Cardinal Apiaries is proud to be Certified Naturally Grown. Certified Naturally Grown (CNG for short) is the grass roots alternative to being certified organic. It appears Cardinal Apiaries is the only CNG apiary in Stafford county. The next nearest CNG apiary is in the City of Fredericksburg.
CNG means no synthetic pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics or hormones. Continued certification requires two annual inspections done by other beekeepers or our customers. CNG is designed for family-sized farms, not agribusiness. Its participatory model of inspection and certification ensures that the standards are being upheld and strengthens the local farming community by connecting farmers to one another and to the community. CNG is unique in its degree of transparency; all members are listed on the CNG website and all certification documents are available to the public online.
In our view, the CNG standards acknowledge that it is not practical for most beekeepers to meet typical organic certification standards, but recognize beekeepers who are doing everything within their power to apply good husbandry and manage their bees free of synthetic chemicals.
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) standards for organic certification, which are followed by most organic certification companies, are, on their face, pretty reasonable. They look at bee forage (what they eat and drink), how the bees are managed, and how the honey is processed.
The challenge is that the NOSB standards require the bees to forage only on plants that meet organic standards. This sounds good in theory, but in practice, it is impossible for most beekeepers to meet this standard.
The fact is that bees will travel an average of about two miles to collect nectar and pollen. A circle drawn to encompass this foraging area would be about 4 miles across and have an area of about 12.5 square miles, or 8,042 acres.
Unlike cattle, bees cannot be corralled. Beekeepers cannot restrict their bees to organic forage, but we can be recognized, and held accountable, for adhering to the CNG beekeeping standards, which include best management practices and avoiding application of synthetic chemicals in the hive.
It is great to be Certified Naturally Grown!