Produce Application

Blandford Nature Center Farm

Owner: Liz Visser

Address:
1715 Hillburn Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Kent County

daytime phone: (616) 735-6240
evening phone: (616) 460-0639
Web site: http://blandfordnaturecenter.org/

Application Date: 2017-02-13

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program: *
We are a farm that grows our produce following the organic standards and would like to be able to market a certification. We like the community certification process of being CNG and the standards of being CNG compared to the USDA certification process.
Are you currently third party Certified for your produce operation by any other organization (Organic, Biodynamic, etc)? *
no
Have you ever been certified in the past? *
no
Have you ever been denied certification? *
no
How did you hear about Certified Naturally Grown? *
Through the community of growers locally

General Farm Information

Farm Acreage you want listed as Certified Naturally GrownTM:
Total Farm Acreage you actually GROW on: *
5
Number of above acreage that you own: *
140
Number of above acreage that you lease: *
.5
Do you have other acreage in "Conventional" Agricultural Systems? *
no
General Listed Acreage Breakdown
Veg Crops:
4
Fruit Crops:
1
Hay:
0
Grains/Beans:
0
Sugarbush:
40
Other Acreage:
85
Please check all items you grow and will market as Certified Naturally GrownTM *











Please Specify Any Other Items:
Maple Syrup
Please check all markets you grow for (this will be displayed on your farm profile to help potential buyers find you). *











Please Specify Other Markets:

Farmland Management and Practices

Primary Tillage System: *
We have a plow, rototiller, disc, and chisel plow. I will borrow a subsoiler occasionally. I only use the plow when I need to turn over a dense stand of cover crop or breaking in ground that is new or has been fallow. For field prep, I will occasionally run a subsoiler through if needed, primarily I run the chisel and disc as needed before making beds. When it is time to bad a bed for seeding or transplanting I run the rototiller through once before and put in our plants. I have experimented with no till, but did not have good results.
Do you use Cover Crops? *
yes
If yes, please list: *
Rye Buckwheat Clovers Vetch Tillage radishes
Do you use Compost? *
yes
If yes, please note general sources (on farm, purchased complete, local grass clippings, local dairy, etc.): *
Farm Purchased from
Please list application rates. Give a specific amount or range (for example: one to two tons per acre, ten wheelbarrow loads per 1,000 square feet, or 1-2 inches deep). Do not answer "varies". *
30 yards/acre annually
Do you use Manure? *
yes
If yes, please note general sources (local dairy, horse farm, etc.): *
Our own farm's goat and chicken manure Local Poultry Farm
Please list application rates. Give a specific amount or range (for example: one to two tons per acre, ten wheelbarrow loads per 1,000 square feet, or 1-2 inches deep). Do not answer "varies". *
2 truck loads/year.... So 700 lbs/acre
What time of year do you apply the manure? *
Early spring for fall brassicas or late fall
Do you apply any non-composted Manure within 120 days of veg-crop harvesting? *
no
Please list any other brought in fertility sources that you use (specific rock powders, lime, soybean / alfalfa meal, specific purchased pre-mixes, etc)and how often it's used. If you indicate a name brand product, please also specify the ingredient/s. *
Annually, we test our soils and are given organic standard micro-nutrients to add to our soils. We often have to add things like boron, zinc, and and sulfur. We will have a these nutrients mixed with compost and feather meal to add to our organic matter and nitrogen. We work with Morgan Composting and they certify that the products in the custom bled are certifiable for organic growing. We also use a fish emulsion substance from Organofish We order other liquid fertilizers for our drip irrigation through Crop Services International. They also certify the products they sell are organic certifiable.
Have any chemical fertilizers been applied to the fields you are seeking Certification for in the last three years (36 months)? *
no
Have any non-acceptable pesticides and/or herbicides been applied to these fields in the last 3 years? *
no
Do you use Professional Soil Testing services? *
yes
Describe your primary weed problems AND methods of control. Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate either actual weed challenges and/or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage (or would manage) them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used. *
We have not used any product to control weeds. We typically have problems with lambs quarters, pig weed, and different mustards. Our primary method for control is hand cultivation. Hand weeding, wheel hoes, and hoes are our main hand tools. We also do some tractor cultivation. We also use landscape fabric that for some cucurbits that we pick up and rotate in our field annually.
Describe your primary insect challenges AND methods of control. Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate either actual pest challenges and/or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage (or would manage) them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used. *
In the greenhouse we often have aphids and thrip. We will purchase ladybugs to release in the greenhouse and a paracitic wasp from for the thrip. In the field we often deal with squash bugs. We have opted to rent land to grow our winter squash where there is not a big squash bug problem, but for summer squash we use row cover early on. We also have cucumber beetles in our cucumbers. Again we use row cover for protection.
Describe your primary disease challenges AND methods of control. Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate either actual disease challenges and/or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage (or would manage) them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used. *
Our tomatoes often have disease. We rotate our plantings and clean our stakes with hydrogen peroxide. Our cucumbers and summer squash get powdery mildew. We don't do any control for this other than rotating where these crop are each year.
Please list the water source you use for crop irrigation. If source is public river, pond or lake, please note the name: *
We have a well
Are there any known contaminants in the irrigation water? *
no
Are you a maple producer who seeks to certify your sugarbush? *
yes
Maple sap is considered a wild crop. CNG's Wild Crop Harvesting Standard states that wild crop must be harvested in a manner that ensures that such harvesting or gathering will not be destructive to the environment and will sustain the growth and production of the wild crop. Please briefly describe any steps you take to protect and ensure the sustainability of your sugarbush. *
At the nature center, we have a land stewardship person who is in charge of managing our land management and forest management plan. We error on the side of sustainability in our forest management and sap collection. We rarely use two spiles on a single tree, even when large enough. We regularly rest areas of our sugarbush, most threes have been rested 1 year out of 4 or sometimes 3 years depending on the appearance of the tree.
Do you use an organic de-foamer? *
yes
In rural areas, woods have unfortunately been used as dumping grounds for all manner of garbage, including toxic waste. These dumps can contaminate the sap, and your syrup, if too close to your sugarbush. Will you refrain from tapping any trees that stand within 50 feet of old dumps (or recent ones!) in or near your sugar bush? *
yes
Over-tapping trees can stunt their growth. Do you (or will you) adhere to the Cornell Sugar Maple Research & Extension Program guidelines which state "trees 10-17 inches in diameter (31-53 inch circumference) should have no more than one tap. A tree 18-24 inches in diameter (57-75 inch circumference) should have no more than two taps. A tree larger than 25 inches in diameter (79-inch circumference) should have no more than three taps." *
yes
To maximize tree health and sap production, CNG supports Cornell's recommendation that all taps are 5/16" in diameter or smaller. Is this your practice, and if not, would you be willing to transition to 5/16" (or smaller) taps within the next three years? Please elaborate. *
We have switched all our taps for buckets to 5/16 taps in the past two years of our production. We do a small amount of tubing each year (5-10 taps) that are still the 7/16 size. However, following this year we will either drop our tubing demonstration or invest in 5/16 spiles for our tubing.
Use this space if there's anything else you'd like to share about your maple operation. *
We have a small operation 140 taps a year that we use primarily for educational demonstration.

