Technical Lead / Mentor Overview

This is still a new idea in development. Here below is what we have as of December 17, 2019.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Technical Leads will set examples of high-quality inspections and be paired with Observers, including new-to-CNG farmers who haven’t yet conducted an inspection.
  • They will be asked to conduct inspections for members who would benefit from the guidance of more experienced producers.
  • They will be expected to conduct at least two inspections per year
  • They will be invited to participate in peer-learning opportunities with other CNG Technical Leads/Mentors.
  • They may be asked to serve on a review panel and help assess qualifications of others to serve as Technical Leads.

Perks

In addition to the distinction of being an esteemed member of the CNG community, qualified Technical Leads will likely receive the following:

  • A special badge of recognition on their farm's listing on the CNG website,
  • A CNG gift card of $50 -$100 that can be used on anything (including dues) in the CNG store, 
  • Potential option to receive additional gift cards with extra engagement,
  • A physical sign for the farmers market or farm stand,
  • Special offers or gifts from our Business Allies
  • Priority consideration when CNG is hiring farmer-trainers,
  • Recognition via press release, blog post, and/or social media, and 
  • Other perks TBD.

How to Apply

  • Login to your certification account with your email and password.
  • At your farm's dashboard, on the left, click the 3rd link down to "Submit New Application for Certification". 
  • Under "Choose New Applications" select the checkbox for Mentor Application, at the bottom.
  • Fill in your answers, submit, then drop a note to alice at naturallygrown.org if you have any feedback. 

Who Qualifies

In our initial group of Technical Leads, we are seeking farmers who:

  • Have been certified for at least four years,
  • Are in good standing with certification requirements,
  • Have passed quizzes to assess understanding of CNG Produce standards,
  • Have conducted at least four inspections, of at least three different farms, and 
  • Have received recommendations from fellow farmers.

The Name

The name for this new role is still in flux. We started using Technical Lead, but another name might be more fitting. These others have been suggested:

  • Technical Lead
  • CNG Mentor
  • Master Farmer
  • CNG Advisor

Your Input

If you have feedback on any of this - the Name, the Qualifications, The Perks or the Responsibilities - you’re encouraged to share it on our questionnaire here

Background

The idea of Technical Leads emerged as part of our conversation about “Inspections 2.0” in late 2017.  Since then, there have been a few developments: 

  1. Based on many group discussions among CNG farmers, we have decided against the proposals in Idea #1: moving toward a point-based evaluation system. Instead, we have re-formatted our Produce inspection worksheets to provide more guidance on the variety of practices that farmers could adopt as they work to improve and advance their operations, without prescribing or giving generic preference to particular practices, given the many different considerations for individual farms. 
  2. We continue to explore 
    1. Including community stakeholders as Observers to the inspection process
    2. How to increase the educational value of inspections
  3. CNG was awarded a 3-year grant from the Farmers Market Promotion Program to pursue these and other initiatives that will strengthen the value of CNG certification for the farmers who choose to participate.