Dig Deeper


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…)

Allowed or prohibited?

By Lindsay Fernandez-Salvador, OMRI

At OMRI we are often asked why we consider one material to be allowed for organic use, while a similar material might be prohibited. Sometimes an applicant will even try to persuade us to accept a specific ingredient that, from their perspective, should be allowed in organics. Decisions regarding allowed and prohibited materials actually rely on a much larger process and more stakeholders than just OMRI.

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), a volunteer board comprised of representatives from various sectors of the organic industry, work year-round to discuss the pros and cons of each material proposed for organic use. The board meets twice yearly to vote on final recommendations to the National Organic Program (NOP). It is then the NOP which chooses to begin the rulemaking process in accordance with an NOSB recommendation to allow the material or not. (more…)

Farm Photo Friday: January 17, 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!

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Agriculture Supported Communities (ASC) internships available!

We are now accepting applications for Internship Positions in our Agriculture Supported Communities (ASC) Program for the 2014 growing season. The ASC Program is a modified farm share program offering affordable payment plans to make fresh, local, organic produce accessible to just about anyone in the community. Internship participants will be trained and involved in every aspect of running a small local organic grower’s business.

The ASC Program focuses on hands-on training in seed starting, greenhouse production & seasonal extensions, transplanting, pest & weed management, soil health, introduction to large equipment, harvesting, processing, marketing, customer relations, and working with community partners.  (more…)

The heart of a farmer

By Sara Snow

I’ve been wondering lately how many farmers have always seen themselves as farmers? Even if they didn’t start driving daddy’s tractor at age 9 and take over the family farm themselves shortly into adulthood, did they always know that someday that’s where they’d be? See, I know quite a few late-in-life farmers. Farmers who used to work desk jobs. Farmers who used to be globetrotting, briefcase carrying workers. Farmers who used to make cheese (that’s at least vaguely akin to farming) or cook cheese (and a lot of other foods) in restaurants. Did they always feel like they were farmers at heart?

When I was young my dad was like a lot of other dads; he put on a crisp shirt and shiny shoes and headed off to work each morning. It’s true that most of the work he did happened behind a desk, a computer, or on a phone, but he had a mission, and that was to change the world for the better through better food. He may not have seen himself as a farmer back then but he had an inkling I think. (more…)

Senior Director of Development opportunity

The Senior Director of Development is a senior position who is responsible for oversight of all aspects of the Rodale Institute’s development operation including:  capital campaign, annual campaign, major gifts, corporate relations, foundation relations, donor relations, events, and development services. This position will be responsible for leading and implementing fundraising strategies for Major Gifts and implementing a cultivation strategy. This includes developing and implementing a short and long range development plan, meeting with current and potential major donors, and expanding the donor network. The Senior Director of Development supervises all members of the Development and Communications Team. The Senior Director of Development reports to the Executive Director. (more…)

Farm Photo Friday: January 10, 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!

It’s been quite an exciting week for us here at the farm!  Despite the freezing temperatures brought by the Arctic Vortex, there’s been an abundance of warmth here.  For instance, here is Tammy the Tamworth, keeping warm in the spring house, just a day before she delivered 13 piglets. (more…)

Rodale Institute Expands Scope, Adds Staff

(Kutztown, Pennsylvania) Rodale Institute, a non-profit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach, today announced the addition of new staff members to support the Institute’s implementation of replicable, farm-scale models of organic agricultural methods.

These models demonstrate best methods for integrating livestock and plant production, especially in the cycle of crop rotations where livestock play an important role.  The models also serve as research opportunities where data can be collected and used to further develop best practices and improve organic methods. (more…)

Keeping your CSA members

By John and Aimee Good

Retaining members from year to year is a key component of operating a successful Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. It is a good indication of satisfaction among customers and reduces marketing time and costs. Happy shareholders will tell their friends and neighbors about the farm, and “word of mouth” is the most effective and inexpensive form of advertisement. Member retention is an important part of our management strategy and is necessary for economic sustainability. (more…)

Research Interns needed at Rodale Institute

Rodale Institute’s Research Department investigates a number of scientific and regenerative 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, and yields. The Department also oversees the Farming Systems Trial (FST), the oldest continuous trial in the US that compares organic and conventional farming systems.

To support this research, our interns work with staff researchers to lay out experimental field plots, assist with greenhouse plantings, conduct lab experiments, tend and maintain experiments, collect and process samples from the field, and enter data for statistical analysis and interpretation. This work involves physical activities in the field, lab work, and computer use, operating both in teams and individually. Many long days in the field collecting soil samples, assessing weed populations, and picking crops to determine yield should be expected. Interns that can work for two or more months duration, between May and December are desired. Preference will be given to applicants who can be present for longer periods of time. (more…)