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Farmers appreciate CNG’s annual peer-review process as an opportunity to meet and learn from others, but it can be a little intimidating for newer members. Plus it can take some practice and coaching in order to do it well.

So we built upon the remote inspections model developed during the pandemic to include Observers. These Remote Observed Inspections (ROI) have helped to achieve two goals at once:

  • Help new CNG members to “learn the ropes” of the CNG inspection process
  • Increase the number of members receiving inspections from our most experienced farmersIn just six weeks, nine ROIs were conducted, including a total of 60 observers. The remote inspections were all carried out by one of our Senior Inspectors (SIs). The newer CNG members who were observing were very glad to get a feel for the inspection process and learn about another CNG farmer’s practices. One observer shared this anonymous feedback:

I thought it was a great way to see another farm that was outside of my inspection region, especially since there are currently few CNG growers in my area. I really enjoyed hearing the thoughts and reactions of the inspector. It will help me conduct better inspections in the future.

But it wasn’t just facts and techniques shared – it was also our approach. Again and again the observers expressed appreciation for the values that were embodied in these ROIs, including:

  • Interest in sharing knowledge and fostering each other’s farming success
  • Emphasis on continuous improvement, and sustainability goals,
  • The transparency that comes with including observers, which is valuable both as a means of ensuring accountability and as a way to strengthen the CNG community
  • CNG”s intention to expand the number of farmers who benefit from a given inspection experience

At the end of our last ROI, another observer reflected:

This is more like a support system; that’s what CNG feels like to me.

Our inaugural course of CNG Boot Camp South concluded in October. This series of five weekly sessions is built on the format of our Film SEEDs winter course, but with new elements, and tailored to farmers from the Southeastern United States.
Sessions were hosted by Chad Gard of Hole in the Woods Farm – CNG since 2010 – and enhanced with the experience of farmer-teachers Brad Stufflebeam of Home Sweet Farm in Brenham, TX and Nobie Muhl of Good Samaritan Urban Farm in Atlanta, GA. More than 20 farmers participated from the Southeast, and many gained a great appreciation for the knowledge and generosity of the other members in our community – teachers and participants alike.
With CNG Boot Camp, participants could volunteer to be in the “Hot Seat” for a session, where they would describe a farming challenge and/or pose questions to the farmer teachers. In one session Cash of Alpha Omega Veteran Services Urban Farm in Memphis, TN was our Hot Seat Hero. She asked for advice on how to get better results trying to grow carrots in her particular soil and farming conditions. Nobie and Brad are listening intently here in the picture, but they gave some great advice!

The course covered the following topics

  • Soil Management 
  • Weed Management & Bed Preparation 
  • Pest and Disease Management 
  • Seed Selection & Transplants 
  • Peer Review Inspections 
    We intend to continue to develop this dynamic online peer-to-peer learning approach with new cohorts and topics.
    Does this sound like something you’d like to do? Register your interest here.

We are very grateful for the generous support of our film sponsors. 
Small Farm Works sponsored Three Ways to Transplant.
Ohio Earth Food and Earth Tools sponsored Bed Preparation.
Want an invitation to sponsor future films? Be sure to register as a Business Ally
Boot Camp South was made possible with funding from the Farmers Market Promotion Program, USDA-AMS. 

Congratulations to These 56 Newly-Certified Farmers and Beekeepers
We are delighted to announce the most recent crop of Certified Naturally Grown producers who have met all the requirements for certification since April! They are listed below alphabetically by state and province. 

Yaqui Hideout, AZ
Owl and Bear Farms, CA
Honey Rock Landing, CO
The Village Farm, CT
Sunset Farm, CT
Sassy Bee Honey, DE
Bey Family Farms, GA
Bread And Butter Farms, GA
Red Ruby Farm, GA
Woodland Wellness, GA
Leo Nani Farms, HI
Ono Gardens, HI
Jupiter Ridge Farm, IA
Hammer Ridge Homestead, ID
Prairie Renaissance Farm, IL
The Table Farm and Workshop, IL
Locally Good, KS
Little Wren Farm Apiary, MA
Queen’s Greens, MA
My Mustard Seed, MD
Splendid Earth Farm, MD
Sunny Hill Growers, MD
Twelve Hands Farm, ME
CBI Giving Tree Farm, MI
Chubb E. Acres Farm, MI
Clear Bottom Lake Farm, MI
HeartBeet Farms, MI
Mayfield Cottage Greens, MI
Songbird Farm, MI
Third Coast Sustainability, MI
Back Yonder Farms, MO
Longpoint Farm, MO
Flower Farm and Cottage, MS
Cedar House Farms, NC
Dr. Buddy’s Bees, NC
Seven Oaks Farm, NC
McLawland Farms, NC
Black Dog Bees & Maple Trees, NHJGI Farms, NJ
Bark Hill Farm, NY
Macedon Center Farm, NY
Wolf Creek Garlic, OH
Hive, LLC, OK
JJ Natural Farm, OK
Phoenix Farms LLC, OK
Brick & Bower OR
Cultivate Farms, OR
Kohlmann Farms, PA
Botanical Bites & Provisions, VA
Shepherd’s Hill Farm, VA
Stallard Road Farm & Botanicals, VA
Tower Hill Farm, VA
Courage to Grow Farms, WA
Early Bird Farm, WA
Avrom Farm, WI
Happy Day Farmhaus, WI

