Organic Gardening at the Rodale Institute


USDA Certified Organic LabelIf you are a home gardener wanting to educate yourself and strive for organic gardening, you need to read up on the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania.  Founded by J.I. Rodale in 1947, the Rodale Institute’s initial mission was to create an example of how organic farming could work.  Because of health aliments, Rodale wanted to study the process of organic farming, verses conventional farming and the benefits of going organic.  Originally ridiculed for his vision, Rodale is now revered as a pioneer and his grand-daughter and great grand-daughter carry on his legacy, forming the largest multi-media company dedicated to restoring a healthy plant, Rodale Incorporated.

History of Rodale

When the Rodale Institute was conceptualized, chemicals were overtaking the farming industry.  The United States did not have any government sanctioned “organic” label.  Rodale wanted to prove organic was a viable solution to feeding a growing nation.  His scientific research proved organic farming was viable, better for people’s health and better for our environment.

Today, on the 333-acre farm, CEO and grand-daughter Maria Rodale, along with her daughter, Maya continue to spread the message of organic farming, understanding the impact on our soil and why we should demand organic within our own local communities.  Maria pleads that consumers need to protect the United States Department of Agriculture Organic Labeling and vote with our dollars by spending only on organic products.  In her book, Organic Manifesto, Maria explains the potential catastrophic effects of chemical farming and the sustainability of organic farming.

Take Care of the Soil

Research at the institute has proven that organic CAN feed the world, despite many governmental statements to the contrary.  In fact, Rodale grows, test and compares conventional farming, along with organic farming.  Their studies show organic farming can match and in some cases surpass conventional farming.  In years of drought and in years of excessive water, organic soil survives better than conventional soil.

Organic soil

Supply nutrients over a long period of time to plants

Has a longer lasting water holding capacity

Clumps to improve structure

Prevents erosion

Healthy soil holds a diversity of micro organisms, crucial to the environmental balance and the foundation of food.

 

Rodale in the future

Rodale has proven the benefits of organic farming, now they will continue to refine their organic methods, continue to educate and pass on their knowledge to other farmers and home gardeners.  Through internships and volunteers, Rodale has seen a resurgence of young people’s interest in sustainability and has attracted many to their field days.  Allowing others to work on the property.

For the home gardener:

  • Improve your soil – use organic matter in your compost, manure, shredded leaves, anything that will breakdown naturally.
  • Avoid compacting the soil
  • Avoid chemicals
  • Avoid synthetic pesticides
  • Resist the will to till

Click to read more about composting at home

If you are interested in learning more about organic farming and horticulture, please see all the free information the Rodale Institute offers http://rodaleinstitute.org/learn/webinars/ .  They now offer an organic transition course, FREE with the following curriculum:

  •         The fundamental principles of organic agriculture
  •         Practical details about organic crop and livestock production
  •         Marketing opportunities available to organic producers
  •         Record keeping and other specific requirements of organic certification

http://rodaleinstitute.org/farm/organic-transition-course/

or to subscribe to Rodale Organic Life Magazine, click below

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