Americans have a serious spending problem. Our nation is $17.5 trillion in debt; we finance new homes, cars, and educations pretty much as a rule; we use credit cards like free money. And we spend way beyond our means when it comes to the environment. We borrow—some would say steal—finite resources on a closed-system planet. (more…)
(Kutztown, PA) According to the USDA’s Census of Agriculture, during the last 30 years the average age of U.S. farmers has grown by nearly eight years, from 50.5 years to 58.3 years. For many of those farmers, it becomes more difficult every year to climb up onto the tractor. At the same time, farms have become more industrialized prompting a surge in consumer demand for organic foods and other organic agricultural products. Through a partnership with Delaware Valley College, Rodale Institute is literally sending in the troops. Brandon Barnhart, an Air Force veteran who served for eight years of active duty, is now taking on a new mission; feeding people organically to maintain and restore the natural world. (more…)
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!
Nasturtiums have delicate flowers that usually come in various shades of yellow, orange and red. The blooms, leaves, seeds and flower buds of this awesome garden variety are edible and their peppery flavor is perfect in salads, sandwiches and so much more! Nasturtiums are much loved by local foodies for their sharp robust flavor, and they are also much loved by gardeners as they are an excellent companion for most species, including tomatoes.
We are also delighted to announce that our Hungarian Blue Poppies are in bloom! These “bread seed” poppies have a dual purpose – the blooms are exquisite for flower arrangements, and the seeds are used in cooking. Visit our Garden Store this Thursday-Saturday for more information on how to cut your own Nasturtiums and Poppies at the farm.
Rodale Institute is THE place for pick-your-own ORGANIC flowers! Our Bloom Alerts will keep in the loop so you know when to come out to the farm for fresh organic flowers. Check back to see what is bursting forth each week.
For more information on the who, what, when, and where of pick-your-own flowers at the farm, contact our Garden Store.
There is a quiet but swiftly moving current of “grain collaboration” happening throughout New England. Consumers are demanding local grains and even eagerly joining a unique heritage grain CSA, growers are working together to find the most suitable varieties and bakers are proudly displaying racks of bread made from wheat grown in nearby fields. From northern Maine to western Massachusetts, the movement is getting stronger as “our daily bread” becomes synonymous with “locally-grown-grain bread.” (more…)
Many beginning farmers overlook the fact that weed management is the most labor intensive aspect of growing organic vegetables. Not using the right weed management tools at the right time can lead to a long season of trying to save crops buried knee deep in the weeds. If your approach to weed management is reactive rather than proactive, you do not stand a chance. Before planting a single seed, it is vital to have a plan for efficiently and effectively managing the weeds. This will ultimately determine the crops’ chance for success. (more…)
Organic farming is not just about making a higher profit. Most of us realize that in our bones. Sure, we have to make a living. And, sure, we live and die on the gritty details of compost and cover crops, tillers and no-till. But we are stewards of more than just our soil and our farm and we all draw meaning and sustenance from what we accomplish beyond our own fence posts. By farming organically, we are regenerating the soil, returning the land to its natural state. We are also regenerating the health of ourselves and our family by reducing or eliminating chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. (more…)
Practitioners of the art of animal husbandry have the ability to understand the workings of a farm that a person steeped in science will never come close to understanding in its strict methodological manner. Whereas animal husbandry allows us to insert ourselves completely into the life of the farm, animal science specifically and intentionally removes the human factor as much as possible so as to isolate factors and determine which one factor can then be manipulated and controlled.
Anyone with any common sense knows that a farm is its own living organism and one can never isolate a single factor in trying to arrive at a meaningful answer. To look at a single factor among all the interactions of various levels of life on the farm is next to impossible. Food produced by the latest animal science will never be as alive and healthy as food produced based on the stewardship inherent in good animal husbandry which allows animals to graze a diversified diet. (more…)
I work for an organic tomato greenhouse up in Maine. We are using a soil-less mix, compost and fertilizer from a local gentleman. It has produced wonderful results, however, already at this point in the season we have depleted our mix of nutrients and our heirloom varieties are starting to show flower abortion and die off. I was wondering if you might help in figuring out how we can overcome this issue with top dressing with compost and specific amendments. Thank you for your time. (more…)
In collaboration with the Rodale Institute, Delaware Valley College (DelVal) offers a 36-credit certificate program specifically designed for military veterans interested in organic farming.
The one-year program incorporates classroom courses on animal science, marketing, plant disease diagnosis and entomology during the fall and spring semesters on the DelVal campus. During the summer semester, students take classes and get hands-on experience at the Rodale Institute. Fall and spring academic schedules are flexible and can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis, but students must enroll in all three courses as scheduled in the summer term at the Rodale Institute.
Participants who complete the program leave with the knowledge and experience necessary to run an organic farm or work for an organic operation. The program offers assistance with job placement and developing business plans so that graduates are can move right into rewarding careers in organic agriculture.
DelVal is proud to be a Yellow Ribbon School. Veterans who are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill will have up to 100% of their tuition paid by their GI Bill, in addition to receiving funds for living expenses and books while completing the program. Students are mostly military veterans, but the program is open to non-veterans who are willing to cover the full cost of the tuition.