Dig Deeper


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!

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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!

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"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!

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

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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!

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

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

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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

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"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!

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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!

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

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This photographer has been spotted a mile away!

Closer...

Closer...

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

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

See the program announcement here.

When:

The training program will begin on Wednesday, September 2, 2015 and continue for six weeks on September 9, 16th, 23rd, 30th and October 2nd. 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.

Requirements:

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:

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!

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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!

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

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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!

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

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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!

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 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.

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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!

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Hey donkeys – quit horsing around!

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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!

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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!

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       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!

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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! 

 

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!

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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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!

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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!

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

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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!"

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

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

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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! 

Farm Photo Friday: March 20, 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!

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A muddy nose is a happy nose! Athena just found some mud beneath the melting snow and this means no more weeks of winter!

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Athena found mud, but it looks like Xena and Houdini may have found something as well! What do you think they found? True love, perhaps? If you love pigs, register now for our upcoming workshop, Heritage Pastured Pigs: Help your hogs help your profits.

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Sometimes it's important to pause and simply appreciate the beauty and magnetism of nature.

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Michael Schmaeling, Facilities Team Member, gives Mr. Tuggs and Irwin some personal attention. Michael says that they both love to give hugs!

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"Dodge, dip, duck, dive, and dodge!" If you can dodge a net, you can dodge a ball. The chickens are making a run for it today, but the crew is hot on their tails. If you're interested in raising your own chickens, register to come out for our Keeping Chickens: Get the Scoop Inside the Coop workshop in April!

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Chicory, the Nigerian Dwarf Goat stands on a furry rock to get a better view of the crew running and diving to catch the chickens!

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Wait, that's no furry rock! That's Honey the sheep! As it turns out, sheep make very good step stools. Friends let friends stand on their backs to get a better view!

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Dan Kemper, Strategic Support Team Member, and Maggie Saska, Plant Production Specialist, are busy yet again in their home away from home - the green house! Everything you see to the left is being prepared for sale to restaurants and markets, and for plant sales at the Rodale Institute Store. Everything to the right is for ASC.

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Adding to the collection, Dan transplants some lettuce - future featured items for our plant sales! Be sure not to miss the big Spring Thaw: Organic Flowers for your Holiday Table event on March 28th!

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Clark decided to make a silly face for his close-up. He's glad that he can now lay on soft straw instead of the icy snow!

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Can you spot some differences between Lewis and Clark? This photographer can spot three. How many did you find? Leave your answers in the comment space below!

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We have a new face on the farm! Everyone say hello to Jesse Barrett, Organic Allentown Program Manager. Here he plants seeds which, when sprouted, will be transplanted into vertical growing towers as a part of the Organic Allentown project.

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Get ready to burry your nose in some great books! The Rodale Institute Book Club is a great opportunity for you to connect with people who share the same passion about human and environmental health! Starting up again in May, it is a 6 month book club that is in it's third season!

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Okay, maybe we spoke too soon. Maybe one more day of winter...

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

Farm Photo Friday: March 13, 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!

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The gang's all here this Friday morning! It seems the chickens are basking in the sun – even they need a spring break!

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"Shut the blinds – I'm still sleeping!" We know that feeling, Mr. Tuggs, but the weekend is right around the corner!

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Lauren Cichocki, Animal Husbandry Coordinator, is deconstructing  a coop that is no longer in use. For the complete "scoop inside the coop," check out our chicken keeping workshop on how to raise and keep healthy chickens!

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Lynn Trizna, Rodale Institute St. Luke’s Organic Farm project manager, is paying a visit to the greenhouse to check on the progress of the onions. They're in great shape, making Lynn do anything but cry!

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Like these organic potted tulips, our excitement for spring is growing bigger and bigger! The flowers will poke their heads up any day now. Find one to take home or give as a gift at Rodale Institute's Spring Thaw event on March 28!

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It's sunny and the snow is slowing melting. What better day to spend outside caring for cows? Dr. Hubert Karreman, Adjunct Staff Veterinarian here at Rodale Institute, is in the middle of giving a bovine health lesson during one of his classes.

