Certified Naturally Grown (CNG)
An alternative to organic.
Farmers in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley developed the Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) label in 2002 as an alternative to the USDA’s National Organic Program, the cost of which often is prohibitive to small-scale farmers. Foods that carry the label have been grown according to organic standards, and other farmers in the network do annual inspections to ensure that standards are being met. (At these visits, farmers also share tips about how to handle challenges, such as pests.) About 600 farms in 46 states belong to the CNG network: you’ll likely find their food at farmers’ markets and in CSA boxes, as most members distribute only to local markets.
By Jennifer Zeigler