Aquaponics Application

Naturally Fresh Farms, LLC

Owner: Ginger Nichols

1589 Old Switzer Rd
Woodruff, SC 29388
Spartanburg County

Mailing Address:
1593 Old Switzer Rd
1593 Old Switzer Rd
Woodruff, SC 29388

daytime phone: (864) 423-3748
evening phone: (864) 423-3748

Application Date: 2018-07-09

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program: *
We believe in the quality of our produce. We want our customers to know that our produce is what we say, naturally grown and chemical free. We believe in our farm and our products. We want a certification that will validate that for our customers while not cutting into our bottom line like other certifications.
Are you currently third party Certified for your produce operation by any other organization (Organic, Biodynamic, etc)? *
Have you ever been certified in the past? *
Have you ever been denied certification? *
How did you hear about Certified Naturally Grown? *
An aquaponics class at Nelson & Pade

General Information

Please check all crops you grow in your aquaponic system. *

Please specify what other crops (if any).
Please check all markets you grow for (this will be displayed on your farm profile to help potential buyers find you). *

Please specify what other markets (if any).

System Design and Management

Please indicate what type of system you use (for hybrid systems, check all that apply): *

If you indicated you use an "other" system type, please specify what other type of system you use here.
If you use wicking beds, describe how the water his handled after it is used in the wicking beds. Does this water recirculate? If not, how is it disposed of?
What materials are used for root support, growing media, tubing and pipes, tanks, troughs, and other materials that come into direct contact with system water? (check all that apply) *

Are there any other materials you use in your system that are not listed above? If so, please indicate them here.
If you use soil or compost in your system, where is it used? Is it used only in the dead-end portion, or also in in the recirculating sections of the system?
If you use compressed grow plugs, what is (are) the product/s name/s? Have you been able to confirm with the supplier that it/they do not contain synthetic nutrients?
Grodan A-OK grow plugs. Yes
If your system contains cement, does it come into direct contact with the water? Please describe how cement is a part of your system.
If you use wood in your system, is it treated wood? Does it come into direct contact with the water? Please describe how wood is a part of your system.
If your system includes IBC totes purchased used, have you been able to confirm with your supplier that they were used only for food grade uses? If so, how have you confirmed this? If not, how do you intend to confirm this?
Please note that while IBC totes can be grandfathered in when they're in already in use at the time CNG certification is sought, CNG standards prohibit the introduction of IBC totes once CNG status is obtained. Please indicate that you understand this restriction on IBC totes by checking the box here. *
Does water circulate at a rate sufficient so that the water volume of the fish tanks(s) recirculates each hour? If it recirculates at a lower rate, please explain. *
Briefly describe how your system achieves appropriate aeration. *
There are air stones in all fish tanks and DWC beds as well as falling water into fish tanks for additional aeration.
Briefly describe how your system achieves appropriate degassing. *
There is a degassing tank prior to the water entering the DWC beds.
Does your system include any of the following: roofing materials, recycled plastics, or plastics that contain BPA? *

Water Sources

CNG standards vary according to water source. Please indicate below ALL water sources you use for your aquaponic system, and answer the corresponding questions.
Do you use Municipal water? *
Does the municipal water contain chlorine? If so, how is chlorine removed? *
Yes. The chlorine is removed by a filter.
Does the municipal water contain chloramine? If so, how is it removed? *
Do you have a copy of the municipal water testing results? *
Do you use well water? *
Do you use rainwater? *
Do you use surface water? *
If you use a water source that is not named here, please elaborate.

Water Quality: Nutrients, pH, solids

How do you ensure a good match between stocking density and crop production? *
We do regular water testing of pH and solids. We will be having the water tested for nutrients in the near future.
Please describe how you design and operate your system to provide biofiltration that corresponds to production of fish waste and crops. *
There are 2 filter tanks that remove solids. These are flushed daily to remove excess solids build up. The water then moves to a media bio-filter tank and then to the degassing tank.
Do you ever add supplemental nutrients? If so, what materials or products have you used? List ingredients and product names. How much of these do you use? How frequently? *
NOW Calcium Carbonate Powder is used to regulate pH. Ingredients are only calcium carbonate.
Do you use worms in your system? *
What materials do you use to buffer pH? *
calcium carbonate
What methods do you use to prevent the build up of waste solids in your system? *
daily flushing
Please indicate how often you monitor each of the following:
pH? *
Temperature? *
multiple times per day
Dissolved oxygen? *
Ammonia? *
Nitrites? *
Nitrates? *
Use this space if you'd like to share additional information about your water quality and monitoring practices.

