Dig Deeper

Farm Photo Friday: April 24, 2015

Every Friday we share some snaps from our 333-acres in Kutztown, PA. Our photographers? The staff members who keep this farm chugging along. Enjoy a sneak peek at what’s going on here at Rodale Institute!


It looks like these two aren't sheepish about showing some brotherly love!


Everyone is hard at work in the greenhouse. Cynthia James, ASC Program Manager and Jesse Barrett, Organic Allentown Program Manager, are transplanting eggplants into larger containers so they have more room to grow!


It looks like everyone is having some fun as well! Don't have too much fun! These plants need to be ready soon for the Spring Open House Plant Sale on May 8th and 9th.


Ruuuuuuuuuun! Lewis and Clark are playing a game of freeze tag! Can you guess who is frozen?


Rick Carr, Compost Specialist, is hauling out the big toys today to make room for fresh straw for Lewis and Clark. Rick is a man of many talents– he will also be teaching a series of Master Composter Program classes at the Institute from May to June!


Silly pig – fetch is for dogs!


This little pig loves to show his mom, Miss Peggy, all the odds and ends he finds while exploring this big, new world!


Bill Lenhard, Strategic Support Team Member, and Mark Fabian, Facilities Team Member, are teaming up to redesign the Boiron Garden. The site will soon host wedding ceremonies in the sunny months to come. Next on the list is to design colorful floral arrangements that will surround the garden.


Coach Mark Smallwood knows how to please a crowd, whether it be our Norwegian Dwarf goats or humans alike!


Looks like the hogs will be moving in sooner than expected! Progress on our Hog Facility has been made at light speed. Stay tuned for the grand opening when the hogs take the first step into their new home!


Remember the tomato grafting photo in a previous Farm Photo Friday? The process is now complete and these strong San Marzano tomato roots are busting out. They can't wait to make their debut at the Spring Open House Plant Sale!

Don't forget...Show your organic love! 


Rodale Institute Announces Three New Staff Members

Aaron Kinsman
Office: 610-683-1427
Mobile: 215-589-2490

(Kutztown, PA, April 21, 2015) Rodale Institute, a non-profit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach, today announced the addition of three new employees: Dr. Vijay Bhosekar, Director of Scientific Communications; Jesse Barrett, Organic Allentown Program Manager and Justin Barclay, Veteran Farming Program Coordinator.

Dr. Vijay Bhosekar has a Doctorate in Plant Agriculture and more than 25 years of experience as a Research Manager and Research Associate at ANGR Vijay HeadshotAgricultural University in India. Dr. Bhosekar has published more than seventy five peer reviewed scientific publications and has conducted numerous seminars on his area of expertise.

Dr. Bhosekar will work with the Research and Communications
Departments to present the Institute’s research findings to a range of audiences, including scientists, farmers and the general public. He will be responsible for submissions to scientific peer reviewed journals, assisting with lab and field work, and for developing curriculum for farmer training and workshops.

“I am very excited to join Rodale Institute, a pioneer organization in the field of organics. This is an opportunity for me to gain in-depth practical knowledge in organic agriculture working with an educated and dedicated team.” ~ Dr. Vijay Bhosekar, Director of Scientific Communications

jesse press releaseJesse Barrett will manage two farmers’ markets in Allentown, Pennsylvania, as part of the Organic Allentown initiative, a comprehensive initiative to create a city-wide culture around urban organic agriculture. Each market will feature vendors who are certified organic by the USDA or are in the certification process. The markets are located on 7th Street at the St. Luke’s Evangelical Church Parking lot and at the YWCA / YMCA on 15th Street in Allentown. Barrett will also play a hands-on role in developing organic gardens in vacant lots and public spaces throughout Allentown.

“I’m deeply honored to work with Rodale Institute to provide the Allentown community with access to fresh, local organic foods at affordable prices. It’s my personal mission to help make Organic Allentown a successful model that cities around the world will follow to a healthier future.” ~ Jesse Barrett, Organic Allentown Program Manager

Justin Barclay brings with him over ten years of experience in the United States Army and an additional seven years of experience as an analyst justin press releaseand instructor working with the military. His work will expand the Institute’s farmer training offerings for military veterans. With an aging demographic of farmers in America and extreme shortages of certified organic products, Rodale Institute will offer new pathways into organic agriculture for military veterans.

