Rodale Institute Awarded Three PDA Grants

Rodale Institute awarded nearly $200,000 to research projects that benefit soil health and organic farmers

Rodale Institute was awarded three PA Department of Agriculture grants totaling nearly $200,000 for projects that will help organic farmers manage pests, protect crops from diseases, and increase yields while supporting soil health.

“In large part, agriculture is about science, and having the latest and best science is why research is so important,” said Secretary Redding. “For agricultural industries to thrive in the future, we need to have the benefit of the knowledge these projects offer us. That is why supporting projects like these is such a critically important investment for our economy.”

Projects include:
andrew-smith-2Vegetable Systems Trial

Researcher: Dr. Andrew Smith, Director – Vegetable Systems Trial
Award Amount: $74,000
Project Summary: In 2016, the Rodale Institute initiated the Vegetable Systems Trial (VST), a long-term side-by-side comparison of biologically-based organic and chemically-based conventional vegetable production systems.  The goal for this project is to develop economically viable vegetable production systems which improve soil, plant, human and planetary health through the application of regenerative organic management techniques. The duration of this project is expected to go well beyond 20 years with the intention of monitoring soil health, nutritive quality, environmental impact, agroecosystem resilience, and the economics of vegetable production over time while assessing how management practices directly or indirectly affect human health. Grant funding will support our comprehensive soil health analysis; environmental health assessment; and measure agroecosystem resilience.

rick-carrMicrobial Seed Treatment For Protection Against Soil-Borne Plant Pathogens
Researcher: Rick Carr, Compost Production Specialist
Award Amount: $75,000
Project Summary: This project seeks to develop a biologically-based seed treatment for controlling soil-borne plant pathogens that would benefit greenhouse and direct seeding operations. Microbes from composted substrates will be concentrated, freeze-dried into a fine powder and then applied to the surface of seeds using standard seed treatment application technologies. This study presents a novel approach for deploying microbes in agriculture and will provide an additional tool in the disease management toolbox.

gladis-zinatiVerification of Parasitism and Bacterial Wilt in Striped Cucumber Beetles Using Molecular Analyses
Researcher: Dr. Gladis Zinati, Associate Research Scientist
Award Amount: $45,000
Project Summary: The goal of this grant proposal is track bacterial wilt progression and parasitism in cucumber beetles during the growing season using molecular techniques. The specific objectives of this project are to 1) determine whether cucumber beetles and parasitoids collected over three different dates are carriers of the E. tracheiphila pathogen, and 2) determine percent parasitism of collected striped cucumber beetles by the tachinid fly and braconid wasp in various management systems at three different dates in 2016.

Media Contact:
Diana Martin
Director of Communications, Rodale Institute
611 Siegfriedale Road
Kutztown, PA 19530-9320 USA
Phone: 610-683-1443
Cell Phone: 717-405-1844

One Response to “Rodale Institute Awarded Three PDA Grants”

  1. Nancy Parker

    I am grateful for the day that a child showed up at my door selling magazines as a fund raiser for a school. I was raised “organic” gardening by a father who would only use sterilized manure on his garden – so, to further my interest in gardening that would produce healthy to ingest produce for my family, I subscribed to Organic Gardening Magazine – from that I joined the book club and collected a number of ur better publications – when I lived in CT when I was young, renting a place that had had nice gardens at one time and was set up already for a small plot garden, I went to work growing my own garden – grew a lot of stuff successfully , even celery but…I sucked into using commercial pesticides (this was before I learned about Mr. Rodales techniques of inter/companion planting w/ plants that would repel bugs naturally)….when it came to harvesting and using the items I grew I couldn’t eat any of it because I could taste the chemicals in all of it – I guess I was gifted w/ sensitive taste buds – and so when I moved to Maryland and set up a raised bed garden, there where no chemicals -on my garden – I learned a lot of useful techniques on my own – by experimenting – I learned it didn’t pay to be too hasty to clean up the debris from fallen leaves in the fall (too busy with playing mommy and pet owner) – I learned to let some of the crop remain on the plants – ex. cherry tomatoes – some dropped, rotted amongst the leasves and in the spring I had more cherry tomato plants than I knew what to do with – I also learned a lot from a magazine called Farmstead which I believe wa published out of Maine – it went out of publication unfortunately – but ur books, I am grateful for – Ruth Stout – Gene Hodgdens Book of Practical Skills, Success with Small Food Gardens, etc. etc. I am a yankee that relocated to the south (Florida) some time ago and had the opportunity to work in a greenhouse geared towards ornamentals because landscaping had become the craze here with all the building – I became familiar w/ “Florida” plants – from there I took on a gardening position at a local cemetery (something I had done seasonally “up North” – I observed problems here that I determined were due to soil chemistry and water chemistry and was able to resolve them and have great success – didn’t know I had it in me – now they have a problem w/ their “Springs” and don’t realize it is probably from the application of fertilizers that contain a lot of nitrogen which doesn’t always get utilized due to the ph of the soil – my background in chemistry allowed me to understand the literature I found when researching to understand the growin gproblems I had – of course, they could have a problem w/ naturally occurring beds of phosphorous since there is a town here that grew out of mining for phosphorus – which is what, after a lot of money was spent on aerial photography in Danbury CT area when they had a problem with Candlewood lake and were determined to prove that it was due to septic run-off – low and behold it was all due to a naturally occurring bed of phosphorous (if I remember correctly) and of course, in Idaho they had to learn that their decision to ban the use of manure on their fields and replace w/ chemical fertilizers was a mistake when it came to the snake river – here in Florida I realized I didn’t even need a compost heap because it gets so hot things fry in the heat so I learned, for my own little garden, I could take the trimmings from vegetable I was cooking and food process them and just spread around my plants (adapted from Ruth Stout) why am I writing all this – they have an EPA here, they have a Dept of Agriculture and can’t resolve their problems with the springs -perhaps u should run some articles on the abov e issues and send their offices complimentery issues when u publish them – no one listens to me and I don’t have the time to “talk myself blue in the face” s my mother would say – in addition, fyi, due to the problem w/ nitrogen absorption here because my boss wouldn’t listen when I tried to explain to him at the cemetery that he could put a filter on his pump and filter out the lime (which is exactly what the farmers that came here originally came here for – to grow vegetable ) I told him that he shoult get me some chemical fertilizer that I could apply by spraying directly onto some boxwood that was whiting out due to lack of nitrogen and get me a sprayer and I would show him a miracle – it worked – almost instant greening up – the last issue I received of Smithsonian had an interesting article on a hydroponics operation started in an area that had become very depressed – so, thank u for all ur wonderful work – suppose I shoul d subscribe again – no land to garden anymore , sadly, lots of land here but it seems all they do is plant grass and ornamentals to the point that one of the major occupations Is mowing grass – very sad – they should sure use ur help here – particularly Ocala which still has Livestock pavilion and a place set up for sample gardens and a training program for “master gardeners” – the last time I was able to get there their plots did not look so great and the work at the cemetery that I went to work in that had been done b4 me by “master” gardeners, was inappropriately done – perhaps because they were following the instructions of a CEO that wanted to be a landscape architect but knew nothing about growing anything – that was the reason I quit – so, have a good xmas and consider expanding ur operation to Central/Northern or all of Florida – it would be nice to see some of the community gardens that have sprung up else where, even in NY city, with Mrs. Obamas push to grow ur own – have a good one –


Leave a Reply