What is Certified Naturally Grown (CNG)?


The more I attend farmer’s markets in the area, the more I learn about and meet local farmers. I have lived in this area of Indiana most of my life and, somehow, had no idea that many of these farms even existed. As someone who is in support of eating local, I almost feel ashamed. Apparently, there are more benefits to frequenting farm markets than just food…there are amazing people with fabulous stories and lifestyles who would LOVE to meet you and discuss what they do.

This past weekend, I went to the Culver, IN farmer’s market for the first time. There, I met Chad who is the farmer at Hole in the Woods Farm.  We had a great discussion about his farm being Certified Naturally Grown, upcoming farm events and even touched on the loss of bee hives due to our horrible winter. Of course, I couldn’t leave without picking up 2 lbs of yellow wax beans which I immediately canned into dilly beans. When I asked him about organic farming, he handed me a flyer and pointed out that his farm was Certified Naturally Grown (CNG), which has a few differences than a Certified Organic label.

What is Certified Naturally Grown (CNG)?

Certified Naturally Grown offers an alternative to the Certified Organic label. The program is based on teh same organic practices, but CNG is different in several ways.

  • Grassroots: CNG is not affiliated with the US Department of Agriculture or any government agency. Started by farmers in 2002, member participation and support keeps them growing strong.
  • Family Farms: Most farmers who use organic methods choose not to be certified due to concerns about expense and paperwork. CNG offers those farmers a streamlined process and a legal way to describe their products to customers.
  • Movement Building: CNG encourages farmers to adopt natural practices. Their peer-review inspections foster learning opportunities that build farmers’ knowledge base and strengthen the farming community.
  • Local: When you buy from a CNG farmer, you can be confident you’re getting food produced nearby. Organic food from the grocery store may come from another country or continent!
  • Internationally Recognized: CNG is one of the four models of “Participatory Guarantee System” certification supported by the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements and encouraged by the United Nations FAO for tens of thousands of small farmers globally.

Who’s YOUR CNG Farmer?

Certified Naturally Grown strives to move local food production in a more sustainable direction. Everyone can participate in this process by knowing how their food is produced. CNG certification program helps you buy fresh, locally grown food with confidence – confidence that the food on your table is good for your family and the environment.

CNG farmers and ranchers:

  • Do not use synthetic chemical insecticides, herbicides, fungicides or fertilizers
  • Protect our soil, water, and air with crop rotation, cover crops and buffer strips
  • Do not use chemically treated or genetically modified seeds (GMO)
  • Raise free-range livestock on open pasture
  • Use feed grown without GMO seeds or synthetic materials
  • Never use hormones or routine antibiotics on their livestock
  • Maintain open records of farming practices online

Assure yourself of clean food and get to know a farmer today!

(for more info visit www.naturallygrown.org)

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