We just received our 2007 certification for the Certified Naturally Grown (CNG)program. CNG follows standards similar to the USDA’s Certified Organic program but it is a farmer based program with some additions. In addition to the organic standards the CNG standards require humane treatment of animals and that livestock be given access to pasture – exactly how we raise our pastured pigs and other animals. Other watch words of CNG are sustainability as well as supporting and supplying local markets.
Why are we a part of CNG instead of the USDA organic program?
- The USDA program is much more expensive which is a burden for small farmers. For small farmers like us it is hard to justify the high cost of the USDA program which is really oriented towards large producers.
- I don’t particularly appreciate the government having taken over the term Organic which small farmers have been using for decades. By making it difficult and expensive to get Organic Certification and making the use of the term Organic illegal without that certification they have biased the market towards the big producers who have the teams of managers, lawyers and lobbyists to get what they want.
- I dislike how the USDA is slipping the standards of Organic away from the original intentions at the bidding of Big Ag so they can use non-organic products and practices yet still call it Certified Organic. That is outright lying.
- The USDA standards don’t go far enough. Under USDA Certified Organic producers can call a chicken or pig organic if it is fed ‘organic’ feed even though it may spend its life under inhumane conditions and never live on pasture. That’s cruel and deceptive. People buy ‘organic’ chickens or eggs envisioning they’re getting ‘happy’ chickens when that is likely not the case. Our pigs really are raised free-ranging, outdoors on pasture – not in crates, cages or industrial settings.
- I like the feel and goals of the CNG program, its farmer directedness and the lack of “Big Ag” control. The USDA has become all to incestuous with large corporate interests. CNG is a refreshing breath of independence and honesty.
- Lastly, the CNG logo is much better than the USDA’s drab design.
The reality is we follow the organic standards and the naturally grown standards already for our own personal reasons – we want the best possible healthy foods for our family.
Outdoors: 37°F/19°F Mostly Overcast, Patches of Sunshine
Farm House: 54°F/50°F Work on new loading area
Tiny Cottage: 52°F/42°F Sump, exterior sills, scaffold building