(Brooklyn, NY, June 13, 2016) Growers of specialty mushrooms are filling an important niche in local and regional food systems. As of this month, mushroom growers can now promote the fruits of their labor with a new mushroom certification program by Certified Naturally Grown (CNG). Mushrooms are appreciated by home cooks and chefs for their ability to add distinct flavors and nutrients. Farmers are drawn to them as an excellent way to diversify their crops and stand out at the farmers market.
"Growing mushrooms is very different than growing plants, so a distinct set of standards, tailored for mushroom production, was developed for this new program" explains Alice Varon, Executive Director of Certified Naturally Grown. "We noticed an increase in the number of farmers applying for CNG certification who were growing mushrooms, and that our produce standards - which were developed for soil-based plant production - didn't adequately address most aspects of mushroom cultivation. We are delighted to offer the first certification program developed specifically for this unique crop." Details about the mushroom program, including the standards and the members of the Mushroom Advisory Council who helped develop them, are available at CNGfarming.org/mushrooms.
Tradd Cotter, author of Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation, says "Mushrooms have great potential to heal people and the planet. CNG's new certification program will help guide mushroom growers toward best practices and enhance the positive impact of kingdom fungi."
This new program will complement the certification programs CNG currently offers for produce and livestock farmers, beekeepers, and aquaponics producers. "Mushroom growers can now assure customers they're committed to maintaining high standards for ecological production by participating in CNG's mushroom certification program" says John Michelotti of Catskill Fungi.
About Certified Naturally Grown
Certified Naturally Grown is a non-profit organization offering peer-review certification to farmers and beekeepers who work in harmony with nature, without synthetic chemicals or genetically engineered seeds, to produce food for their local communities. CNG was founded by farmers in the mid-Hudson Valley of New York in 2002. CNG's certification model - a Participatory Guarantee System - prioritizes transparency and participation while keeping paperwork and costs to a minimum. Today there are more than 750 CNG certified producers in 48 states nationwide. They are all listed at CNGfarming.org/map. Farmers and beekeepers interested in CNG certification may get details on the program requirements and apply online at CNGfarming.org.
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