It brings me great satisfaction to celebrate 20 years of Certified Naturally Grown. Many small businesses and non-profits don’t make it past their third birthday. Please join our celebrations with the activities on our anniversary page after reading this short reflection.
Twenty years is a full generation. And it shows. Many of the up-and-coming farmers we hear from learned by apprenticing with a CNG producer. Experience working on multiple CNG farms is not uncommon.
In the early days, CNG farmers liked what we were not – expensive, bureaucratic, compromised, paperwork-intensive. They mainly wanted an alternative certification. But as we’ve grown, farmers are increasingly drawn to CNG because of _what we are_ – farmer-driven, grassroots, focused on continuous improvement and movement-building.
Farming is both knowledge-intensive and isolating. Building on our peer-review model, we have created new opportunities to connect and learn. We foster the sharing of hard-earned know-how in a variety of ways: short films, discussion series, and Remote Observed Inspections, to name a few. CNG helps producers tap the experience of like-minded farmers both in local and regional communities, as well as throughout North America.
Our collective success has come in the face of great challenges: the constant downward price pressure of big ag, extreme weather, and a pandemic. More challenges are on the horizon, and we’ll weather them too. We have demonstrated what’s possible when people work together to create something new – whether it’s an organization, a farming enterprise, or educational programs. It takes grit, the support and encouragement of peers, and the faith that somehow it’s all worth it.
Together with you, it surely will be. Thanks for being a part of CNG. Here’s to another 20 years of growing stronger as a community.