Rodale Institute has also partnered with Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, PA to create the Organic Farming Program; a 36-credit, one-year certificate program which is open to all students, but was created with military veterans in mind.

“Bringing new organic farmers onto the scene is only possible through quality training programs like the one Rodale Institute and Delaware Valley University have developed. It’s an honor to be a part of improving the way our society farms.” ~ Justin Barclay, Veteran Farming Program Coordinator

“We are proud to welcome Dr. Bhosekar, Jesse and Justin to the Rodale Institute team,” says Rodale Institute Executive Director, ‘Coach’ Mark Smallwood. “These new positions are specialized to support the Institute’s ability to create new models of organic agriculture, to train new organic farmers and to communicate our findings to the world.”

Since its founding in 1947 by J.I. Rodale, the Rodale Institute has been committed to groundbreaking research in organic agriculture, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating people about how organic is the safest, healthiest option for people and the planet. The Institute is home to the Farming Systems Trial (FST), America’s longest-running side-by-side comparison of chemical and organic agriculture. Consistent results from the study have shown that organic yields match or surpass those of conventional farming. In years of drought, organic corn yields are about 30% higher. This year, 2014, marks the 34th year of the trial. New areas of study at the Rodale Institute include rates of carbon sequestration in chemical versus organic plots, new techniques for weed suppression and organic livestock.



Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach. For more than sixty years, we’ve been researching the best practices of organic agriculture and sharing our findings with farmers and scientists throughout the world, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating consumers about how going organic is the healthiest options for people and the planet.


Rodale Institute DelVal Organic Farming Program: http://www.delval.edu/organic

Organic Allentown: http://rodaleinstitute.org/allentown

Farm Photo Friday: April 17, 2015

Every Friday we share some snaps from our 333-acres in Kutztown, PA. Our photographers? The staff members who keep this farm chugging along. Enjoy a sneak peek at what’s going on here at Rodale Institute!


Thank you to everyone who came out to the Cold Crop Plant Sale this past weekend! Despite the weather on Friday we had a great turn out. We hope everyone had fun and we wish everyone a bountiful garden! Next month, we'll have our Spring Open House Plant Sale where you'll find hot crops like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and so much more!


"I see you have come to take pictures of me. How's this angle?" Alfalfa the Nigerian Dwarf Goat has been practicing his poses just in case the camera catches him off guard!


Best friends are hard to come by! These little guys have been busy rooting through the soil, tilling so we don't have to.


The Hog Facility is really coming together. We're putting the final touches on it just in time for summer. The hogs have been watching with anticipation for the big move-in day!


Okay, sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side.


Come adventure through the Elderberry forest!  Elderberries have many medicinal qualities and are perfect for an organic summer snack!


Look who's taking a ride on his big green tractor. Ross Duffield, Farm Manager, is preparing the Rodale Institute fields for summer planting.  He can go slow or he can go faster!


Cynthia James, ASC Program Manager, and her team are planting broccoli using the water wheel transplanter. These broccoli plants will then be harvested sometime in the end of June and be distributed to communities for ASC.


As Cynthia drives, the water wheel transplanter pokes holes in the ground for the plants to be placed. At the same time, there is a hose leading from the main tank that runs water into the holes to provide the plants with a moist place to grow. If this work interests you, check out our ASC internship opportunities on the Rodale Institute website!


This primrose is edible so if you happen to find yourself in the Hunger Games you'll be ahead of the competition!

Don't forget...Show your organic love! 

Organic 3.0

By Peggy Miars, OMRI Executive Director/CEO and member of the IFOAM World Board

As organic stakeholders and advocates, we have certainly reached thousands of consumers over the years with our message of improved health and environmental stewardship. But beyond growth, what do we envision for the future of organics worldwide? How will the organic industry of 2030 differ from what we have now? IFOAM-Organics International has already started the conversation and is planning for changes to come. In the process, we’re uniting our collective efforts and developing a plan for organic agriculture in the modern age.

