Certified Naturally Grown's Response to the “Only Organic” Campaign
We applaud the overall spirit of the new video campaign by Organic Voices taking aim at the misuse of “Natural” by processed food manufacturers. The Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) community is very concerned about how this word is used to peddle processed foods packed with genetically modified ingredients (GMO’s) and synthetic additives.
However, we can’t embrace the exclusionary and false conclusion of the Organic Voices video, nor will we join them in conceding yet another valuable word to big agribusiness.
It’s NOT Only Organic
It is simply not true, as the video claims, that the USDA Organic label is the only way people can be sure their food is grown without synthetic pesticides or GMOs. The Organic label is an important and valuable tool for consumers. But organic is not the only game in town.
Certified Naturally Grown has existed for twelve years, just as long as the National Organic Program. There are approximately 750 farmers nationwide who are Certified Naturally Grown today. Thousands more have applied for certification and many of these participated at some time in the past. Certified Naturally Grown farmers are committed to working in harmony with nature to produce food for their local communities. To become CNG certified, their production practices must comply with strict, transparent certification standards.
Certified Naturally Grown means:
- no genetically modified organisms,
- no toxic pesticides, and
- no growth hormones or antibiotics
And Certified Naturally Grown also means:
- The food is produced on a local farm with direct community ties
- It is real food, from the soil, not from a factory
- The food does not come from a corporate conglomerate
We meaningfully and proudly use the word natural to describe the food produced on Certified Naturally Grown farms.
Organic Voices claims “Millions of people are fooled by the word ‘Natural’ because ‘Natural’ doesn’t mean natural.” We are not fooled. And we have faith in people’s ability to detect false advertising and embrace the true meaning of natural. Let’s not concede yet another word to industrial agribusiness.
The organic movement is bigger than the USDA label. To keep it vibrant we must feed it at the grassroots. CNG does exactly this. Please join us. Help us Reclaim Natural. We believe in real food, grown without toxic pesticides or GMOs. We believe in family-scale farms and the power of local networks to re-build our food system. And we believe that a food label is only as strong as the community behind it. You may join us by becoming a Friend of CNG or, if you’re a farmer, by completing an application for certification online.
The organic packaged food brands represented by Organic Voices – Annie’s Homegrown, Earthbound Farm, Stonyfield, Organic Valley, Late July – are just one part of our diverse and growing movement. Their fight is to protect organic food brands against GMO-friendly competitors in the processed food arena. Our focus at Certified Naturally Grown is on building community-based agriculture that protects our soil and water for future generations. Despite our different goals, we must remain undivided by terminology or territorial concerns and work together to hold our common ground.
Please join us. Reclaim Natural!
Alice Varon, Executive Director
Bob Redmond, Urban Bee Company, Board Chair
Elizabeth Weller, The Amazing Heart Farm, Board Secretary
Tripp Eldridge, White Oak Pastures, Board Treasurer
Christina Hylton, Athens Land Trust, Board member
Certified Naturally Grown
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Affiliations (other than Certified Naturally Grown) are listed for identification purpose only.
The following 160 endorsers have signed on to this letter as of March 4, 2014.
Buddi Barnett Thompson
Laura Barron McCook
Anne Marie Caristi
Linda L. Correia
Linda L. Davis
Lisa Donoho Bailey
Kim Griffith Brown
Leslie Hodges Lawson
Patrick Lenhoff Anita
Michelle Lindsey Taylor
Kristie Manhardt Lawler
John Peter McGrath
Marcee Murray King
K. Rashid Nuri
Stacy Peyakov, Wynola Flats
Dixie Lee Scott-Starks
Katie Shively MacGregor
Rex Smith, Harmony Hollow Apiaries
Corinna Smith Garmon
Jack Spruill, Spruill Farm Conservation Project
Amy Lynne Tucker
Jessica Tucker Rahe
Michele Woodward Gillman
A Mystical Farm
Five Elements Farm
Who Cooks For You Farm
Asbury Vilage Farm
Bountiful Harvest Farms
Cooper Kettle Farm
One Woman Farm
Wisconsin Natural Gourmet Garlic
Providence Acres Farm