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Meanwhile at the Garden Store, shelves are stocked with new books inspiring us to grab our gloves and get gardening! Rodale Institute can help you start your own at the Organic Gardening workshop on March 21!

How will these cows spend their weekend? This photographer suggests they have a moooovie night!

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

What you eat can truly change your life

In appreciation of their support, we invite Rodale Institute Business Members to share an article about their work on our website. These articles often include insightful information based on their experience and line of work. It provides a unique perspective of organic agriculture that we enjoy sharing with our readers.

By Shari Leidich, founder of Two Moms in the Raw

Lately, the Colorado weather has been like my fast approaching journey to menopause. One day warm and lovable, the next day dipping into single digits and wanting to take out a person or two. Even though I go to yoga and eat well I still have a problem with that person at the gym who places her bench right near mine when the room is empty! Am I wrong?

Shari and her family, enjoying some delicious raw treats!

Shari and her family, enjoying some delicious raw treats!

I often wonder the change in temperature and impact of the barometric pressure on my hormones and am ever so thankful to have the tools I need to stay balanced (90%, no 80%, okay, 75% of the time). Don’t judge! My arsenal of self-care begins with sleep, exercise and feeding me and my family clean, organic foods.

Fortunately for my company, there are organizations like the Rodale Institute that support organic and make it easy for Two Moms to source ingredients. The organic certification process is an amazing practice we have in place in our country. From the soil and the farmers, to the processing and handling facilities, there are strict rules set forth to ensure all foods that carry the organic label are the best of the best. Without the Rodale Institute’s persistent and pioneering efforts in organic farming, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

I’m a mom of three, an entrepreneur and a big believer in organic and raw foods. In 2004, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and suddenly went from exercising and hiking daily, to barely being able to hold a pen. Through research, I found that a natural approach to healing – including an organic and raw foods diet – worked best for me and helped me control my MS symptoms.

I couldn’t find any tasty on-the-go raw snacks, so I created my own and Two Moms in the Raw was born in 2006. Like our ingredients, our business has truly grown organically – from Boulder, Colorado’s Farmer’s Market to distribution in national stores like Whole Foods Market. Today, we are a growing and successful company that makes 100% organic, Non-GMO, raw, sprouted, vegan and gluten-free delicious snacks including: granola bars, nut bars, truffles, crackers and grain free cereal.

What you eat can truly change your life – it certainly did mine. After being diagnosed with MS, diet became my savior and today, I am symptom-free. Without pioneering organizations like Rodale Institute who help assure that organic foods are readily available, I know I wouldn’t be as healthy as I am today. Now, I feel like the lucky one since I get to help make healthy, organic, nutritionally-dense, tasty snacks available to everyone!

Did you know that raw foods (like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds) are alive? You can plant them, and they will grow! So, of course, we should be putting “live” foods in our mouths to help our bodies thrive and grow. Also, at Two Moms in the Raw, we soak, sprout and rinse many of our ingredients to further maximize their nutritional benefits. It’s a really neat process and we feel like we do it all day long since we source and sprout a lot of organic almonds – 100,000 pounds annually! We also source and sprout 26,700 pounds of organic millet annually from a local Colorado company. And, we sprout 154,000 pounds of organic gluten-free oat groats annually for our granola bars. Oat groats provide the body with a complex source of carbohydrates and help clean the gut as they are high in soluble fiber.

Like the Rodale Institute, we believe in improving the health and well-being of people. We know our products are good for you and good for the planet, and these two things keep us excited about the work we do every day. Now, enjoy spring, get out in your garden, start growing some sprouts and fuel your body with some healthy, organic fuel. And, of course, when all else fails blame it on the weather!

Meet Shari Leidich

Shari Leidich is the founder of Two Moms in the Raw, a family-run company that makes raw, sprouted, 100% organic, gluten-free granola bars, nut bars, sea crackers, and truffles. Two Moms in the Raw snacks have been singled out by Outside, Vegetarian Times, and Delicious Living. Shari lives in Colorado with her husband, Greg, and her three children.

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