Seeds, Transplants and Buffers

Do you purchase or grow using any Genetically Modified seeds? *
no
Do you use any chemically treated seeds in your operation? *
no
Do you grow your own transplants? *
yes
Are they grown using Naturally Grown/Organic methods? *
yes
If they're not grown according to CNG methods, please list them here. This produce may not be sold as Certified Naturally Grown. (If they are, put "N/A") *
N/A
Do you purchase any transplants from outside sources? *
no
Chemical/Spray Drift and Buffers:
Is there any likelihood of Chemical/Spray drift contamination of your fields? *
no
Do you have an adequate buffer to protect yourself from potential contamination? *
yes
Please describe your buffer. Be as specific as possible. On all sides, how far is it from your crops to the next closest use (road, conventional crop, residential yard)? Be sure to specify what is grown on neighboring land that is in agricultural use. For example: To the north and east, a wooded area of at least 100 yards separates us from the neighbor's corn fields, to the south is a fallow field at least 100 yards deep separating us from the road, and to the west about 60 feet separates our crops from a field where conventional corn and soybeans are grown. *
Where we rent land, there are conventional farmers to the south and west of us. They change what they grow each year, but last year they grew beets, parsnips, and sweet corn. To the south the buffer is a ditch with trees and shrubs a 300 feet of fallow field and another ditch. To the west our buffer is 100 feet of scrub, a ditch with shrubs and trees, and another 50 feet of scrub. To the North is 50 feet of scrub then suburban yards. To the east there are woods. On our main property there are no conventional farmers for miles. The closest contamination would come from suburban lots to the north of our fields, which are 400 feet away with a treeline between.

Agreements

Please indicate your agreement with the following statements by checking the boxes.
I will not label, or in any way lead consumers to believe that produce not raised in accord with CNG standards is Certified Naturally GrownTM. *
I understand that I have to complete at least one (and hopefully more) Certification Inspection(s) of another farm in my area each year, and that the inspection will NOT be of the same farmer that inspected me. *
I have reviewed the Certified Naturally Grown certification standards, I understand them, and I will abide by them. I understand that if I have any questions I may contact CNG for clarification. *
You may use this space to tell us anything else you think we should know about your farm: