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A small family farm in the Happy Valley community of Caldwell County produces fruit and vegetables on a little more than one acre of land.

Mike and Sara Hedge cultivated their interest in farming while living in Florida.

“We started off growing microgreens in our apartment in South Florida,” Sara said. “And tried to launch a little farm business, indoor operation and then quickly felt unsatisfied. Because I don’t particularly find enjoyment in just eating microgreens. I want a varied diet.”

During the first six months, while they got the farm started, the Hedges lived out of a campervan. They later moved into a duplex at the Patterson School Foundation. Last year, they purchased a house in Happy Valley, Mike said.

Eventually, the couple began leasing space at the Ripshin Goat Dairy, Mike said, where the couple has another roughly half-acre plot of crops, a greenhouse, two walk-in coolers for storing freshly picked crops and a work area for cleaning and packing produce.

“When we started farming over at Patterson, we started with hard red clay,” Mike said. “There’s lots of nutrients in red clay but it has to be softened up to use it. We added organic OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) listed compost and we added earthworms. We actually went out and bought earthworms and put them in there.”

As Mike walked between each of the 50-foot-long beds, he pointed out the various crops. Mike would occasionally stop to pick a leftover tomato or strawberry to eat. Mike said they don’t spray chemicals, such as pesticides or herbicides, on their plants.

“It’s a philosophical choice we have made for the integrity of our farm,” Sara said. “It’s caused a lot of heartache sometimes when things get eaten up, but I don’t want to sacrifice my health.”

The Farmers’ Almanac defines microgreens as, “a variety of vegetables and herbs that are harvested at the first or during the early leafing stage.”

In 2020, the Hedges left Florida in search of land. The couple settled in North Carolina. They began leasing and farming a half-acre plot of land at the Patterson School Foundation along N.C. Highway 268 in Caldwell County.

As a form of pest control, the Hedges release beneficial insects into the soil, which attract natural predators, such as wasps. The wasps, Mike said, will also eat harmful insects.

The Hedge Family Farm is a certified naturally grown farm, meaning everything used to grow crops is organic. Instead of using chemical fertilizers, the Hedges turn harvest leftovers into compost and use other natural resources such as alfalfa meal and minerals.

“The Certified Naturally Grown (organization) is like a peer review inspection system,” Mike said. “That allows me to go and inspect another farm. And then, every year my farm gets inspected by somebody in the Certified Naturally Grown network.”

The Hedges have roughly 100 beds. The majority are covered by plastic caterpillar tunnels. The space between each bed is just wide enough to walk through. Sara said this is a key way to utilize their limited space.

Almost every bed has a different fruit or vegetable growing in it. The Hedges’ produce varies from garden staples such as salad greens, carrots, onions and tomatoes to exotic and native crops such as pawpaws, passion fruit and Hawaiian ginger. Mike said each year they try to grow something new.

Most of the tomato and strawberry plants were barren because the harvest season is nearing an end. The Hedges use a high rotation gardening method.

“Every bed changes throughout the year, three or four times,” Mike said. “(Also) Where I had tomatoes last year, I’m going to plant something totally different this year like cucumbers.”

This year’s harvest yielded roughly 150 pounds of potatoes and 150-200 pounds of tomatoes each week, Mike said. During peak strawberry season, the Hedges would bring around 100 pints of strawberries to the Hickory Farmers Market and sell out within the first hour.

Every Monday, the couple harvests crops for restaurant customers. On Fridays, they harvest for the Hickory Farmers Market.

In preparation for the next year, the rows get covered in silage tarps as the Hedges finish using the beds. This allows the leftover plants and leaves to be eaten by worms, which adds nutrients back into the soil. When the Hedges are ready to plant again the next year, the tarps are removed to reveal a healthy bed with minimal weeds, Mike said.

The couple first started selling their produce at the Hickory Downtown Farmers Market in September of 2020. The farm has a stand at the farmers market nearly every Saturday. The Hedges started selling to restaurants earlier this year.

Sara said the farm sells to about 10 restaurants that change their menus seasonally. One of the restaurants is the Happy Valley Filling Station, which is about a mile away from the farm.

Sara said the farm sold $90,000 worth of produce last year. They plan to exceed that amount this year, she added. Mike said about 60% of the produce is sold to individuals at the market and 40% is wholesale purchases.

