Dig Deeper


Preparing Soil Samples in Rodale Institute’s Lab

By Jesse Barrett – Rodale Institute, Organic Allentown Program Manager

After assisting Rodale Institute Research Technicians, Tara Caton and Emily Lesher, with collecting the zero to twenty centimeter soil samples from our FST (Farming Systems Trial) fields, I was left wondering how the soil samples were prepared for analysis. Tara and Emily are responsible for processing the thousands of soil samples collected from various fields from around our farm over the growing season. They both took some time from their lab work to explain the process to me. The procedure relies on drying the samples, sieving them, and then sent out to a Penn State Extension laboratory for further analysis. (more…)

Rodale Institute Research Internship

Job Description: Research interns work directly with Rodale Institute’s Research Department to investigate a number of regenerative organic farming issues, including cover crop practices, organic weed management, organic no-till systems, compost use, influences of agricultural practices on water quality, and effects of mycorrhizae and other soil biota on crop and soil health. The Department also oversees the Farming Systems Trial (FST), the oldest continuous trial in the US that compares organic and conventional farming systems, and the new Vegetable Systems Trial (VST), comparing the impacts organic and conventional farming practices on nutrient density in vegetables and linkages to soil health. (more…)

St. Luke’s Rodale Institute Organic Farm Internship

Job Description: The Rodale Institute is seeking enthusiastic and driven individuals with a positive spirit to apply for an internship at the St. Luke’s Rodale Institute Organic Farm. The farm is a partnership between the Rodale Institute and St. Luke’s Hospital to create an innovative farm-to-institute model. This intern would work with the St. Luke’s Farmers to produce and deliver safe, healthy, organic produce to all seven hospitals in the St. Luke’s Health Network. (more…)

An Afternoon Spent Soil Sampling at Rodale Institute

By Jesse Barrett – Rodale Institute, Organic Allentown Program Manager

When you ask a person, “What is organic agriculture?” you will probably get a different response from each person that you ask. Most people respond to the question with answers concerning how the crops are grown with no GMOs and no use of chemical inputs such as chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Sometimes you can see the worry in their expression as they struggle to find a simple and direct way to explain organic agriculture. But the good news is that there is a simple definition. Organic agriculture is best defined as a method of farming where the farmer is as concerned about growing and promoting the health of their soil as much as the crops that are grown from it. Regenerating the health of our soils is the primary focus of organic agriculture, but how would one definitively know the health of their soil? (more…)

Rodale Institute Garden Internship

Job Description: Rodale is offering an educational and hands-on opportunity for interns to learn and practice the fundamental principles of organic plant cultivation and garden maintenance. Garden areas will include Medicinal Plant Garden, Homestead Demonstration Vegetable Garden and Cut Flower & Pollinator Garden. These areas of the farm are the primary focus on site for the Institute with the visiting public and events. As such, they must be maintained to high standards. Interns will have the opportunity to work with a diverse selection of plant material including vegetables, flowers, medicinal herbs, shrubs and trees. (more…)

Rodale Institute Livestock Internship

Job Description: Rodale Institute is seeking a qualified intern to aid in the care and management of our livestock. Rodale’s livestock currently consists of a swine facility, two oxen, two donkeys, a small herd of goats and sheep, laying hens, a herd of 16 dairy steers and also seasonally broilers and turkeys. This is an excellent opportunity for someone interested in not only raising organic livestock but getting a wide variety of different livestock experiences. (more…)

Rodale Institute Communications Internship

Job Description: Rodale Institute is seeking a highly motivated Communications intern to gain hands-on experience in a wide variety of communications outlets such as social media, email marketing, website, photography/video, graphic design, publications, events, media relations and more. The ideal candidate will be an enthusiastic self-starter who enjoys working on a wide variety of tasks. (more…)