The Latest News

-⠀CNG Boot Camp: Hold Your Spot
-⠀Our 3 New Board Members
-⠀Staff Transition & Addition
Are there any new CNG members near you? Find out with our searchable map of CNG farms

We are pleased to announce the launch of our latest educational initiative: CNG Boot Camp. This course is designed specifically to support Certified Naturally Grown farmers in understanding best practices for vegetable production, while fostering valuable connections with other like-minded producers.
We will offer the course multiple times, and to different cohorts of about 25 farmers each. Cohorts will be defined as much as possible according to geographic region, growing zone, experience and scale, to help maximize valuable networking and focused learning with peers who share similar experiences. Boot Camp will be held online, in five weekly 90-minute sessions. 
Our first course will be offered to farmers in the Southeast, and begins mid-September. Southern farmers hold your spot here if you’re farming in the South and would like to be notified when registration opens.
If you’d like to participate in another Boot Camp cohort, register your interest here.
Five weekly sessions will cover the following topics:

  • Soil Management
  • Weed Management & Bed Preparation
  • Pest and Disease Management
  • Seed Selection & Transplants
  • Peer-review Inspections
    Each course will include the following elements.
    -⠀Short films featuring CNG farmers (to watch in advance of sessions)
    -⠀Live conversations between experienced farmers about how the topic pertains to their farms
  • Overview video lessons for each of the topics (to watch in advance of sessions)
    -⠀Small group discussions where participants can engage with experts and each other
    -⠀Direct support and input on your particular farming challenges
    Register your interest here if you’d like to be invited to participate in a future Boot Camp course.
    Boot Camp will not only boost understanding of best practices for CNG vegetable production. It will also foster valuable peer connections and provide tailored tips for participants’ particular challenges.
    Priority consideration is given to CNG producers, and those in the process of obtaining certification, but others are welcome to join if spots are available. Additional cohorts will be opened in the late fall and throughout the winter months. 

We’re delighted to announce the addition of Cathy Joly to team CNG as our new Member Services Coordinator. Cathy works from her home office in rural New Hampshire, and fills the position formerly held by Jenna Sabers. Jenna will remain with CNG on a part time basis as she enters graduate school.
We’ll miss having Jenna’s exceptional competence in this central role, but we are very excited to have Cathy joining us. She brings a breadth of experience, and we can’t wait to tap into her knowledge.

Read on to learn more about Cathy and the skills she brings to our team.
Cathy is an avid gardener and cook who is passionate about nutritious food and will go to great lengths to support small farms. After leaving the engineering world to homeschool her children, she has thoroughly enjoyed delving into regenerative agriculture, green building, medicinal herbs, raising fiber animals, and working on small produce and dairy farms. Cathy is grateful to reside in Temple, New Hampshire where she serves on the town’s Conservation Commission. She lives in an off-grid strawbale home with her partner and dog.
And one last shout out to Jenna, who didn’t blink when asked to add “t-shirt model” to her long list of responsibilities. We wish her all the best in her new endeavors.

We are thrilled to announce three new board members joining our grassroots team! They bring with them a true breadth of experience from all over the country. Join us in welcoming Christopher Peterson (Tennessee), Audrey Sekendur (Illinois), and Laurie Wayne (California).