Some of their most popular items at market are fingerling potatoes, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, onions and carrots. The fingerling potatoes sell for $4 per pound. The onions are $3 per pound. Carrots are $5 per bunch. The cherry tomatoes and strawberries sell for $5 per pint.

Read the article at Hickory Daily Record.

CNG Farm School is the home of our educational offerings, created to help you become a better farmer. Taught by experienced farmers and agricultural technicians, these courses are curated each year based on trending topics among sustainable growers. Register today!

Winter 2023/24 Lineup

Our November-December series will focus on the business of farming — equipping you with practical tools to support, grow, and streamline your farm enterprise.

Orientation to Scaling Up for Wholesale Production – November 13

Farmers market competition getting you down? Interested in mechanizing or focusing on just a few crops? Wholesale production can be a great option for many farms, but requires consideration in some key areas. This FREE orientation will help you decide if wholesale’s right for you and what you need to get started.

Practical Marketing for Busy Farmers – November 27

Cranking out the produce, but struggling to sell all the bounty? Social media have you scratching your head? Join CNG Marketing Coordinator and farmer Erin Worrall as she takes you through how to build your brand and develop efficient, effective marketing strategies.

Recordkeeping Like A Pro – December 4

The backbone of every business, good records help us apply all the things we learn each season to make our future seasons even better. Master recordkeeper and successful farmer, Kat Johnson, will share her myriad strategies, systems, and tools for in-the-moment notetaking, number crunching, and enterprise tracking.

Data-Driven Decision Making – December 11

Often the trickiest part of any recordkeeping system isn’t the taking of the records, but the doing something with the records. In this unique course, we’ll help you take your records and turn them into action. Should you invest in that new tractor or a second employee? How long will that fancy new prophouse take to pay for itself? Bring your questions and we’ll have fun with data!

Our February series will shift focus back to foundational principals of crop management, helping you develop strategies for a more productive and sustainable farm operation.

Producing Your Own Fertility Inputs — February 5

Inflation hasn’t skipped the organic fertilizer world and farmers are looking for ways to reduce those rising input costs. Close your farm system a little bit more and make your own inputs. Through the techniques of Korean Natural Farming, JADAM, and other methods, farmers can learn to use locally available resources to create inputs that nourish their crops.

Maximizing Yield with Interplanting — February 12

Farmers recognize the indigenous wisdom of the three sisters: corn, beans, and squash, but interplanting techniques need not be limited to these three crops. Grow basil under your tomatoes or lettuce with your radishes. More yield per square foot and happier plants to boot. Pairing the right crops together is important, but planting timing is even more crucial. Dig into these details and more in this unique, practical class.

Leveling Up On-Farm Compost — February 19

Is composting an art or a science? It’s both! Learn how to develop an effective composting system for your scale and get the tricks of the trade from compost pros. Compost can be a farm’s most valuable resource—ensure you’re making the best compost you can, as efficiently as possible.

Cover Crops for Fertility, Weed Suppression, and More — February 26

There’s so much more to cover cropping than simply organic matter addition. Weed suppression, erosion prevention, nitrogen fixation, salt uptake, forage production, water retention and more can all be possible with the right cover crop mix. We’ll talk cover crop species and mixes, but also jump into the in-field aspect of cover cropping, including seeding methods, rates, and timing.

More information, including speaker announcements and registration information coming in October. Meanwhile, register here.

Interested in sponsoring a Farm School Course? Contact erin@naturallygrown.org

Compost is a key input for many CNG farms, helping farmers improve their soil structure, fertility, tilth, organic matter levels, microbiology, and overall health. The benefits are many, but so are the challenges. From understanding CNG’s in-depth compost standards to the myriad issues farmers face when sourcing or making their own compost, farmers have their work cut out for them. Let’s see if we can clear up the standards confusion and highlight some best practices, so that we can ensure that we’re all responsibly able to utilize the organic matter around us to support our soils.

We’ll start with the basics—so what is the difference between compost and manure? Compost is organic material that has been biologically broken down (decayed) into a relatively homogenous, stable soil amendment. It’s essentially the process of creating soil humus. Manure is, well, poop—digested organic material that has not yet decayed or broken down. Aged manure is not compost, it is simply manure that has sat in a pile for a while, off-gassed some ammonia, and begun to partially break down. Compost is not defined by how long material sits, it is based on environmental conditions that the adept composter carefully manages, including: moisture, oxygen, carbon to nitrogen ratio, and temperature.

