If you applied for certification between 2011-2018, it was Hannah who walked you through the application process, offering advice and answering questions about CNG standards every step of the way. In fact, she reviewed more than 2,000 applications during her time with CNG! She also helped to draft standards for new CNG certification programs in both aquaponics and mushroom production. More recently she helped to revise our inspection worksheets to provide more guidance on best practices, as part of our Inspections 2.0 initiative.
After serving as our certification specialist for six years, Hannah is leaving CNG to dive deeper into her PhD thesis on the history of natural resources management in Minneapolis. In celebration of our longest-serving staff person (other than our director!), we interviewed Hannah about her experience here at CNG and the aspects of the job that she'll never forget. We won't forget you, either, Hannah! Thanks for all you've done.
How did you first hear about CNG and what were some reasons that you wanted to work with us?
I first heard about CNG as an apprentice working at the Poughkeepsie Farm Project in 2010. I knew that natural practices were at the heart of the farm and I knew that the farm was Certified Naturally Grown, but I didn't know the details of what the certification meant. When a job was open at CNG, it was a perfect opportunity to maintain my connection to farming while continuing to learn.
What were some of your favorite aspects of being our Certification Specialist?
Hands-down my favorite part was getting a window into people's farming practices across the country. I enjoyed corresponding with members about their applications--sometimes they would send maps, photos, or such beautiful descriptions that I felt like I was actually there. I got to hear about the innovative work that farmers were doing on their farms--whether big or small, whether they had livestock or veggies, whether they were selling food for CSA members, school kids, or fancy restaurants--to protect the environment, provide for their families, and serve their communities.
It was also a pleasure to work with co-workers who are passionate about our mission, dedicated to our members, and just all-around extremely kind people.
What was something you really enjoyed working on, and why?
I really loved working on updates to our standards and inspection worksheets. It is fun to do that bigger-picture thinking and get feedback from our members. We're always working to make the program both more rigorous and work better for members at the same time.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you've been studying and researching in Minnesota?
While working towards a PhD in Natural Resources Science and Management, I've worked on research projects studying how public land managers make decisions about vegetation management, public perceptions of flowering bee lawns
, and urban agriculture policy in Minneapolis, from 1900 up until today. The main through line is that it's all focused on how people make decisions abut the environment.
What's next for you?
I'm at a point in the PhD program where it's important for me to really dive in to my own research. So, I'll be using the extra time to comb through archives in the library and interview urban agriculture supporters about their work. Someday down the road, I'd love to teach environmental studies at a college or university, but we'll see what the cards have in store for me!