Certified Naturally Grown, GEMs Markets, & Just Food Market Connection


The Guide to Exceptional Markets (GEM) showcases farmers markets and co-ops that actively source products from Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) farmers. Currently, Georgia is leading the way with the most CNG market representation in the country, with fourteen farmers markets and one food co-op! As an additional layer, GEM Markets are provided with resources through CNG which includes: marketing materials, logo design assistance, signage, and webinars. Participating GEMs Markets will receive additional support for Nourish!: A Guide To Incorporating Local Food At The Family Table. This partnership brings value to all constituents of the farmer’s market: market managers, farmers, and market shoppers.

Certified Naturally Grown focuses on small-scale producers that market directly to their customer base through CSAs, farmer’s markets, and on site sales. Through utilizing a “participatory guarantee program model,” another CNG farmer certifies the applying farm yearly. This engagement serves to share knowledge among growers and connects the agrarian community. CNG allows for a more equitable system for farmers by using minimal paperwork, online program transparency, affordability, and utilizes organic certification growing practices. In addition to providing farmers a more transparent relationship with their customers, who benefit by having CNG as an assurance of sustainable values. It is another pathway to understanding how food is grown for customers.

GFMA’s latest Just Food Market movement also looks through an equity lens, aiming to connect small farmers who wish to expand their market base with communities underrepresented in current local food system models. Just Food Markets (JFMs) provide a consistent income for farmers, and works with leaders identified in selected communities to create sliding scale CSA shares, bi-weekly, from June to October. Another aspect is hosting JFMs on weekday evenings, creating outlets for increased sales opportunities. GFMA is actively seeking farmers who wish to participate in the upcoming JFM program, with preference going to GFMA member farmers who maintain (or are working towards) CNG or organic certification.

Want to become a Just Food Market Farmer?

1. Become a farmer member of GFMA at the $25 level

2. Be CNG (or hold organic certification) or be willing to start the certification process.

*GFMA offers technical assistance with the certification process, and leading a CNG information panel in relation to Just Food Market involvement in March 2019. Please stay posted for details on upcoming events.