Farmers have some choices when it comes to applying compost or manure and there are several important considerations for each. Farmers can:

  • source compliant compost from a reputable source,
  • set up their own compost system,
  • or forget about compost and just apply manure.

Whether purchasing finished compost or composting on the farm, folks should pay close attention to the CNG compost rules.

Compost

CNG’s compost standards are based on National Organic Program (NOP), EPA, and FDA guidelines for food safety. If a farmer wants to apply farm-produced compost that includes manure, they’ll need to monitor the initial C:N ratio, take temperature readings, and turn the pile often to ensure that their compost is properly finished. If they can’t meet the compost requirements, the compost must be considered raw manure and applied using the 90/120 “manure rule” or applied only to non-produce crops (hay, landscape, pasture, cover crop, etc.).

CNG Compost standard for manure-based compost

205.203. Soil fertility and crop nutrient management practice standard
(i) established an initial C:N ratio of between 25:1 and 40:1; and
(ii) maintained a temperature of between 131 F and 170 F for 3 days using an in-vessel or static aerated pile system
(iii) maintained a temperature of between 131F and 170F for 15 days using a windrow composting system, during which period, the materials must be turned a minimum of five times.

Lots of CNG farmers definitely struggle to meet these requirements or have alternative compost systems that don’t quite fit into the standards. This is understandable, but for food safety and consumer transparency reasons, CNG (and the NOP) require compliance with these standards. Also, in order to comply with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule farmers need to adhere to the same standards.

Many folks choose to apply their homemade compost using the 90/120 rule or only apply it to their landscape, hay fields, etc. since they struggle to meet the standards. Then they purchase a compliant, finished compost for their produce compost needs.

The other option for on-farm composters is to keep any animal materials out of their compost, so no chicken bedding, bones, manure, etc. (Eggshells are ok). Plant-based compost does not pose a significant food safety risk and is not regulated by the standards.

Farmers sourcing compost need to ensure that the compost they’re buying is properly composted (i.e. following the compost standard) and doesn’t contain prohibited additives or ingredients. Just a phone call or email to your compost supplier should do the trick.

Manure

When applying manure use the 90/120 “manure rule.” Apply (i.e. spread on the field, not left sitting in a pile) manure at least 120 days before harvest for crops on the soil surface (greens, un-trellised tomatoes, strawberries, etc.) and at least 90 days before harvest for crops not in contact with the soil (trellised tomatoes, corn, apples, etc.). When in doubt, go with 120 days. 

Applying manure in the fall is often the easiest way to adhere to the 90/120 rule, but can cause some issues if managed improperly. All farmers should have strategies in place to prevent nutrient runoff, but take special care if you live in an area with significant winter precipitation, have a sloping property, or farm near waterways. A great way to combat winter runoff and leaching is to apply your manure (or compost) and then plant a fall cover crop right into it. The cover crop will stabilize the soil and take up any available nutrients vulnerable to runoff and save them for you. Let’s keep our hard-earned nutrients in the soil and out of our waterways!

