Alice Varon, Executive Director
Alice Varon is Executive Director of Certified Naturally Grown. CNG offers peer-review certification for farmers and beekeepers who produce food for their local communities without the use of synthetic chemicals and GMOs. In 2010 Alice helped launch CNG's apiary program to support and encourage natural beekeeping. More recently she worked with experts to develop new CNG certification programs for aquaponics and mushroom producers. She is an active member of IFOAM-Organics International, serving as the North American representative on IFOAM's PGS Committee, a group formed to support the development of grassroots certification programs like CNG that are built on trust, social networks and knowledge exchange. When not working, Alice enjoys exploring the woods and mountain biking in New York's Hudson Valley where she grows Shiitake mushrooms on logs, battles invasive plants, and will someday resume her beekeeping hobby.
Keegan Athey, Outreach Coordinator
Keegan is a long time farmer, river guide, and desert rat. With more than ten years of experience in organic agriculture, she has pulled calves, carrots, muscles, and weeds on farms and ranches throughout the Mountain West. After years of running CNG farms in Idaho, Keegan shifted out of production agriculture and into a research associate position at the Colorado State University Organic Agriculture Research Station. Keegan lives in Hotchkiss, Colorado where she spends her free time running rivers, climbing, and taking apart vehicles with her partner, Andy.
Kat Johnson, Certification Specialist
Kat Johnson is a farmer living in Floyd, Virginia. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and discovered an interest in farming in high school. She has worked for six organic and CNG farms over the past 17 years. Her love of farming is based on a love of food, creative work, and a gravitation toward clean and lean processes. This year she is launching her own salad-centric farm and food company called Kat The Farmer. In the off season she works as a farm consultant, writes a blog, and contributes to farming publications. At CNG, Kat's role is to review the hundreds of new applications we receive each year and to help create educational material for farmers.
Jenna Sabers, Program Manager
Jenna is a native of Rochester, New York where she returned after a brief stint in Brooklyn. Before joining Certified Naturally Grown, she worked a full season at Phillies Bridge Farm Project in New Paltz, NY, where she developed a deep appreciation for sustainable agriculture and the hard work that farmers endure. Jenna is the main point of contact for farmers working to earn and maintain their farm's CNG certification. She aims to build upon her experiences with agriculture to engage with issues of food justice and help build a more sustainable agriculture landscape.
Chad Gard, Education Coordinator
Chad and his wife, Xenia Czifrik, founded Hole in the Woods Farm, an exceptionally diverse, 35 acre, regenerative, Certified Naturally Grown farm located in Culver, Indiana, in 2010. There, he grows over 450 varieties of vegetables, as well as rare fruits, native nuts, and microgreens. He also raises 100% grass-fed lamb, alpacas, geese, and honeybees. Always working towards providing a full diet of authentic food, Chad bakes rustic artisan breads and hand-makes fine chocolates for market. Chad actively supports his local food movement, acting as a mentor to beginning farmers, serving as market master of the Culver Farmers’ Market, and instigating what has become the Marshall County Food Council.