As a new member of the IFOAM World Board, I have been surprised and delighted by the sheer number of imagesorganizations working to support organic food worldwide. Although our interests and priorities might differ, IFOAM works to find common ground and focuses stakeholders on our shared goals. In the process, we build a stronger community with tremendous potential to enact change in our lifetimes. We’ve reached a point in the growth of organics where the future is bright, and focus is exactly what we need. IFOAM-Organics International has titled their exploration “Organic 3.0,” the next phase for the organic industry.


J.I Rodale

Looking back, we are incredibly fortunate for the work of J.I. Rodale, Rudolph Steiner, Masanobu Fukuoka, and many others who promoted organics in the early 20th century. We can look at this early phase as “Organic 1.0,” a time when the modern industry was just being born from a few tireless advocates. And we are currently seeing the benefits of their dedication in “Organic 2.0,” with a strong industry and stable growth. There has never been a better time to look ahead and chart a course for the future!

IFOAM-Organics International sees the new 3.0 phase as characterized by a culture of technical and social innovation that leads to widespread and mainstream adoption of organic practices. It includes re-thinking the contribution of the organic movement to solving global challenges such as food security, climate change and other environmental and societal issues. The Organic 3.0 approach will enable more people to adopt organic practices and participate with a renewed focus on sustainability.

According to IFOAM, movement toward a sustainable, healthy planet requires simultaneous action on three complementary fronts:

  • Education for producers, consumers and other stakeholders, including scientific evidence of the benefits of organic practices, and clear messages for the general public
  • Policy reform to reflect the true cost of sustainable practices, and to incentivize improved performance with regard to sustainable production
  • A new market framework to assure that credible, meaningful, valid claims are accessible beyond a small niche

Bringing these approaches into action, IFOAM sees two sides to Organic 3.0: updated content and updated methodology. The updated content will define what it means to be organic, with a minimum set of requirements that reflect the four Principles of Organic Production (Health, Ecology, Fairness and Care). These requirements will incorporate best practices in sustainability, with a commitment to continuous improvement.

The updated methodology establishes how organic practices are carried out. It’s inclusive, transparent and participatory, enabling young people to enter organic farming with the appropriate skills, while still allowing stakeholders and consumers at all levels to understand and participate.

At OMRI, our mission is to support the growth and trust of the global organic community through expert, independent and transparent verification of input materials, and through education and technical assistance. We look forward to pursuing this mission with ongoing support for the new phase of global organic growth. Through Organic 3.0, more consumers and stakeholders will understand the importance of organics as the key to sustainable agriculture. This will in turn reduce dependence on non-organic practices and products.

Watch for an IFOAM Organic 3.0 narrative document, expected to be ready for circulation this summer. The document will then be finalized at an IFOAM-Organics International conference in Korea this fall, and an action plan is expected by the end of the year. In the meantime, please join the conversation! Visit IFOAM’s Organic 3.0 pages and send your feedback to David Gould, Value Chain Facilitator, at d.goud@ifoam.bio.





Farm Photo Friday: April 10, 2015

Every Friday we share some snaps from our 333-acres in Kutztown, PA. Our photographers? The staff members who keep this farm chugging along. Enjoy a sneak peek at what’s going on here at Rodale Institute!


The gang's all here...in the mud! These hogs were cooling down from the warm weather we were having earlier this week.


"Thanks Ross and Michael, we love our new home!"
Ross Duffield, Farm Manager, with the help of Michael Schmaeling, Facilities Team Member, did a great job of building the chickens their dream home! This is the final product from the sneak-peak you saw last week! Don't miss our Keeping Chickens: Get the scoop inside the coop workshop on April 25th!


Stephanie Zimmerman, Strategic Solutions Team Member, is giving the piglets some love! They sure do love back scratches! The piglets are growing fast and so is their curiosity! Be sure to register early for the Heritage Pastured Pigs: Help your hogs help your profits workshop on May 2nd!

photo 5

This little lamb is curious as well! It seems as if he is challenging this photographer to a game of shadow tag!


This photographer has been spotted a mile away!