FAQs

  • Does my compost have to contain only manure from organic/naturally grown animals or food scraps from all-organic crops?
    • We get this question a lot! In short, No. Compost is compost, providing it does not contain added synthetic fertilizers or other additives. You should, of course, pay attention to what goes into your compost pile, but you don’t need to ensure that every single egg shell, carrot peel or cow pat was from an organic source. Make use of the organic matter you have and let the power of composting do the rest! Just make sure you’re composting properly and pay special attention to hay, straw, and manure that could contain persistent herbicides like clopyralids. These do not break down well, even in the composting process, and can cause serious issues for veggie growers.
  • Are biosolids or humanure allowed?
    • No. Human waste, treated or not, is prohibited to be used in any way on a CNG farm. Municipal compost does sometimes contain biosolids, so be sure to ask your municipality specifically.
  • Is mushroom compost allowed? What about worm compost?
    • Absolutely! Both fungi and worms are incredible digesters/composters and do a way better job creating awesome compost than your average backyard pile. These types of compost are so high quality that they’re often used in potting mix and soil blocks.
  • Does my purchased compost need to be OMRI-listed?
    • No. OMRI-listed compost is awesome, but not widely available in farm-scale amounts, especially in rural areas. Look for suppliers who are paying attention to C:N ratios, turning schedules, temperatures and don’t add any weird stuff like chemical fertilizers. Landscape companies, dairies, chicken houses, and municipalities can all be good places to look for compost. Ask your farmer and gardener friends about their favorite compost sources and try it out before you buy a bunch.
  • Can you use too much compost?
    • Yes, but it depends. Over-applying compost, especially manure-based compost, can cause phosphorus and sodium accumulation in your soils. Keep an eye on your soil tests and get frequent analyses of your compost too. Many farmers who feel that they’ve been applying too much manure-based compost over time, are switching to high carbon compost, often made from mostly wood chips, straw, leaves, and other brown matter, with little to no manure. It’s good to switch it up. Especially if you’re no-till and rely on heavy annual compost applications, change your sources up. Try some dairy compost one year and some high carbon compost the next. Or take a year off and up your cover crop game. You’ll help stave off unwanted salt accumulation and get to nerd out watching how your soil and crops react to different organic material sources.

Resources

The amount of awesome resources out there on composting is boundless, but here are a few of our faves:

Please reach out to the certification specialist with any questions or to add to our compost resource list—we’re here to help!

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As CNG farmers, we all know that seed sourcing matters. Growers must purchase organic or CNG seed unless the variety they need is not available in an organic form, after checking with at least three viable organic seed suppliers. We also know that we need to grow our transplants using organic inputs.

But what about other types of planting stock? Onions? Garlic? Sweet potatoes? Flower bulbs? Perennials? Do these need to be sourced from an organic or CNG supplier too?

In short, YES!

There has been a fair amount of confusion in our community around CNG’s requirements regarding the sourcing of conventional plant material. Hopefully we can clear up some of this confusion here.

Any plant material that a CNG farmer uses that will be marketed as a CNG crop should be obtained from an organic source whenever possible. So the pansies in the front yard of a CNG livestock producer who does not sell flowers can get ’em wherever! But the onion transplants and seed potatoes of a CNG produce farmer, those should be organic.

We’ll go into detail about a few of the most commonly confused crops and then outline some options for growers struggling to find organic sources.

Onions

Onions are annual crops grown from transplants or seed. Therefore, like all annual transplants, onion plants must be purchased from an organic or verified naturally grown source.

Hot tip—if you’re not sure if a plant or seed is organic based on the company’s website (i.e. it doesn’t clearly say “organic”) the plant or seed is very likely conventional. Companies work hard to source organic plant materials and get to charge more, so they are motivated to label their products accordingly. If you’re not sure, ask!

Onion transplants are different from onion sets which are tiny, cured onion bulbs that were grown out the previous year. Very few commercial growers use onions sets as the variety selection is very limited and suppliers are few and far between. CNG does have an exception for growers planting true onion seta—they are covered under the seed standard.

Most CNG and organic farmers choose to grow their onion transplants from seed since sourcing organic plants can be difficult and pricy. Large-scale growers in some areas even direct seed their onions.

Garlic, Potatoes, and More

Garlic and seed potatoes are considered seed and therefore covered under the CNG seed standard. (Remember how we were saying earlier that everyone knows the seed standard)? Well, here’s a recap.

  1. No GMOs ever.
  2. No chemically-treated seeds.
  3. Seed (and other crops covered under the seed standard) must be CNG, organic, or confirmed naturally grown whenever they are commercially available. So if you check with at least three major seed sources and still can’t find the variety you need, you can use conventionally grown seed.

These rules apply to regular seeds, plus these crops when they are grown as annuals: seed potatoes, sweet potato slips, day-neutral strawberry slips, ginger, turmeric, garlic and flower bulbs.

Garlic and seed potatoes should be pretty straightforward to find naturally grown, depending on your scale. If you are using conventional garlic seed or seed potatoes, you probably can find an organic source, even if you have to pay extra for shipping.

Sorry, cost is not a justification for using conventional plant material. We want to be supported as producers of CNG crops, so it’s important for us to support organic seed growers too! These folks are breeding and selecting their seed crops in organic conditions, which can make a big difference in the resiliency, yield, uniformity, and even flavor of your crops.

