We do not require any certifications in order to be a part of this network. Still, many of our network farms use alternative certification options rather than the well-known USDA Organic Certification. Organic Certification has it’s benefits and assurances, but often it’s prohibitive for small-scale producers due to record-keeping capacity. It’s important to understand the standards for alternative certifications so you can identify producers that uphold your values in ways that might not translate to USDA National Organic Program standards.
AWA also has standards for exotic livestock that are indigenous to the country that they are being produced. In the U.S., they also certify free-range bison.
About Purchasing from Against the Grain...
– Freda, customer
“Our family has had a great experience with Andy & Holly. We are new to the area and they were a few of the first kind folks we met back in March at the Winter farmer’s market in Boone. We took part in the Veggie CSA and the Meat CSA this season. Both have been fantastic, high quality, with great fresh flavor. We were invited to the farm for a fall harvest dinner as well for a chance to learn about the farm, how our food was being grown, and to share that with the people growing it. It also gave us an opportunity to get to know the other customers of the farm as well. We also had the opportunity to meet the kind folks working for Against the Grain which was a treat as well. Everyone seemed to be hard working and finding true joy in what they do. You’re in good hands here!”
– Jason, customer
About Purchasing from New Life Farm...
– Athalia, CSA member
Certified Naturally Grown is a Participatory Guarantee System. PGS’ have existed for decades, but in recent years they have gained recognition for the valuable role they play in the organic movement by including small-scale farmers in organic guarantee systems.
PGS’ provide an important alternative to third-party certification programs. In addition to being more affordable, and less reliant on paperwork, PGS’ are distinguished by their approach. Inspections are carried out by peer-reviewers, typically other farmers in the area. The PGS’ model is based on transparency, trust, and direct relationships. PGS’ foster local networks that strengthen the farming community through mutual support and educational opportunities.
About Purchasing from Goldfinch Gardens...
– Kelly, market share member
“Goldfinch is an amazing operation run by amazing people. Ben and Cedar are conscientious and diligent farmers, and their produce reflects that. They are very good communicators, take time to reflect when things go wrong, and help support a happy and healthy community, family, and employee base. I couldn’t recommend their food (or their company!) highly enough.”
– Sera, worktrade volunteer & customer
Author: Sera Deva
Sera Deva has a B.S. in Microbiology & Agroecology from The Evergreen State College. She is the former Director of Programs & Systems Design at OGS, is the President of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) Board of Directors, and is the Administrative Director for The Firefly Gathering. When she’s not geeking out over genetics, systems theory or soil hydrology, she spends her time growing and eating food in the South Toe Valley in Burnsville, NC.