Naturally Made Certification for Beekeepers and Mushroom Growers

Learn about a national certification for beekeepers and mushroom growers working toward the most organic operation possible.

Valhalla Organics in Talent, Oregon, is currently the only CNG apiary on the West Coast.
Photo by Valhalla Organics

Since 2002, the Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) organization has offered certification for farmers and beekeepers who use natural methods to grow food for their local communities. CNG’s peer-review inspection process is tailored for direct-market growers who are dedicated to working in harmony with nature without relying on synthetic chemicals to manage pests and diseases.

Today, nearly 800 producers across the United States and Canada hold CNG certifications. Of this prestigious, tight-knit community, a select group holds CNG’s Apiary or Mushroom certifications, both of which were created in direct response to feedback from those seeking an alternative to other certifications.

Jay Parsons of Dances with Bees apiary in Cornelia, Georgia, describes the CNG designation as “a door opener.” He continues, “It’s similar to having a practical organic certification, in that it helps people to know that special efforts were made to attain specific standards and practices.” CNG mushroom operations and apiaries comprise a diverse and devoted bunch, from backyard enthusiasts to trade show pros. Here are just a few of them, and the practices they maintain to meet the CNG label standards.

Check out the mushroom and beekeeping classes we offer through the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR!

A Sweet Alternative

CNG launched its apiary certification 10 years ago in response to feedback from beekeepers concerned about colony collapse disorder. These apiarists understood that keeping synthetic chemical treatments out of their hives was important. They wanted to certify these standards, encourage other beekeepers to adopt them, and raise awareness among customers. The CNG Apiary certification standards focus on the health of the honeybees and the sustainability of beekeeping, with a secondary focus on agricultural products of the hive, including honey, pollen, and propolis. Additionally, these standards ensure natural methods of Varroa mite control, minimal colony relocation, and beekeeper safety.

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