Read on to learn more about Chris, Audrey, and Laurie!
Christopher Peterson
AOVS Urban Farm
Christopher Peterson has spent the last 9 years working in sustainable agriculture and food systems development, including small-scale vegetable production, multi-species managed intensive grazing, whole farm management, food policy, and community food systems development. He currently manages AOVS Urban Farm, a regenerative “low-till” vegetable farm in Memphis, TN that works with and for formerly homeless military veterans. He believes farming at its best requires creating systems where production goals can be met alongside management for pollinators, wildlife, native plants, and aesthetic goals. He previously served as Executive Director for GrowMemphis (now a program of Memphis Tilth) and has consulted on various other Mid-south food initiatives. He holds an MA in Human Value and Global Ethics and teaches locally as an adjunct professor in Philosophy and Anthropology.
Audrey Sekendur
Chicago Honey Co-op
Audrey Sekendur is a dedicated stakeholder in Chicago’s local food system. She supports grassroots efforts to build healthful, just, and autonomous foodways in her community. During a three-year period, she worked in finance, operations, and community engagement at Dill Pickle Food Co-op to promote equitable economic relationships, positive environmental impacts, and inclusive practices grounded in co-operative values. As a farmhand at Earnest Earth Farm and Chicago Honey Co-op, a CNG beekeeping co-operative, she helps care for soil organisms, pollinators, and other cohabitators as a holistic strategy to nurture community members. Audrey graduated from Goddard College with a self-designed major in Food Studies and Immigrant Health. Her family immigrated to the United States in the 1950s from their homestead and bakery in Turkey where they thrived off food they grew and prepared in community. She is especially committed to mitigating the negative health outcomes associated with assimilation and the industrialized American diet.
Laurie Wayne
Open Food Network
Laurie left an awesome job in Silicon Valley to become an organic farmer in the high desert of northeastern California. She had no farm training or background, just a suspicion that everything starts and ends with food and integrity. While farming, she started and managed a food hub and farmers market, and co-founded a local food nonprofit in her remote community – these are all still going strong now. In the past few years she has worked to support the regional food system in Central Oregon, working with Extension and other nonprofits. Now she is working to grow the Open Food Network in the US. She believes that the Open Food Network’s values, way of working, and vision for a better world is achievable and worth working towards – as is the vision of Certified Naturally Grown.

Congratulations to These 72 Newly-Certified Farmers and Beekeepers
We are delighted to announce the most recent crop of Certified Naturally Grown producers who have met all the requirements for certification since October! They are listed below alphabetically by state and province. 

Little Halawakee Farm, AL
Red Barn Farm, AR
Smith Ranch, AR
Growing Vertical, AZ
Kern Valley Farms,​ ​CA
Lockewood Acres, CA
van der Kamp Vineyard, CA
Black Sun Farm, CT
Liepold Pond Farm, CT
Tree House Orchard and Farm, CT
Vibrant Farm, CT
Aliff Acres, FL
Blue Head Ranch, FL
Happy Tiger Honey, FL
New Green Organiks, FL
Flora Gothica Farms, GA
Great Greens Microgreens, GA
Little Foot Farm, GA
Nona Farm, GA
Qi Greens, GA
Quercus Farm, GA
Smokey Road Farm, GA
The Pastures of Rose Creek LLC, GA
Love of Life Farm, HI
Four Winds Farm, IA
Star Farm Chicago, IL
Arkenberg Farms, KS
Kelly Homestead Apiary, MA
Honey Moon Farm, MD
Sharp’s at Waterford Farm, MD
BeGreen Microgreens, MI
Lake Michigan Lavender, MI
Stillwind Farm LLC, MI
UP Gourmet, MI
Wandering Winds Farm, MI
Hope Blooms Farm, NC
Ivy and Oak Farm, NC
Kendall’s Garden, NC
Ocean Natural Farm, NC
Redwood Farm, NC
Sweet Betsy Farm, NC
Terra Vita Farm, NC
Tiny Bridge Farm, NC
Winding Stair, NC
Khalsa Family Farms, NM
Button Brook Farm, NS
Gatehouse Greens, NY
Gilded Farms, NY
Shoving Leopard Farm, NY
Nook & Cranny Farm, NY
White Feather Farm, NY
Ellsworth Acres, OH
Prairie Flower Farms, OK
Rare Breed Farms, OK
Zoom Out Mycology, OR
Little Croft Farm, PA
Fungified Farm, LLC, PA
Golden Farms, PA
Humming Hills Farm, LLC, PA
Warwick Furnace Farm, PA
Metanoia Bee Farms, PR
Bird Fork Farm, TN
Freesol Farm, TX
Whole Plate Farm, TX
Jolly Pond Farm, VA
Red Fern Farm, VA
Roots ‘n Shoots, VA
Vanguard Ranch Natural Gourmet, VA
Happy Ranch Farm LLC, WV

