What does Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) mean?
Blue Gate Farm is a proud member of Certified Naturally Grown,
or CNG, a non-profit alternative eco-labeling program for small
farms that grow using USDA Organic methods but are not a part of the USDA
Certified Organic program.
CNG was created to provide farmers with an inspection-based,
nationally recognized label that is endorsed by National Environmental Groups,
Health Organizations, Agriculture Groups, Farmer's Markets and Universities and
well publicized in the National and Local Media.
CNG farmers are required to adhere to the same strict Organic
Agricultural Practices and materials list published by the USDA National Organic
Program. As an independent program NOT accredited or in any way affiliated with
the USDA National Organic Program, CNG farmers are exempt from the fees and
paperwork requirements associated with USDA Certified Organic.
The USDA program requires an enormous amount of record
keeping for diversified farms - a paper trail of everything that happens from
seed to sale. While this is appropriate for large farms that grow only a few types of
vegetables and sell in bulk to chain stores or big processing plants
it has proven excessive and largely irrelevant for diversified small farms that
may grow upwards of 200 varieties of vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruits and
then sell them directly to consumers right in their own neighborhood.
Every CNG farm is physically inspected at least once per
year. Unlike the USDA program, scans of each farm's application, affidavit
and inspector reports are available on-line for any member of the public to
review. This maintains total transparency in the certification process.
The CNG label is available to farms primarily distributing locally
and directly, through Farmer's Markets, Farm Stands, Community Supported
Agriculture (CSA) projects, local restaurants, co-ops, small grocery stores or through
other direct sales channels such as the internet.
Please visit the Certified
Naturally Grown website for more detailed information about, and Blue Gate Farm's
participation in, the CNG program.