Soil health is the very foundation on which the Rodale Institute was established and the goal which we continue to champion. From cover crops and no-till to compost and legume rotations, the concept of improving soil health has found its way into most of the projects on our farm. While there is no standard definition of soil health, there are a few clear indicators of a healthy soil community many of which have informed organic farming practices. Organic growers rely on the surrounding soil and ecosystem biology to support their crops rather than the chemistry of pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer companies.
In the past decade there has been more and more interest in identifying and understanding all the microorganisms essential to plant life and how they affect the growth of agricultural crops. There is still much to be discovered in regards to what makes healthy soil, which is why we continue to explore ways to create the ideal soil conditions for growing good food.
In addition to our research, we also offer classes on soil biology and teach people how to use a simple, easy microscope shadowing method so they can assess their own soil biology. And we now offer a soil lab test that provides a qualitative assessment of your soil samples by mail.