By Suzannah Schneider, Communications Manager and Certification Coordinator
A highly selective group of farmers markets in this country have made a conscious effort to recognize and prefer the farmer vendors who verify their growing practices with a certification. Certified Naturally Grown is extending our work by actively recognizing and promoting these markets for their role in going the extra mile to help build a more sustainable food system by encouraging ecological practices.
Specifically, we vet these markets to confirm they qualify, and then feature them in our three-tiered Guide to Exceptional Markets (GEMs).
We're proud to promote qualified GEMs markets around the country - including these five newly-listed markets in Alaska, Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Find a listing of all the GEMs markets here!
Does your neighborhood market feature certified vendors? If there's at least one CNG farmer, let us know! We would be delighted if it qualifies and will happily add it to our GEMs listing.
Just click the button below to #PitchYourMarket!
Ft. Wayne, Indiana
We love this market not only because they give preference to produce and livestock farmers who are Certified Naturally Grown, but because they are also the second Exceptional market in the state of Indiana. Plus, their cousin market across the St. Marys River, 3 Rivers Food Co-op Natural Grocery & Deli, is also a Tier 2 GEM. The cherry on top? This market has just been selected by Greater Fort Wayne Inc. as one of the top five small businesses the metro chamber alliance represents!
Though Georgia boasts the most CNG farms and GEMs markets than anywhere else in the country, the majority of this concentration is in the northern part of the state. Waygreen Local Fare Market is certainly doing its part to help fill the southern half of Georgia with CNG pride: this market actively assists farmers with the CNG certification process through hands-on paperwork support, as well as a fund dedicated to helping farmers with our annual dues. The market became a GEM just as soon as their first farm became certified, showing an unstoppable enthusiasm for Certified Naturally Grown!
This market is bolstered by Waygreen, a local non-profit whose mission is to improve the health of their community through accessible food and food education.
Boone, North Carolina
These Tier 1 GEMs both operate through Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, but they serve their communities in different ways: High Country Food Hub is a year-round online market offering customized pickup on Wednesday afternoons, while the King Street Farmers' Market serves as a seasonal farmers market on Tuesday afternoons and evenings. The Food Hub also features vendors from multiple states to showcase a full spectrum of regional flavors.
Fresh produce? In Alaska? Well, of course!
The Homer Farmers Market is the first Exceptional Market in this big state - though there are two independent grocers listed in our GEMs Directory: Panhandle Produce in Juneau and Salt and Soil Marketplace in Southeast Alaska. It's especially important to support local growers in this state, given the extremely limited growing season and somewhat remote location. Homer Farmers Market makes it easy - and tasty - for Alaskans to get involved in their local food systems.
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Hub City Farmers Market is a non-profit committed to increasing the supply, demand, and access of healthy and local food for all. HCFM is also the very first Exceptional Market in South Carolina! This market offers a weekly producer-only Farmers Market, a Mobile Market, an Urban Farm, a Community Garden, and (believe it or not) much more. Hub City Farmers Market sets a high bar for other GEMs in South Carolina!