The Latest News

Business Ally Updates

Are there any new CNG members near you? Find out with our searchable map of CNG farms

This winter we launched Film SEEDs, A Farmer Learning Collaborative. Now that this series of six weekly sessions is complete, we wanted to share some participant feedback, and announce we intend to continue and evolve this dynamic online peer-to-peer learning approach.
For fun you can watch the trailer we made for our inaugural series. 
Film SEEDs was an ambitious project involving several elements:

  • the creation of nine short educational films,
  • five lessons on core topics in CNG production practices, and
  • a dozen experienced CNG farmers who were featured in the “expert exchange” discussions and/or in the films
  • CNG farmers throughout our North American network, plus those who joined via partner organizations. 
    Participants really appreciated this new initiative. Here’s some feedback we received:
  • It was very helpful to interact with knowledgeable farmers from across the country and hear how their farms are going and how they respond to challenges. 
  • The group breakout rooms really felt like a collaborative effort, like a group of people that know what they’re doing came together to share information and talk shop.
  • I love thinking and talking about soil. Very rich discussion. 
  • The farmer-to-farmer discussion has been very helpful, and the dynamic between farmers was great. I learned a lot of about cover cropping (and especially undersowing) and the importance of an agronomist!
  • The videos were the perfect length and were very organized and informative. I really appreciate the list I was able to make of non-chemical pest management techniques based on the videos and discussion.
    Does this sound like something you’d like to do? You’ll be notified of upcoming offerings if you subscribe to our updates here.
    We are very grateful for the generous support of our film sponsors. 
    Small Farm Works sponsored Three Ways to Transplant.
    Ohio Earth Food and Earth Tools sponsored Bed Preparation.
    Want an invitation to sponsor future films? Be sure to register as a Business Ally
    Film SEEDs was made possible with funding from the Farmers Market Promotion Program, USDA-AMS. 

Video still from “Three Ways to Transplant”
Featuring Shazana Goff, filmed by Steven Merkel, both of Vegetable Power Farm in Germansville, PA

Is your wardrobe ready for summer weather? We are here to help with the re-launch of our t-shirt campaign!
Step out in style at the farmers market. Place your order today!
Our campaign ends April 19, then production begins. Shirts will be delivered April 28 – May 7th. 
These shirt were hand-designed by Aly Miller and come in five colors.
All proceeds benefit Certified Naturally Grown. Why not get one for each member of your farm crew or family? Thanks in advance for your support!
Photo of Jenna, CNG’s Program Manager, in snowy Rochester, NY where April 1 brought even more snow. She hopes to wear the shirt without the jacket soon!

As the growing season is upon us, farmers are focused on production, at last! But at some point every CNG producer needs to arrange for their annual peer-inspection. 
Farmers report gaining a lot from the inspections they give and receive, but we are striving to make them even more valuable, while keeping the process as streamlined as possible. In 2020 we developed an initiative to name highly qualified, experienced CNG producers to serve as Senior Remote Inspectors (SRIs). We announced our first cohort in November. 
Today we’re pleased to announce CNG’s second cohort of SRIs. This group of twelve long-time members includes several who have been with CNG for more than ten years. 
CNG’s Second Cohort of Senior Remote Inspectors
-⠀Clay Brady, Foster Brady Farm, GA
-⠀Sue Rekenthaler, Natural Farm Stand, IL
-⠀Chad Gard, Hole in the Woods Farm, IN
-⠀Tom Farquhar, Sandy Spring Gardens, MD
-⠀Peter Robertson, Natural Cycles Farm, MI
-⠀Tara Lynne Groth, Five Acres Honey Farm, NC
-⠀Rebekah Rice, Nine Mile Farm, NY
-⠀Jennifer Sharpnack, Family Roots Farm, OH
-⠀John Bailey, Woodtrail Graziers, VA
-⠀Robert White, Crickhollow Farm, VA
-⠀Seyra Whitney, Shalom Farms, VA
-⠀Amy Willoughby, Patchwork Family Farm, VA
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. And you can see who was included in our First Cohort of SRIs here.
A Big Thank You!
Development of the SRI program was made possible with support from the Peer Inspection Impact Fund. Thank you to everyone who has contributed. Your gifts power improvements that help CNG to better serve the farmers at the heart of the good food movement!  Photo: @tulsafarmersmarket


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