Produce & Flowers

Rhubarb Botanicals LLC

Owner: Emma Barber

650 Martelle Rd
Springville, IA 52336
Linn County

daytime phone: (507) 202-8525
Web site:

Application Date: 2022-03-25

Applicant Details

Please briefly tell us why you are applying to be part of the Certified Naturally Grown program: *
I would like to be a part of the CNG program because I believe in accountability and transparency in land stewardship and farming practices. I would like for my customers to know that my practices are verified by a third-party to confirm and validate the information I share about my farming practices and protocols. I hope that my certification inspires other farmers, growers, and consumers to get engaged with organic and regenerative agricultural practices and support the producers that are taking care of the land.
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? *
From another local farmer
How did you learn to farm, and for how long have you been farming for market? What has prepared you to farm successfully according to CNG standards? *
This is year one on our new farm, though I have many years of experience in farming and in farm business planning. I have worked on two different farms over the last six years - one is a one-acre flower farm & florist studio based in Minneapolis, MN where I worked for two years, and the other is a certified organic orchard and cidery located in Northfield, MN where I worked for three years. I also worked in the produce department at the Seward Community Co-op as a produce buyer where I gained abundant knowledge about local agriculture, organic standards, and post-harvest handling of fresh produce. In addition, I farmed medicinal herbs in tandem with the flower farm in 2021 where I grew herbs fresh for market, for use in my own herbal apothecary, and dried them for bulk sale to customers and retailers. This direct experience - in addition to hundreds of hours of watching webinars, listening to podcasts, reading books, and having conversations with other small-scale herb growers - has equipped me with confidence to operate my farm successfully. In 2017-2018 I participated in and graduated from a 10-month farm planning educational program called Farm Beginnings through the Land Stewardship Project, where I learned Holistic Management, business planning & marketing strategies, detailed values and goals, and networked with other local farmers.

General Farm Information

Farm Acreage you want listed as Certified Naturally GrownTM:
Total Farm Acreage you actually GROW on: *
Number of above acreage that you own: *
Number of above acreage that you lease: *
Do you have other acreage in "Conventional" Agricultural Systems? *
General Listed Acreage Breakdown
Veg Crops:
Fruit Crops:
Other Acreage:
Please check all items you grow and will market as Certified Naturally GrownTM *

Please Specify Any Other Items:
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:
Online Store -

