South Coventry Farm Pioneers New Nationwide Standard of Peer Reviews to Lower Costs

With accountability provided by peers rather than inspectors, the Certified Naturally Grown program is saving thousands for pioneers like Emma Cunniff of Kneehigh Farm.

Organic food is often much more expensive, but a South Coventry farm is pioneering a new nationwide standard based on lower-cost peer reviews rather than inspectors.

Kneehigh Farm, opened in 2015, has since joined the Certified Naturally Grown program, according to a Daily Local News report by Michael Sneff.

Certified Naturally Grown preserves famers’ commitment to avoiding the use of synthetic chemicals or GMOs, while also saving its participants as much as thousands of dollars; CNG costs $110 to $200 compared to the hundreds to thousands for USDA Organic certification, the article explained.

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“We hold each other accountable,” said owner/operator Emma Cunniff, who runs Kneehigh Farm with Molly Peach and Lilly Means. “It builds the community of farmers together, lessening competition and making our customers happy.”

Kneehigh Farm customers invest in the community shared agriculture (CSA) system before the growing season, then reap a harvest of 150 varieties of produce. The farm also sells to 20 area restaurants and businesses.

“People naturally connect over food,” Cunniff said. “By focusing on building the local community, we can bring back the little things like families gathering at the dinner table.”

Read more about Kneehigh Farm and how the Certified Naturally Grown program works in the Daily Local News here.

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