Snap! We got the close-up! Irwin seems less amused...


Rick Carr, Compost Production Specialist and Jesse Barrett, Organic Allentown Program Manager, are making more skeletons for the vertical growing towers that were shown last week! Be sure to follow them as they continue to work on the Organic Allentown program.


Even Heather Kaiser, Rodale Institute Communications Intern, was hard at work creating the vertical growing towers!

bee edited

The bees are back and the farm is finally in full bloom! Thanks to Michael Schmaeling, Facilities Team Member, this celebratory moment is captured!


Sun's out gun's out! This little piggy is keeping his nose high and his spirits even higher!


Last week we saw Dan Kemper, Strategic Support Team Member, demonstrate how to graft tomato plants. Here we see how the plants look when they are grafted together.


Dan Kemper, Strategic Support Team Member, is making last minute adjustments to the plants at the Cold Crop Plant sale today!


Don't worry if you can't make it out to the Cold Crop Plant sale today. We'll be back on Saturday. Same time, same place, same great products!


Squeakers doesn't mind that it's a not-so-puuurrrfect day out. He's a witty little kitty who loves to roam the farm!

Don't forget...Show your organic love! 

Master Composters of Rodale Institute

"In the compost heap, a transformation from life to death and back again is taking place."  -J.I. Rodale

According to the US EPA, in the United States food wastes and yard debris represent approximately 45% of the garbage generated by Americans.

At the community level, composting is a cost effective means for managing organic wastes and IMG_4672diverting these wastes from the landfill. In addition to environmental and social benefits, backyard composting creates financial incentives by reducing trash collection fees. Part of the problem with implementing these basic themes into the community is a lack of educated personnel.

Through the Master Composters of Rodale Institute training program, we train individuals to become “Masters” of backyard composting, waste management, and outreach education with the goal of encouraging a wider adoption of organic waste composting.


The training program will begin on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 and continue for six weeks on June 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, and July 1st. Classes will be held on Wednesdays from 6-8 pm. The day and times for site visits will be discussed at the first class.

Program highlights:

  • ♦  The Master Composter Program will focus on the areas of composting, solid waste management, community outreach and education.
  • ♦  Topics discussed during the classes include compost biology, chemistry and physics, vermicomposting, compost systems and uses, and how composting fits into a larger picture of solid waste management.
  • ♦  Speakers include Coach Mark Smallwood, Rodale Institute Executive Director; Rick Carr, Rodale Institute Compost Production Specialist and additional Rodale Institute staff; Peter Hyde, ERM Group Foundation; and J.P. Mascaro and Sons
  • ♦  Site visits include JP Mascaro & Sons composting facility, materials recovery facility and landfill, City of Allentown Parks and Recreation operating facility, and Kutztown’s waste water treatment plant.

Who should apply:

The training program is open to all individuals who wish to become leaders in waste management and backyard composting in their respective communities. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older. Prior experience in composting, gardening or agriculture is not required.


All Master Composter trainees will be required to complete 40 hours of community service on projects or activities related to composting. Rodale Institute will provide numerous volunteer opportunities but trainees are encouraged to participate in self-directed outreach and education within their communities. Certification of completion will be delivered to trainees upon complete of volunteer service. In addition, each new graduate of the Master Composter program will be featured on Rodale Institute’s website to announce their completion of the program.


Registration is $300. To register for this class, click here. To complete a scholarship application, click here. For more information on the Master Composters of Rodale Institute, contact Rick Carr, Compost Production Specialist at rick.carr@rodaleinstitute.org or by phone at 610-683-1415.

Farm Photo Friday: April 3, 2015

Every Friday we share some snaps from our 333-acres in Kutztown, PA. Our photographers? The staff members who keep this farm chugging along. Enjoy a sneak peek at what’s going on here at Rodale Institute!


March really does come in like a lion and out like a lamb at Rodale Institute! Honey gave birth to tiny triplets just in time for spring. Look – the lambs are smiling in their sleep!


Mable wasn't far behind Honey. On Tuesday, she gave birth to two lambs! Welcome to the herd, little ones!


