CNG 101: All Videos Are Live!

By Suzannah Schneider, Communications Manager and Certification Coordinator

In early 2019, we announced a brand new video resource called CNG 101. CNG 101 is a series of lessons that cover the basics of meeting Certified Naturally Grown production standards for produce operations. Our educational videos are available online, on demand, and free of charge.

Today, we are proud to share that all eight CNG 101 videos are now live!

Click here to access CNG 101 training videos!

Our fresh trainings cover the following topics:
  • Soil Management

  • Weed Management

  • Vegetable Pest Management

  • Vegetable Disease Management

  • Seeds, Planting Stock, and Variety Selection

  • Environmental Protections and Preventing Contaminants

  • Crop Rotation

  • Cover Crops

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Moscow Food Co-op Helps Certified Naturally Grown Grow!

By Suzannah Schneider, Communications Manager and Certification Coordinator

Alternative Organic Co-op Giant Pumpkin
Mary and the Giant Pumpkin

Moscow Food Co-op is not only part of our Guide to Exceptional Markets (GEMs), but they're a Business Ally of CNG, too! 

This Idaho co-op is a GEM because they clearly indicate which vendors or products are CNG-certified in its 46 year-old organization. If you're a local shopper, you'll notice CNG stickers on produce grown by local CNG farms!

We are really looking forward to having a presence at Moscow Food Co-op's annual Farmer Mixer this fall, where the co-op's farmer vendors are invited to come together and learn from one another.

As a Business Ally, Moscow Food Co-op has made a financial contribution to our grassroots organization to help keep CNG affordable for direct-market farmers. 

We wish we lived closer so we could swing by their exceptional deli hot food bar daily for lunch! Meantime, we spoke with Moscow Food Co-op's Market Manager, Alycia Rock, to learn about the co-op's rich history and how CNG makes a difference for both its vendors and eaters.

We are proud to have such a strong connection with this Exceptional Market!

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Hot Off The Press: Our Latest Newsletter About Certified Naturally Grown Farmers

By Suzannah Schneider, Communications Manager and Certification Coordinator

CNG Alternative Organic Certification Newsletter 2

We're proud to announce that we just sent out the second edition of our print newsletter, Growing Above and Beyond! Read on for a sneak peek of the articles, and learn how to snag your very own copy.

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Dispelling Myths about Transitional Status

By Suzannah Schneider, Communications Manager and Certification Coordinator

Rose Creek Grass Fed Cattle
The Pastures of Rose Creek, Watkinsville, GA

Here at Certified Naturally Grown, we’re different than other certifying bodies in quite a few ways. Not only do we use a peer-review approach for our grassroots certification, but we also have a different perspective on Transitional Status for farms where synthetic inputs may have been used in the past. 

With Certified Naturally Grown, farmers don’t have to wait three full years after the last known use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, or prohibited beekeeping treatments before applying to Certified Naturally Grown.

As soon as a farmer or beekeeper is able to commit to CNG standards, they can pursue certification.

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AgSquared Helps Certified Naturally Grown Grow!

By Suzannah Schneider, Communications Manager and Certification Coordinator

AgSquared Organic Farm Software

AgSquared is a farm management software company created by researchers who have dedicated their careers to making it easier to run a farm well.

Founders Jeff and Giulia were ahead of their time when their platform launched in 2011: they were working in cloud-based technology well before our tech lives all migrated up into the sky!

Since then, it's become an invaluable tool for farms all over the country. We spoke with co-founder Jeff Froikin-Gordon to learn what's new at AgSquared, how their tool helps CNG farms stay organized, and what's on the horizon for this multi-faceted platform.

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Maple Producers of Certified Naturally Grown

By Suzannah Schneider, Communications Manager and Certification Coordinator

Missouri Maple
Hart|Beet Farm, Eolia, MO

This time of year, we're celebrating maple sugaring season! Peaceful sugar bushes, a roaring fire, billowing steam. Plastic tubing, and the aroma of maple wafting through the air. At the end of it all: a perfect topping for a stack of pillowy pancakes.

