New Film About Peer Inspections


We are delighted to share one of our newest creations, featuring Kat Johnson and two other farmers in the CNG community. Kat has been farming for 17 years, and joined CNG staff as Certification Specialist last spring. Having spent the prior four years farming at one, then another CNG operation, she already felt like part of the CNG family. Plus she was featured in three of the short educational videos we produced last year. So we tapped her talents again for our latest film, "What to Expect When You're Inspecting".

Why did we make this film? Here's how Kat describes it: 

The farmer-to-farmer inspection process is absolutely the best part of CNG certification because of the way it creates community and upholds our integrity as growers. But if you haven't done it before, it might feel scary because you don't know what to expect, or maybe you fear finding a violation. Hopefully the video will show our new members how inspections can simply be an open dialogue between two farmers that is guided by the worksheets. Usually they have a lot more value than just fulfilling an annual requirement. 

All in all, opening up your farm to the annual inspection requirement is far less demanding and nerve wracking than you might think - especially compared to typical USDA organic inspections. Unlike those, during a CNG peer-review, the inspector can offer advice, lessons learned, community resources and lasting relationships. 



Introducing Remote Observed Inspections (ROI)

Pumpkin Patch at ShireFolk FarmFarmers appreciate CNG's annual peer-review process as an opportunity to meet and learn from others, but it can be a little intimidating for newer members. Plus it can take some practice and coaching in order to do it well.

So this fall we tested out a new idea - Remote Observed Inspections (ROI)to see if we could achieve two goals at once:

  • Help new CNG members to "learn the ropes" of the CNG inspection process
  • Increase dramatically the number of new members we're able to pair with experienced farmers for CNG inspections

Much to our delight this idea has overachieved! 

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Boot Camp South is a Wrap!

Boot Camp South

Our inaugural course of CNG Boot Camp South concluded in October. This series of five weekly sessions is built on the format of our Film SEEDs winter course, but with new elements, and tailored to farmers from the Southeastern United States.

Sessions were hosted by Chad Gard of Hole in the Woods Farm - CNG since 2010 - and enhanced with the experience of farmer-teachers Brad Stufflebeam of Home Sweet Farm in Brenham, TX and Nobie Muhl of Good Samaritan Urban Farm in Atlanta, GA. More than 20 farmers participated from the Southeast, and many gained a great appreciation for the knowledge and generosity of the other members in our community - teachers and participants alike.

With CNG Boot Camp, participants could volunteer to be in the "Hot Seat" for a session, where they would describe a farming challenge and/or pose questions to the farmer teachers. In one session Cash of Alpha Omega Veteran Services Urban Farm in Memphis, TN was our Hot Seat Hero. She asked for advice on how to get better results trying to grow carrots in her particular soil and farming conditions. Nobie and Brad are listening intently here in the picture, but they gave some great advice!
Hot Seat Discussion

The course covered the following topics

  • Soil Management 
  • Weed Management & Bed Preparation 
  • Pest and Disease Management 
  • Seed Selection & Transplants 
  • Peer Review Inspections 

We intend to continue to develop this dynamic online peer-to-peer learning approach with new cohorts and topics.

Does this sound like something you'd like to do? Register your interest here.



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Summer News 🍅 56 New CNG Farms


Congratulations to These 56 Newly-Certified Farmers and Beekeepers

We are delighted to announce the most recent crop of Certified Naturally Grown producers who have met all the requirements for certification since April! They are listed below alphabetically by state and province. 

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CNG Boot Camp: Hold Your Spot

We are pleased to announce the launch of our latest educational initiative: CNG Boot Camp. This course is designed specifically to support Certified Naturally Grown farmers in understanding best practices for vegetable production, while fostering valuable connections with other like-minded producers.

We will offer the course multiple times, and to different cohorts of about 25 farmers each. Cohorts will be defined as much as possible according to geographic region, growing zone, experience and scale, to help maximize valuable networking and focused learning with peers who share similar experiences. Boot Camp will be held online, in five weekly 90-minute sessions. 

Our first course will be offered to farmers in the Southeast, and begins mid-September. Southern farmers hold your spot here if you're farming in the South and would like to be notified when registration opens.

If you'd like to participate in another Boot Camp cohort, register your interest here.

Five weekly sessions will cover the following topics:

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Welcome to CNG's New Member Services Coordinator!

We're delighted to announce the addition of Cathy Joly to team CNG as our new Member Services Coordinator. Cathy works from her home office in rural New Hampshire, and fills the position formerly held by Jenna Sabers. Jenna will remain with CNG on a part time basis as she enters graduate school.

We'll miss having Jenna's exceptional competence in this central role, but we are very excited to have Cathy joining us. She brings a breadth of experience, and we can't wait to tap into her knowledge.

Read on to learn more about Cathy and the skills she brings to our team.

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A Big Welcome to CNG's 3 New Board Members!

We are thrilled to announce three new board members joining our grassroots team! They bring with them a true breadth of experience from all over the country. Join us in welcoming Christopher Peterson (Tennessee), Audrey Sekendur (Illinois), and Laurie Wayne (California).

Read on to learn more about Chris, Audrey, and Laurie!

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Spring News from Your Grassroots Certification 🌱

Congratulations to These 72 Newly-Certified Farmers and Beekeepers

We are delighted to announce the most recent crop of Certified Naturally Grown producers who have met all the requirements for certification since October! They are listed below alphabetically by state and province. 

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Film SEEDs Success

This winter we launched Film SEEDs, A Farmer Learning Collaborative. Now that this series of six weekly sessions is complete, we wanted to share some participant feedback, and announce we intend to continue and evolve this dynamic online peer-to-peer learning approach.

For fun you can watch the trailer we made for our inaugural series. 

Film SEEDs was an ambitious project involving several elements:

  • the creation of nine short educational films,
  • five lessons on core topics in CNG production practices, and
  • a dozen experienced CNG farmers who were featured in the "expert exchange" discussions and/or in the films
  • CNG farmers throughout our North American network, plus those who joined via partner organizations. 

Participants really appreciated this new initiative. Here's some feedback we received:

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Real Food Grown Right T-Shirts

Is your wardrobe ready for summer weather? We are here to help with the re-launch of our t-shirt campaign!

Step out in style at the farmers market. Place your order today!

Our campaign ends April 19, then production begins. Shirts will be delivered April 28 - May 7th. 

These shirt were hand-designed by Aly Miller and come in five colors.

All proceeds benefit Certified Naturally Grown. Why not get one for each member of your farm crew or family? Thanks in advance for your support!

Photo of Jenna, CNG's Program Manager, in snowy Rochester, NY where April 1 brought even more snow. She hopes to wear the shirt without the jacket soon!