Everyone crowds around Dan Kemper, Strategic Support Team Member, as he demonstrates how to graft tomato plants. The purpose of tomato grafting is to combine the best qualities of two different tomato plants, one being the rootstock and the second being the top of a fruit-producing variety. The result: strong roots and abundant fruit yield!


Ross the Builder, Can we fix it? Ross the Builder, Yes We Can!


While the plants are having a major growth spurt, somebody has to make sure they stay hydrated!  Maggie Saska, Plant Production Specialist, is always on top of keeping the plants happy and healthy. Take some greens home with you next Friday and Saturday at our Annual Cold Crop Sale!


 Ross Duffield, Farm Manager, with the help of Michael Schmaeling, Facilities Team Member, are constructing another chicken coop. The chickens requested a summer home. Sorry chickens, we couldn't get you to the Hamptons, but Ross and Michael have built you a luxurious new cruise-coop! Learn how to keep your chickens happy at our Keeping Chickens workshop on April 25th.


Rick Carr, Compost Production Specialist and Jesse Barrett, Organic Allentown Program Manager, have been outside all afternoon building vertical growing columns– just like the ones that will be popping up around Allentown this season for the Organic Allentown program!


Hey donkeys – quit horsing around!


Uh-oh. Looks like there's been some mischief – someone dug a few holes in the soil. If this were a game of Clue, we'd guess it was the cat, with a front paw, in the hoop house!


Xena and Houdini are having fun in the mud! A true pal will help clean off a muddy snout. At our Heritage Pastured Pigs workshop, you can learn more about these happy heritage hogs!


       Ross Duffield, Farm Manager, sneaks a cuddle with a piglet for just a second before it hurries back to its mother for food and comfort!


The farm shows no sign of the snow-smothered winter that has just passed. Stay tuned for more spring-inspired photos of the farm and Rodale Institute employees!

Don't forget...Show your organic love! 


Animal Husbandry Coordinator Needed!

Rodale Institute is seeking an enthusiastic and energetic new team member!

Rodale Institute's Animal Husbandry Coordinator will oversee the care, feeding and breeding of Rodale Institute's growing array of organically raised livestock. We currently have hogs, chickens, goats, oxen, donkeys and sheep.

Our Animal Husbandry Coordinator will work closely with members of the research and education teams on issues related to livestock.

♦ Feed, water and care for all livestock on Institute property.
♦ Respond to emergency situations involving livestock.
♦ Clean and maintain all barns, pens and other facilities housing livestock.
♦ Prepare livestock for breeding purposes.
♦ Operate farm equipment as needed.
♦ Assist in creating models for other small farm operations.
♦ Conduct animal/farm field days.
♦ Daily data collection on research and production activities.
♦ Monitor and control resources by assisting in developing budgets.
♦ Assist SST staff in carrying out their responsibilities.
♦ Assist in promoting sales of farm animal products through product development and customer relationships.
♦ Ability to participate in research projects; testing, gathering and compiling data.
♦ Operate farm and landscaping equipment as needed.
♦ Assist in preparing and giving oral presentations to scientific communities, governmental decision-makers, private environmental groups, and farmers.
♦ Able to work independently and assist in making strategic decisions with the Strategic Solutions Team.
♦ Perform other duties as assigned by management.

♦ Caring and compassionate with animals.
♦ 2 or more years’ experience in animal husbandry of farm animals (cows, goats, pigs, and/or horses) – including administering veterinary treatments, including injections, if needed.
♦ Capable of lifting feed bags, hay bales and other materials in excess of 50 pounds.
♦ Experience in operating farm equipment.
♦ Ability to work in all types of weather.
♦ Be active member of our team, yet work independently as needed.
♦ Possess good communications skills – both written and verbal.
♦ Flexible in work hours as farm work can be unpredictable.

Pick up supplies and parts for livestock and equipment as requested.

Other Institutional Expectations:
To be trustful and respectful to all staff and visitors.

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume to linda.carlson@rodaleinstitute.org

Calling all organic and transitioning organic farmers!

growing-towers-jpg-20150130Calling all organic and transitioning organic farmers! There is an exciting new opportunity to join two organic farmers markets in Allentown! Rodale Institute has partnered with the City of Allentown to launch Organic Allentown, a program which establishes a relationship between local organic farmers and the downtown residents of Allentown.

