Our First Cohort of Senior Remote Inspectors

Posted on November 23, 2020

Certified Naturally Grown's peer-review certification model is attractive to many farmers. Not because it’s easier - it actually can be a real logistical challenge. Rather, peer reviews actively foster valuable knowledge exchange and mutually supportive farmer networks. 

We have been exploring ways to boost the inherent value of our peer inspections, all while streamlining the process of identifying an appropriate inspector and navigating the logistical challenges posed by the COVID-19 epidemic.

Today we’re pleased to announce one outcome of this effort - CNG’s first cohort of Senior Remote Inspectors (SRIs). 

As the name might suggest, Senior Remote Inspectors are chosen because of their experience with conducting inspections - both remotely and in person - as well as for their farming history. Please join us in congratulating them. We are proud to have their participation! 

CNG's Senior Remote Inspectors - Inaugural Cohort

  • Chuck Rutherford, Rutherford Farm, AR
  • Andrew Linker, Humble Vine Farm, GA
  • Liz Visser, Blandford Nature Center, MI
  • John Ward, Ward Vegetables, MI
  • David Harris, Star School Market Garden, MI
  • Denise Hayes, Hayes Farm, MI
  • Enrique Hernandez, Summer Solstice Farm, NJ
  • Stanley Chepaitis, Uncle Henry's Garden, PA
  • Christopher Peterson, AOVS Urban Farm, TN
  • Janet Aardema and Dan Gagnon, Broadfork Farm, VA
  • Ted Ballweg, Savory Accents, WI
  • Michelle Cannon, Larryville Gardens, WI

Senior Remote Inspectors will prioritize inspections for two groups of farmers: 

  1. Those whose last inspection was at least 14 months ago, and are therefore at risk of losing their CNG status, and 
  2. Those new to CNG who are in the process of obtaining certification for the first time and are having difficulty arranging an in-person inspection.  

SRIs agree to be available to conduct multiple inspections per year. In exchange, SRIs enjoy the opportunity to connect with CNG farmers throughout North America, to significantly strengthen our grassroots initiative, and to receive a reduction or full waiver of their certification dues. SRIs have an enhanced listing on the CNG website so that members who are qualified to receive a remote inspection can easily identify an appropriate SRI - one with the same certification type. For full details on the expectations and benefits of being an SRI, review the SRI Overview page.

This initial cohort of Senior Remote Inspectors - a bakers dozen - is just the beginning. An additional 23 CNG members are in the process of qualifying to be an SRI. If you are an experienced CNG farmer and have conducted inspections for at least two different farms, we encourage you to apply. Find out how at the bottom of our SRI Overview page.

The SRI initiative is designed to achieve several goals at once:

  • Boost learning by pairing experienced CNG producers with those just getting started for their first inspection/s
  • Enabling members to overcome logistical challenges with completing the on-farm inspection requirement. The logistical challenges are typically due to either:
    • a remote location,
    • a lack of appropriate CNG peer-inspectors nearby, especially due to rules against trading inspections and repeating inspectors, and/or
    • a need to avoid the risk of COVID-19 infection. 

For background on remote inspections, see our August blog post Peer Inspections in a Pandemic. All remote inspections must be conducted according to CNG’s Remote Inspection Policy.

A Big Thank You!

Development of the SRI program was made possible with support from the Peer Inspection Impact Fund. Last December many members of our grassroots community generously established this fund in order “to help coordinate efficient inspections for busy farmers and maximize the learning that takes place once they happen”. Our grassroots community continues to build this fund with monthly and one-time contributions.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed. Your generosity powers improvements that help CNG to better serve the farmers at the heart of the good food movement!

Peer_Impact_Thanks.png