Certified Naturally Grown (CNG), a grassroots non-profit organization, announced it will develop a new certification program for aquaponics operations.
The announcement follows three months of consideration by CNG and its Aquaponics Exploratory Committee, a group made up of six experts and practitioners from across the country with decades of experience between them. I was selected as one of the committee and enjoyed participating and providing input to CNG in this effort. This committee met regularly to help CNG determine the feasibility of developing certification standards that would be accessible to a meaningful number of aquaponics producers and also align with CNG’s commitment to supporting community-based agriculture that works in harmony with nature to produce wholesome food without relying on synthetic chemicals.
The Aquaponics Exploratory Committee’s investigation resulted in the conclusion that a CNG aquaponics program was indeed feasible, though it seemed likely that only the produce, and not the fish, would be covered by the new program – at least initially.
The next step in the process is for CNG to establish an Aquaponics Advisory Council. The Aquaponics Advisory Council will work with CNG staff to develop complete standards for aquaponics certification.
Once the Advisory council completes the details of the process, aquaponics farmers will be able to apply for the CNG Certification. This is a great opportunity for small and large aquaponic farms to have a nationally recognized label that demonstrates to their customers that they meet specific requirements related to sustainability and food safety. I appreciate the efforts and willingness of CNG to embrace the aquaponics industry and believe it will be a mutually beneficial partnership.
Certified Naturally Grown offers peer-review certification to farmers and beekeepers who use natural practices free of synthetic chemicals and genetically modified crops. CNG was founded by farmers in the mid-Hudson Valley of New York in 2002. Today there are more than 700 CNG certified producers in 47 states nationwide. Find CNG farmers and beekeepers near you at www.naturallygrown.org. To support their work, become a Friend of CNG at http://community.naturallygrown.org/friend.