Some Allentown residents find limited access when purchasing fruits and vegetables. By pairing residents with organic farmers, the residents’ demands for adequate fruits and vegetables can be supported. Concurrently, the Organic Allentown program will implement purchasing incentives to encourage and empower the residents of Allentown to participate in the farmers markets. Such programs include SNAP benefits and offering fruit and produce coupons. Organic Allentown will also host food preparation and cooking classes as well as healthy eating initiatives to inspire residents to purchase and consume a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables.

Often, private grocers and store owners in urban environments do not supply perishable foods. Organic Allentown will work with local businesses to supply these items. While both Allentown farmers markets will satisfy demands weekly in two separate locations, convenience stores and bodegas will provide access to healthier food options on a daily basis.

Additionally, Organic Allentown is constructing an urban agriculture culture where Allentown residents can cultivate organic fruits and vegetables downtown! Since there is a potential for urban environments to harbor toxins and chemicals in the soil, Rodale Institute has developed a system of urban gardening to combat this. Through vertical growing columns, organic fruits and vegetables can be grown above contaminated soil. Maintaining the vertical gardens will present a distinct experience for Allentown residents to participate in the gardening of organic produce in their community.

If you are a practicing organic farmer, or are currently working towards your organic certification, joining Organic Allentown will provide a unique opportunity to build a relationship with Allentown, its residents, and Rodale Institute.

For more information on participating as a vendor in the farmers markets, please contact the Organic Allentown Program Farmers Market Manager, Jesse Barrett, at jesse.barrett@rodaleinstitute.org. We look forward to hearing from you!



Farm Photo Friday: March 27, 2015

Every Friday we share some snaps from our 333-acres in Kutztown, PA. Our photographers? The staff members who keep this farm chugging along. Enjoy a sneak peek at what’s going on here at Rodale Institute!


Miss Peggy had a surprise for everyone on Monday! Over the weekend, she gave birth to six precious, pint-sized piglets. Nothing says "spring" like new born piglets!


Hungry and happy, the piglets don't stray far from mom's side!


Ross Duffield, Farm Manager, and Mark Fabian and Michael Schmaeling, Facility Team Members, worked hard to build this beautiful custom home for the piglets and Miss Peggy.


Even though it's spring and the weather is warming up, the piglets still need to snuggle close together next to mom to stay warm.

Pig 2_resized_1

Michael Schmaeling, Facilities Team Member, is giving this little piggy some hugs and head scratches!


Mom's keeping close watch over her piglets! These little guys are looking happy and healthy!


Vogue! This little piggy strikes his first pose! Little does he know that there will be many more photo shoots to come!


Houdini thinks he's just as cute as the little piglets. What do you think? Come learn more about Houdini and our other pigs at Rodale Institute's Heritage Pastured Pigs: Help your hogs help your profits workshop on May 2nd.


The tulips are blooming just in time for their debut at our Spring Thaw plant sale event tomorrow, Saturday March 28th!


Cynthia James, Agriculture Supported Communities (ASC) Program Manager, is planting celeriac over in the greenhouse! Celeriac is a variety of celery that forms a large, swollen celery root. It grows fairly large and is delicious roasted or in soups! By the way, we're still accepting applications for internships with our ASC program!


Keeping guard of the chicken coop is a very important job! Be sure not to miss Keeping Chickens: Get the scoop inside the coop workshop on April 25th!


It looks like Mr. Tuggs needs an opponent in his game of backyard soccer!


Irwin is hiding out in the donkey shed and it seems like Mr. Tuggs is saying, "lace up your cleats and get on the field!"


What did the sheep say to the other sheep?
"Hey, where'd the goats go?"


We found the goats and they've moved to greener pastures! This little guy has some show-stopping eyes, don't you think?


From our backyard to yours, come learn how to keep your own bees at Rodale Institute's Backyard Hobby Beekeeping: Healthy bees mean healthy honey workshop on April 18th and 19th!

Don't forget...Show your organic love!