely find whatever they want.

Bangkok Auto Parts District

Sellers of high value items often take the destination idea to international extremes. Most people have heard of the New York diamond district or the Paris fashion district. This photo shows the “gold street” in Istanbul’s 550 year old Grand Bazaar. There are literally hundreds of stores selling nearly identical gold jewelry. How does this work?

The key is that it is so well known and so big that all the tourists flock to see it … and buy souvenirs. When locals go there, their family has probably been buying from one or two trusted merchants for years, maybe even generations. For the tourists, it saves traipsing all over the city. For the locals, it means they have a long-term relationship with a trusted seller.

Canadian grain farmers can’t