Happily, you can save your own seed, garlic, seed potatoes, etc., saving money and selecting for the traits you want on your farm.

Dahlias tubers are getting easier to find organically as well, so look around! For more details on flower bulb sourcing and other tips, flower farmers should check out our Considerations for Flower Growers page.

Perennials

Sourcing naturally grown plants for perennial crops (including flowers, herbs, fruit trees, berries, etc.) can be very challenging and even impossible in some cases. Therefore CNG and the NOP (National Organic Program) allow growers to source conventional perennial plants if a naturally grown source cannot be found. Growers using conventional perennial plants should document the other suppliers they checked with, just like in a seed search.

The caveat is that the conventional perennial plants cannot be represented or sold as a CNG crop until a year from the planting date. So the CNG farmer needs to grow the plants out and manage them according to CNG guidelines for at least a year before selling them as CNG.

For a great story about a CNG farmer who turned her plant-sourcing snafu into an awesome learning experience for both fellow farmers and customers, check out Kat the Farmer’s blog, “An Herb Debacle.”

Labeling

What can I do if I can’t find (or don’t want to pay for) organic/CNG planting stock?

Ideally, all the products produced on your farm should be included in your CNG certification, but this is not always possible. The most common way to deal with this issue is to exclude the crop or product from certification. This is a relatively common practice especially for:

  • flower growers who are sourcing lots of perennial transplants that may start producing within the first year;
  • livestock producers who certify their broilers, but not their hogs due to livestock sourcing issues;
  • produce growers who need to use treated seed for their sweet corn;
  • or larger scale, multi-enterprise operations (e.g. a vineyard with lavender fields, sheep, and cut flowers).

The key here is clear labeling. Any crops excluded from certification must be labeled as “not CNG” when marketed. Some growers just have a chalkboard at market that they write any products that are not CNG. For example: “This week, all the flowers in your bouquet are CNG, except the foxgloves.” Folks online marketing or selling wholesale can communicate this on their websites or through marketing emails. The important thing is that farms are being transparent with their customers, and labeling is the ticket!

Resources

The crew at CNG realizes that these are tricky, sticky issues and that it can be confusing to navigate the standards and discover appropriate plant material sources. We are here to help! Please reach out to the certification specialist by email or use the contact form below.

Though this is by no means a complete list, we’ve included a couple of the most common suppliers of organic planting stock for some of the trickier crops. For a list of seed suppliers, visit our Seed Suppliers page.

Here are a few sources we like:

Ginger & turmeric: Biker Dude Puna Organics, Kolokai Organic Farm

Seed potatoes: Wood Prairie Family Farm, Mythic Farm, Grand Teton Organics, Nature’s Circle Farm, Sprout Mountain Farms

Onions and other annual transplants: Banner Greenhouse,  Windcrest Organics, Sunbelt Transplants

Perennial transplants: Hillcrest Nursery

Strawberries: Peaceful Valley, Innovative Organic Nursery

Garlic: Your favorite organic seed company, contact a CNG garlic farmer, Keene Organic Garlic

We are working on creating a more complete list of suppliers to add to our website, so please send your favorite sources our way!

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Ed Fraser is a Certified Naturally Grown member farmer. He operates Fraser’s Garlic Farm in Churchville, New York. Since 1993, Fraser’s Garlic Farm has been providing several varieties of high-quality, safe, nutrient rich, naturally-grown garlic to gardeners, farmers’ markets, CSA’s, restaurants and seed companies throughout the U.S.

Hey Garlic Lovers! After a fairly dry spring, we were able to irrigate our garlic which helped greatly to keep it healthy and size up the bulbs. The hay mulch we use kept the moisture in until the rains began in June. We are very proud of this incredibly beautiful crop.

If you have planted some Softneck Garlic, you need to look and see that at least 50% of it has fallen over and is laying on the ground. Then you know that your softneck garlic is ready to harvest. As you can see from the picture, my Inchelium is mature and ready to be dug. I plan to begin harvesting my softneck on Saturday!

