Steel Wheel Farm, Ryan and Kim, WA

Kim_Ryan.jpgIt's not uncommon for kids to be fascinated by tractors. They're pretty cool. But for Ryan Lichttenegger, his interest in tractors was no fleeting boyhood amusement.

You could say that a love of tractors, and one tractor in particular named Olive, were a big part of how Ryan and his wife Kim got to be where they are -- the owners and operators of Steel Wheel Farm located in Fall City, Washington.

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When Organic Laws Don't Include PGS


(This article was written for the Global PGS Newsletter of IFOAM, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements by Alice Varon, Executive Director of Certified Naturally Grown. Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) are locally focused quality assurance systems. They certify producers based on active participation of stakeholders and are built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange.)

pgs_proud_to_be_part_1-170x150.jpgRecent developments in the United States may serve as a cautionary tale for leaders seeking to formalize the organic certification process in their own countries. When the use of the word “organic” is regulated by law, and requires third-party certification without allowing for a PGS model, it can complicate and even hurt the organic movement.

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Aquaponics Certification in Development

aqua-cycle_cartoon.jpgAt a certain point last year we couldn't help but notice a rise in the number of people contacting CNG, wondering if we would certify their aquaponics* operation. They'd always argue that we should. After all, they'd say, we don't use any chemicals because if we did, the fish would die! Following about the nineteenth such inquiry, we decided it was time to look into this increasingly popular method of food-production. Is aquaponics really sustainable? Does this kind of agriculture fit into the values and commitments of CNG?  

(*What's aquaponics? See bottom of this post.) 

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A Gathering of the Farmers: Photos!

DSC01117.jpegOur first ever Gathering of the Farmers was a big success. We've been dying to show you the photos for weeks now, but it's been such a busy spring (we bet that's something you can identify with!), it's taken us a few weeks to get them online.

Here's a little taste of An Agricultural Revival, CNG-style!

(Photo by Diane Elsom)

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180 Degree Farm, Scott and Nicole, GA

Crop_Mob_Family_Picture_-small.jpgThe amazing work of Scott and Nicole Tyson at 180 Degree Farm grew out of a very personal hardship. Their son was diagnosed with cancer at just 4 years old.

They decided they wanted to grow healthy food not just for their family, but for their whole community. Since starting the farm in 2009, Scott and Nicole have developed a partnership with the nearby Cancer Centers of America, regularly distribute food to church groups and food banks, and educate people on the connection between health and the foods we eat.  

A beautiful family with a beautiful story!

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Spring(!) Newsletter - 2014

Collage_for_Blog.jpgAre you as ready for spring as we are? 

This winter we've been busy reviewing a wave of new applications, connecting with new and old friends at winter conferences, and organizing our first-ever regional event: A Gathering of the Farmers. Read on to get the skinny.

Here's to another rewarding year of growth and community-building together. As always, feel free to get in touch with your ideas and feedback. We love to hear from you! 



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Who Cooks for You Farm, Chris & Aeros, PA

Who Cooks For You Farm FamilyChris Brittenburg and Aeros Lillstrom Brittenburg found their way to farming through a shared love of the outdoors and good food. They've come a long way since their first season - Who Cooks for You is now in its fifth year!

In that time, they've learned some important lessons, and are committed to staying open to the many more nature has to teach with each new season. We're grateful that they found time - in between the seeding, bed prep, and child-chasing - to answer some of our questions. 

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A Gathering of the Farmers - Welcome Address by Alice Varon

gathering_flyer_front.jpgA Gathering of the Farmers
An Agricultural Revival
March 8, 2014
Wilson College, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

It’s a real treat to be with all of you today. I spend a lot of hours thinking about CNG’s work – how we can do more for our members and have a greater impact. Most of these hours I spend alone, or with one other person. And sometimes that gets old. But there also are those brilliant moments when I see that I’m really not alone. I get a note from someone who tells me how much they value being a part of CNG, or shares how much they learned when they had their annual farm inspection. 

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Grassroots Family Farm, Monique & Jesse, PA

PA.Grassroots.Monique_Cow.jpgIn a manner of speaking, Jesse Mattern's interest in farming sprouted from the soil. Monique Blais' passion for farming was sparked through a passion for good food.

They met in the middle, and haven't looked back. Bit by bit, they've been building their farm dream in central Pennsylvania, and growing their family. Their 3-month old son is the newest addition to the farm team at Grassroots Family Farm!


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Spreading Oaks Farm, Ken & Patti Cook, GA

GA.SpreadingOaks.Field2.jpgThe weather is a perpetual source of joy and heartbreak for farmers - there's nothing better than the rain watering in seeds for you, but there is nothing worse than late frost killing half of your precious tomato seedlings.

Farmers Ken and Patti Cook, and their son Jason, are no strangers to the trials and travails that the can weather bring. For the folks at Spreading Oaks Farm in Dallas, Georgia (just west of Atlanta), it's the incredible support of their customers that keeps them going in the face of the ice and snow and storms and blazing sun.

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