Seeds, Transplants, and Crop Health

Do you grow some or all of your own transplants? *
What growing media do you use? Please list the ingredients. *
Do you use any chemically-treated or genetically modified seeds? *
Do you purchase some or all of your transplants? *
Describe your primary insect pest challenges AND methods of prevention and control. (Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate actual pest challenges or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage or how you would manage them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used.) *
Our main challenges are caterpillars and flies. We have installed insect screening on all vents and using sticky traps to combat out problems. The caterpillars were eradicated through a combination of hand picking and temperature. We also removed all tomato plants and that along with installing insect screening and the winter cold did the trick. For controlling the small gnats we see we use sticky traps. This also allows us to monitor pests present.
Describe your primary plant disease challenges AND methods of prevention and control. (Do not answer "none". You MUST indicate actual disease challenges or LIKELY challenges, and you must ALSO indicate how you manage or how you would manage them. If you indicate a product, also specify how often it's used.) *
We have had no disease in our crops so far. We have sufficient air movement and plant spacing, ensuring that the leaves stay dry, and the lack of soil leading to soil-borne pathogens, to prevent fungal and bacterial growth.
CNG certification requires the use of certified organic or Certified Naturally Grown seeds whenever available. Please indicate the suppliers from which you source - or will source - your seeds if your application is accepted and you continue the certification process. *
Johnny's Selected Seeds and High Mowing Seeds
Please indicate, by entering your initials, that you understand that CNG strictly prohibits the use of chemically treated or GMO seeds. *
Please indicate, by entering your initials, that you will as a general rule purchase organically grown seeds, AND that you will only purchase conventional seed when the variety you wish to grow is not available in certified organic or CNG form. For each variety purchased in conventional form, you will identify (and keep records of) at least three commercial organic seed suppliers who do not carry that variety. *

Fish Management

We do not offer certification for fish, but do set some limited standards for fish management where they might affect the produce and or quality of life for the fish.
Does hormonal sex reversal treatment ever occur on-line / within the recirculating system? *
Please describe the practices you use to prevent and treat fish disease.
New batches of fish are quarantined when they arrive and held in a self-contained system for at least 30 days before being introduced into the system.
Have you ever found it necessary to use antibiotics? *
Please describe what kind of fish feed you use. Is it organically grown? (For aquaponic produce certification CNG standards do not require that the feed be organically grown, but we are interested to know what producers are using and to give credit to any producers who may be using organic feed) *
We use Aquamax fish food. We would love to find a reasonably priced organic food but have been unable to do so.
Do you use black soldier fly larvae or duckweed as supplemental feed? *
Do you use any supplemental feed besides BSF larvae or duckweed? If so, describe it here, and indicate how you protect against contamination of your system. *

Protecting Against Contamination

Is your operation partially or entirely INdoors? *
What are the nearby land uses? Are there any that might pose risks of contamination? *
All residential
How does your ventilation and air filtration system prevent possible contamination? *
We are looking into filtration systems but none of the surrounding properties use chemicals.
Do you share space (including fish tank, seedling starting, or plant production space) with other producers? *
Is your operation partially or entirely OUTdoors? *

Waste & Energy

These questions will not determine certification status, but are intended to encourage producers to review our recommendations in these areas and to give credit to producers who have made investments in the sustainability of their operation.
How do you dispose of fish solid wastes? *
They are used on a family members garden.
When necessary during system change over, how do you dispose of nutrient-rich water? *
We use it for our personal lawn fertilization.
What measures have you taken to conserve energy, improve energy efficiency, and/or use energy from renewable sources? (This could include system design, siting, insulation, crop and fish species selection, and more.)
We have chosen a fish with a large water temperature tolerance to reduce the energy needed in the winter. We use air-blown, double plastic walls on our greenhouse and shade cloth. Our system is also set up with only one pump as the rest is gravity fed.

Inspections & Networks

A core requirement of CNG certification is the on-site peer-review. Getting this completed is facilitated if you're a part of a network of aquaponics producers who might serve as your inspector. Are you a part of a network (informal or formal) of aquaponic producers in your geographic area? *


I understand that only the produce, NOT the fish, can be labeled and sold as Certified Naturally Grown. *
I will not label, or in any way lead consumers to believe that produce not raised in accord with CNG standards is Certified Naturally Grown. *
I understand that I have to complete at least one Inspection(s) of another CNG aquaponic producer in my area each year, if there is one within a one hour drive. *
I understand that the inspection I conduct will NOT be of the same producer that inspected me. *
I have reviewed the Certified Naturally Grown aquaponic 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 operation.