Making Sense of Organizations, Agencies, & Companies that Certify Organic Food

February 15, 2017 by Organic Restaurants Staff Writers

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No.1: Certified Naturally Grown

Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) is a grassroots alternative agency, based out of New York, that works with small farmers who supply local restaurants, farmer’s markets, and other neighborhood venues with naturally-grown products. They use the stringent rules of the USDA’s National Organic Program, but they aren’t affiliated with the USDA. Their services attract small farmers who simply cannot afford to be certified “USDA Organic,” but who greatly value clean soil and sustainable practices. These same farmers were proponents of the USDA’s organic labeling program, and still support the ideals from which it emerged. However, the cost is too prohibitive for them.

CNG is proud to use a farmer-to-farmer approach, in which farmers help each other regulate their practices and are able to give each other advice and suggestions on how to best follow organic methods. Farmers in the program must agree to inspect at least one other farm. They are required to fill out a form that gives information about what they have observed and this is available for public access on the internet.