Dig Deeper


Stop feeding the beast and start feeding the people

By Coach Mark Smallwood
Follow Coach’s blogs posts at Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen and EcoWatch

Have you ever wondered how anyone makes any money on a $2.00 bag of nacho-cheese–flavored corn chips or a $0.25 apple? Economists and policy wonks have been talking about how we privatize profits and socialize loss here in the U.S. for at least a decade. If your eyes glazed over when you read that, you are not alone. Unfortunately, we can’t afford to ignore how this big picture idea affects each and every one of us. What does it mean for Main Street America?

The way we grow our nation’s food is the perfect snapshot of this concept. Organic activists and locavores have also been talking about the same concept for just as long, if not longer: the hidden costs of cheap, industrial food. (more…)

Transition to organic

Rodale Institute has been synonymous with organic farming for decades. We’ve watched organic grow from a fringe movement to a multi-billion-dollar industry. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), with participation from the organic community, adopted federal uniform National Organic Program (NOP) Standards for organic production in 2002.

There are several considerations in the argument for transitioning to organic agriculture. From an environmental standpoint, organic agriculture builds life in the soil while avoiding the use of toxic chemicals that can accumulate in soil, water, food and people. Non-organic farming relies on dwindling fossil fuel resources, while organic farmers build their own fertility into their systems, which improve over time and do not rely on outside inputs. (more…)

Farm Photo Friday: February 21, 2014

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! (more…)

Who is responsible for GMO contamination?

From the Organic Seed Alliance

Contamination is a huge problem for farmers who don’t grow genetically engineered (GE) crops, at times costing them the premium price they receive for their crops as well as costs associated with testing, prevention, and clean-up. Contamination is also a growing burden for the organic and non-GE seed sector.

We have a historic opportunity to fundamentally change the way our government regulates GE crops and to hold the owners of GE products accountable for contamination. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting public comments on “coexistence” recommendations developed by its Advisory Committee on Biotechnology for 21st Century Agriculture (AC21).

Unfortunately these recommendations do not provide meaningful solutions for preventing contamination. We need to tell the USDA that it must focus on preventing contamination to begin with and to place responsibility where it belongs. (more…)

Chemical cotton

By Melody Meyer, Vice President of Policy and Industry Relations, United Natural Foods Incorporated (UNFI)

Did you know that every conventional cotton product we use has an effect on what we eat and that the by-products of conventional cotton production used in our clothing, personal care, bedding, furniture etc. go back into our food supply? Here are a few facts you need to know about cotton… (more…)

Want to avoid GMOs? Look for this label.

By Coach Mark Smallwood
Follow Coach’s blogs posts at Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen and EcoWatch

What do Cheerios and apples have in common? They are the latest and very public battlegrounds for the GMO debate. But these two mainstays of American childhood nutrition are headed in opposite directions. While the arctic apple, genetically modified to not brown when cut, is all but set to be approved for production, original Cheerios is now GMO-free. And while general public is wholeheartedly in support of knowing what is in their food, shoppers are still confused as to what all the labels really mean. (more…)

Farm Photo Friday: January 24, 2014

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! (more…)

Improved compost management for certified organic operations

Outcomes from current standard composting processes can range from high quality composts (rich in carbon, nitrogen, and healthy biota) to simple organic material (rich in carbon but low in nitrogen and biota) to noxious, harmful failures, depending on the input materials, weather conditions, and management practices used. Even following certified organic regulations is no guarantee that quality compost is being produced. (more…)