There’s big opportunity for organic agriculture in the Midwest, so we’re putting boots on the ground.

The Rodale Institute Midwest Organic Center at Eztel Sugar Grove Farm provides research, education, and assistance to farmers looking to implement organic practices on their farms. It’s also an educational center for the public, and the site of collaboration between Rodale Institute researchers and local partners.

The Midwest Organic Center is located in Marion, Iowa near Cedar Rapids.

Why Iowa?

In 2016, the USDA reported that Iowa—long considered the epicenter of agriculture—is fifth in the nation for number of certified organic farms. That makes the state representative of a growing movement. Yet the region lacks truly progressive, widespread access to research and training in regenerative organic practices.

The Midwest Organic Center, supported by Frontier Co-op, will provide support for Iowa’s organic farmers. Our goal is to enhance the growth of organic farms throughout the entire region.

Goals for the Center

1. To research innovative, regenerative, organic farming methods and provide farmers with the education and resources to implement those methods on their own farms*

2. To expand organic acreage in the Midwest

3. To gather data on the differences between conventional and organic farming methods in Iowa’s unique climate and soil

4. To expand public access to Rodale Institute’s research

5. To create progressive opportunities in agriculture

*The Midwest Organic Center will host its first field day in 2019.

About Etzel Sugar Grove Farm

Etzel Sugar Grove Farm is a 190-acre farm located in Marion, Iowa that represents the future of agriculture in Iowa. The farm implements and educates the public on regenerative agriculture practices that restore the health of Iowa’s farms, watersheds and environment.

Eztel Sugar Grove Farm is part of  Indian Creek Nature Center, Iowa’s first and only privately owned and operated non-profit nature center.

Midwest Organic Center Staff

Dr. Carl Rosier

Research Director

Dr. Carl Rosier has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and microbiology from the University of Montana. Dr. Carl Rosier uses his expertise in ecology and soil resource management to inform farmers and others about our soil environment and the effect farming practices have on this critical resource.

Kristine Lang

Extension Scientist

Kristine Lang is on track to receive a Ph.D. in Sustainable Agriculture and Horticulture from Iowa State University. Her research regionally and nationally, focuses on methods to optimize high tunnel production systems for Midwest vegetable growers.

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