Starting around July 4th weekend I start pulling hardneck garlic to check for maturity. I cut a cross section of the garlic – in the picture on the left, the cloves have not begun to separate from the stem, meaning that the garlic is still immature. I will wait another three days and then check again. When I begin to see that air space is visible between the cloves and stem, as in the picture on the right, I know that the garlic should be harvested in the next five days.

We hope that everyone has a bountiful and successful harvest this year!

Be sure to visit www.frasergarlic.com for more tips, or to order your 2024 season garlic!

In the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, four farmers have joined forces to provide their communities with locally grown fresh flowers. Their ranks include Susanna Thornton of Thornfield Farm and Amanda Green of Yonderyear Farm, both Certified Naturally Grown farmers with a passion for sustainable flower production. These women lent us a moment of their time during peak growing season to share about the exciting benefits they’ve witnessed in collaborating with likeminded growers.

“The Blue Ridge Flower Exchange was born from the idea that a collective of experienced growers working together can provide high quality, beautiful blooms, sustainably produced, and consistently available to meet the flower needs of our growing designer, florist, and wholesale community.”

Excerpt from the Blue Ridge Flower Exchange website

CNG: First let’s get the flyover! Who is the Blue Ridge Flower Exchange, and how did you come to be?

Amanda: I’m going to let Susanna answer this one – BRFE is her brainchild! BUT I will say she had formal training with Rooted this winter about beginning a regional flower collective on their sales platform. We actually had the chance to meet and for her to invite me to participate in BRFE when she came to Yonderyear do our CNG inspection in March. In-person site inspections really do connect farmers and open up opportunities! 

Susanna: Ashleigh from Petal and Pail mulled over the dream of a collective for almost a year. We farm near each other and we’re always looking for better ways to sell flowers together. I learned about Rooted Farmers from another grower in the Charlottesville area and went to their conference on collectives in the winter of 2022 where it really became clear that pulling growers together to sell together is the way to go! 

CNG: What are some of your favorite things about working together as a partnership?

Amanda: That we can help each other fill in the gaps. We all have design deliverables throughout the season, and it’s really helpful to be able to purchase from one another when we need more of a certain flower or color. It’s also invaluable to have encouragement and troubleshooting right at our fingertips! 

Susanna: Yes, what she said :) 

CNG: In what ways has this collaboration enhanced your own farm businesses?

Amanda: It’s so great to have BRFE working toward the same goal – getting customers excited about local, seasonal flowers! With a group of farmers, we can reach a greater audience and spread the message about our products and why they’re a fresher, healthier, more sustainable choice than flowers shipped internationally. 

Susanna: BRFE has opened doors to the floral industry that I just didn’t have access to and wasn’t prepared to manage on my own. As a group I feel much stronger and more confident that we have enough great product to meet the needs of much bigger buyers. 

CNG: What are your dreams for the future of Blue Ridge Flower Exchange? 

Amanda: To have focal flower availability for clients in every week of sales from late March- October…we can dream, right? 

Susanna: To be the go-to wholesale outlet for every within a 100 miles – now that’s a dream Amanda!

CNG: How could you see this collaborative model changing farming around the country if others chose to work together as you are?

Amanda: It’s so empowering for small-scale operations. Collectives give us a stronger voice and greater exposure, as I mentioned. If we want to be an alternative to larger farming operations, banding together is a way to offer a local product consistently, (if in keeping with the seasons) and over time amass a loyal following. 

Susanna: Collectives can be a total game-changer for the supply chain. If all the small growers in every region banded together the power in numbers would final be competitive with national and global agribusiness!

The Blue Ridge Flower Exchange consists of Thornfield Farm, Yonderyear Farm, Petal and Pail, and Lark and Sky Farms.
Learn more at www.blueridgeflowerexchange.com/ or follow their journey on Instagram.

You work hard to grow food, care for employees, run you business, and so much more! But when it comes to marketing your products, sometimes navigating social media can feel overwhelming. Between the changing demands of algorithms, trending songs and hashtags, and the burden of taking great photos or videos in the field… we understand that content creation is not for everyone.

Let us help you tell your story with engaging social media content!

We are dedicated to using our social media presence to share the stories of CNG farmers and help you communicate the ideals and importance of your sustainable growing practices. We’ve launched several new content initiatives to provide a variety of post styles and themes to connect with the various audiences our farmers hope to reach. And we want to hear from you!