Farmland Management and Practices

Primary Tillage System: *
Initial tillage of beds to convert hayfield into horticultural farmland. One pass with four-foot tiller, application of 1 inch compost & calcitic lime, second pass with four-foot tiller to incorporate amendments, second pass with 1 inch compost to top-dress. Beds that are in annual production are mowed or cut down with roots left in soil, broad-forked if necessary, and re-planted as quickly as possible. We minimize mechanical tillage as much as possible.
Do you use Cover Crops? *
If yes, please list: *
Spring/Summer Cover Crops - Oats, Red Clover, Buckwheat Winter Cover Crops - Winter Rye, Tillage Radish
Do you use Compost? *
If yes, please note general sources (on farm, purchased complete, local grass clippings, local dairy, etc.): *
Purchased from Linn County Municipal Solid Waste Agency
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". *
2.5 yards per 400 sq ft bed (4'x100') for a total of 2 inches deep
Do you use Manure? *
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. *
Calcitic Lime - 1.5 tons per acre, will apply April 2022 Potash - OMRI Approved - 150 lbs per acre, will apply April 2022 Sustane 4-6-4 - 5lbs per 400 sq ft bed, applied April/May 2022 Neptune's Harvest Hydrolized Fish & Kelp Liquid Fertilizer - foliar spray 2-4 times from transplant to start of harvest
Have any chemical fertilizers been applied to the fields you are seeking Certification for in the last three years (36 months)? *
If yes, as per the Certification regulations, it is acceptable to apply chelated chemical fertilizers to correct specifical micronutrient imbalances as listed on a recent soil test. Does the application of this fertilizer meet those requirements? *
If Yes, please specify types, amounts and application dates: *
The former farmer/renters of our land used conventional farming practices. They applied Urea on the land I am seeking to certify as CNG (previously a hay field) at a rate of 80lbs per acre on 4/7/21, 4/10/20, and 4/12/19.
Have any non-acceptable pesticides and/or herbicides been applied to these fields in the last 3 years? *
Do you use Professional Soil Testing services? *
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. *
This will be year one on this particular piece of land so exact weed issues are unknown - but projected weeds include quackgrass, brome, and other perennial grasses. We minimize soil disturbance by selectively tilling only when necessary, preferring to broadfork and apply a compost mulch top-dressing before planting. Use of landscape fabric on beds is our largest weed management tool. Weeds that do grow are pulled by hand or dislodged with a hoe. We do not use any chemical or natural herbicides.
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. *
Likely pests include Japanese beetles - hand-picking into a bucket of soapy water Colorado Potato Beetles - covering transplants with row cover until established, potential application of diluted neem oil onto foliage Many of the medicinal herbs we grow are native plants and provide habitat and sustenance for beneficial insects which will hopefully provide protection from large numbers of damaging insects.
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. *
Aster Yellows - remove infected plant material ASAP (do not add to compost pile), disinfect tools. Practice good crop rotation of Asteraceae family plants. Powdery Mildew - provide adequate space for air flow, practice crop rotation. Use drip irrigation to provide soil moisture rather than overhead sprinkler to minimize moisture on foliage. Potential use of a combination of neem oil at .5% and cows milk at 10% of solution for foliar application (recommended in The Organic Medicinal Herb Grower by Jeff and Melanie Carpenter), applied bi-weekly from transplant until harvest.
Please list the water source you use for crop irrigation. If source is public river, pond or lake, please note the name: *
Well water, on-site
Are there any known contaminants in the irrigation water? *
Are you a maple producer who seeks to certify your sugarbush? *

Seeds, Transplants and Buffers

How do you select your seeds? CNG standards call for growers to make a good faith effort to locate organically grown seeds by contacting at least 3 major suppliers. *
Seeds are sourced from a variety of seed companies, with priority given to companies that have all non-GMO and/or organic seeds.
Do you purchase or grow using any Genetically Modified seeds? *
Do you use any chemically treated seeds in your operation? *
Do you grow your own transplants? *
Do you purchase potting soil, or do you mix your own on the farm? *
What ingredients does your potting mix contain? If you purchase a mix, please also indicate which product. *
Pro-Mix Bx + Mycorrhizae Organik
Are all of your transplants grown according to CNG standards, without synthetic fertilizers or wetting agents? *
If any transplants are not grown according to CNG standards, please list them here. (If they all are, put "N/A".) This produce may not be marketed as Certified Naturally Grown. *
Do you purchase any transplants from outside sources? *
From which sources do you buy transplants? *
Silver Leaf Greenhouses via Ball Seed Farmer Bailey
How have you confirmed with your supplier that the transplants are grown without synthetic fertilizers or wetting agents? *
Please list any bought-in transplants not grown according to CNG standards. This produce may not be sold as Certified Naturally Grown (except, in the case of perennials, after twelve months of CNG cultivation). *
Chemical/Spray Drift and Buffers:
Is there any likelihood of Chemical/Spray drift contamination of your fields? *
Do you have an adequate buffer to protect yourself from potential contamination? *
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. *
Our CNG field is at minimum 150 feet from land that is farmed conventionally (neighbor's property to the west of our field). I will be planting shrubs and tall grasses on the western side of my field to provide windbreak and a buffer in the event that spray is applied on a windy day - however we are communicating with our neighbors of our intent to keep all of our land free from chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides. The area directly surrounding our one acre of CNG horticultural crops is planted into an organic pasture seed mix which we will be managing according to CNG and organic standards.


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:
The 32 acres of pasture where we will be rotationally-grazing sheep will be managed in compliance with CNG and Certified Organic standards, though I am not applying for certification of those fields at this moment in time.