Certified Naturally Grown Produce Label

by Catherine Haug, October 29, 2011

If you sell produce at local farmers markets, and use organic methods to grow them, listen up.

Earlier this week, the produce manager at Bigfork Harvest Foods mentioned he buys from several small local growers that use organic methods but are not Organic certified (such as Loon Lake Gardens), and he wished there were an easier certification for them.

My response: There IS! It’s called Certified Naturally Grown (or CNG). I wrote about this last year (Natural vs Organic), but it is worth discussing again.

Why this label is important

The CNG label is a certification available to local growers who use Organic methods but don’t want to incur the high fees and paperwork required for true Organic certification.  

Apart from this new label, there are no rules for using ‘natural’ in reference to food. A food may be labeled ‘natural’ but contain many unnatural ingredients such as preservatives, or be contaminated with chemicals like pesticides and herbicides. Check out this 4 minute video from the Cornucopia Institute: Cereal Crimes: Natural vs Organic Cereal.

But when it bears the CNG label, you can be assured it is truly naturally grown.

For more on this label, see NaturallyGrown.org, From the Food Label Decoder:

“The Certified Naturally Grown label is used on items produced on smaller farms that grow using USDA Certified Organic methods and sell locally; it’s like USDA Certified Organic Lite. This non-profit labeling program does away with the high cost of certification and the mountains of paperwork required to track crops from seed to sale in order to be labeled USDA Certified Organic. Small-scale farmers that use this eco-friendly label do so to emphasize the natural farming methods used to grow your food.”

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