Maple sap flows freely when temperatures are above freezing during the day, and below freezing at night. This usually takes place from the months of February through April throughout the Northeast down south to Tennessee and on west to Minnesota. Homesteaders, outdoor enthusiasts, farmers, and waffle aficionados alike can all get involved to savor this sweet process that comes with the changing seasons. 

Did you know Certified Naturally Grown certifies maple as part of our Produce Certification? Just like our other certifications, we require that maple producers use absolutely no synthetic chemicals in production. But we also ensure that maple producers are using the best practices to preserve the health of the trees.

For instance, producers must use taps that are no larger than 5/16" in diameter. They must also minimize the number of taps based on the circumference of the tree to avoid stunting future growth. Additionally, sap harvested from this wild crop must not come from trees surrounded by all-too-common dumps in the woods, or abandoned cars that are leaking oil.

You can learn more specifics about our maple requirements on our supplemental inspection form for maple producers.

Certifying your maple can help you gain access to better markets, earning your hard work a spot on shelves of local grocers and co-ops, for example. 

Read on to learn about some of our Certified Naturally Grown maple producers. Just like produce or livestock operations around the country, there's room for all at the sticky maple syrup table.

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Earth Tools Helps Certified Naturally Grown Grow!

By Suzannah Schneider, Communications Manager and Certification Coordinator

Organic Alternative Sustainable Farm Tools

Earth Tools was one of our first Business Allies, and an enthusiastic one, at that!

The Kentucky company is currently the only full-time power equipment dealership in the USA dedicated solely to walk-behind tractors. Plus, Earth Tools is currently the largest walk-behind tractor dealership in North America!

In fact, founder Joel Dufour has been selling and servicing walk-behind tractors since 1977. We caught up with him to learn more about the mission and history of his company, as well as what Certified Naturally Grown means to him.

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The Story of CNG's Logo

By Suzannah Schneider, Communications Manager and Certification Coordinator

In the early 2000s, Certified Naturally Grown was just a twinkle in the eye of some innovating Hudson Valley farmers. But as Ron and Kate Khosla created an alternative to the National Organic Program's certification, they soon realized they'd need a recognizable logo for their brand new grassroots certification. 

Enter Cecilia Garvin, a member of the Khoslas' CSA and the creator of CNG's vibrant logo.

We caught up with Cecilia after all these years to learn about her inspiration for the imagery that's helped our certification take flight since 2002. Read on to find out what her creation means to her today, and to check out her most recent work.

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The Fertrell Company Helps Certified Naturally Grown Grow!

By Suzannah Schneider, Communications Manager and Certification Coordinator

Organic Fertilizer

The Fertrell Company is one of the oldest organic fertilizer manufacturers in the United States, and a proud Certified Naturally Grown Business Ally!

The company has come a long way since it began in John Johnson's Maryland garage. We spoke with Casey Trinkaus, Marketing Manager, to learn more about Fertrell's rich past and commitment to sustainable agriculture and forward-thinking business structure.

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CNG Leader Reappointed to Committee of the World's Organic Umbrella Organization

By Suzannah Schneider, Communications Manager and Certification Coordinator

Organic Global Agriculture
IFOAM participants Chris May (New Zealand), Joelle Katto-Angrighetto (Germany), Konrad Hauptfleisch (South Africa), CNG's Alice Varon, and Mathew John (India) at a gathering preceding the IFOAM General Assembly in South Korea, October 2011.

Did you know Certified Naturally Grown's peer-review inspection model is part of a much larger worldwide movement?

CNG is a participatory guarantee system (PGS), in which community stakeholders are active participants, and inspections are typically carried out by other farmers. The PGS model promotes knowledge sharing about best practices and fosters valuable local networks that strengthen the farming community. As a matter of principle, and to encourage participation and growth of the organic movement, the PGS approach minimizes paperwork and keeps certification dues affordable.

PGS are actively recognized and embraced by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, or IFOAM-Organics International. We are proud to announce that CNG's Executive Director, Alice Varon, has been reappointed as the North American representative on IFOAM's PGS Committee!

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