Let us know what message you hope to see on our social media platforms! By making posts that you can simply share or repost, we hope to help you put down the phone and get back out where you want to be: in the field (or maybe in bed. Naps are great too!).

Recent video features of CNG farmers:

Educational posts you can share with customers:

Just for fun!

Hope to be featured in CNG content?

  1. Tag us @cngfarming on your Instagram and Facebook posts, and use #cngproud and #certifiednaturallygrown hashtags.
  2. Fill out this form to tell us about the exciting things you have to share on your farm!

Certified Naturally Grown joined forces with a broad coalition of farmers and farming organizations from across the country to converge in Washington DC in early March to call for a Farm Bill that prioritizes farmer resilience in the face of climate change. 

The three days of action began with an opening and reception at the stately Luther Place Memorial Church, where an impressive lineup of farmers detailed the challenges they and their communities have faced. Among them was CNG member Temitope (Tope) Fajingbesi, co-owner, with her husband Olaniyi (Niyi) Balogun, of Dodo Farms in Maryland. She spoke of the need for policies that would make farming a more financially sustainable occupation. She expressed gratitude for a land match program run by Montgomery County which connects landowners with farmers, but noted how difficult it has been to find additional land that would allow for their farm’s expansion. 

The headline event was the Rally for Resilience on the second day, featuring compelling speeches and musical performances. Farm Aid arranged for performances by John Cougar Mellencamp, Shirlette Ammons, and Lil Idli from the stage, and a special guest performance via video from Willie Nelson. The rally and music was followed by a spirited march to the Capitol building. On day three, delegations of farmers from dozens of organizations met with their members of Congress.

The events of these three days happened thanks to the strong leadership of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), and Farm Aid. But that was only the beginning; the work continues – and intensifies – to ensure the next Farm Bill will provide meaningful support to ecological farmers, and enable them to build resilience in the face of extreme weather and other impacts of climate change. 

Sign up to Take Action with NSAC and keep up the pressure for a farm bill that invests in ecological farming practices that can make agriculture part of the solution.

And for fun, and more photos, check out some of the news articles written about these events at the links below:

We are so excited to announce the launch of the newly-rebuilt Certified Naturally Grown website.

Certified Naturally Grown farmers can create and personalize their farm profile on the website. Because this is a completely new platform, all farmers will need to reset their passwords in order to access their accounts. Instructions are available below in both text and video format.

If you still need help after completing the instructions, please use our tech support contact form.

 

Instructions:

Reset Your Password

    1. Navigate to the CNG site login page.
    2. Click lost password below the login form and enter the email you originally used to create your CNG account.
    3. Complete the lost password steps: an email will be sent to you with a password reset link in it. (If you don’t see the email, make sure to check your spam folder). Click that link to reset your password on the site.
    4. Once you’ve reset your password, login again with your new password.

Personalize your farm profile 

    1. Now that you’re logged in, you’ll see “Dashboard” in the top menu. This will take you to to your awesome new CNG dashboard interface!
    2. From here you’ll be able to edit your profile, submit a declaration, pay dues, and eventually view your applications. For today’s purposes: on the far right with the orange location pin icon, locate your farm name linked in the bottom of the text under “Farm or Apiary Profile” and click the link.
    3. Click the orange Edit button on the top of the profile.
    4. In the “Farm Information” section, write to your heart’s content, focusing especially on Description*. When you’re finished, click Next.
    5. Upload any desired photos, paying attention to the maximum file size. Make sure to click “save changes.”
    6. That’s it! Be sure to share your profile with customers and link to it from your farm’s website and social media. This is where they can come to validate your certification and how locals can find you from our searchable map!

 

Like the soil beneath us forms the foundation for a healthy growing plant, so do crop management practices determine the success or failings of your farm.

Join a class of peers around the country who share your ambition for a thriving ecological farm.

Led by an accomplished team of seasoned farmers and agricultural technicians, this four-part series will dig into the crucial components of crop management.

Enrollment includes:

  • 2 hours of live instruction each week
  • Custom pre-class assignments to introduce new principles
  • Optional quizzes to test your knowledge
  • Lifelong access to all resources provided, including 8 short films and corresponding notes

Learn more about our instructors and key learning objectives for each session below:

Series sponsored by

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