We’re working to address the unique challenges of southern farmers, an emerging market for organic production.

The Rodale Institute Southeast Organic Center in Chattahoochee Hills, GA (about an hour from Atlanta), aims to increase organic production in the region by serving as a research and education hub.

Why Georgia?

Despite organic having grown to a $50 billion industry annually in the United States, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, Georgia has only 88 certified organic farms, representing just 0.5% of organic farms in the United States. Historically, organic production has been low in southern states, where warm weather makes it harder to deal with pests, disease and weeds without synthetic chemicals like pesticides and herbicides.

However, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, the South saw the most growth in organic farming from 2011-2016. For example, Alabama and South Carolina both saw increases of more than 200% since 2011. And several other Southern states saw their certified organic farm count more than double in those five years.

Goals for the Center

The Southeast Organic Center serves as a research and education hub focused on:

Increasing the number of farms and acres in organic production in the region.

Establishing a long-term research trial to determine changes in soil health, yields, economic models, and more in this unique climate & soil type.

Solving challenges for organic farmers in the region, including pests, disease, weed management.

Farmer training and pathways to market.

The Farm

The Southeast Organic Center is located on Many Fold Farm, a 300-acre property in the Chattahoochee Hills owned by Rebecca and Ross Williams. The property, formerly used for cheesemaking, includes pasture-based livestock, and forest.

“Many Fold Farm, our staff, and Rodale Institute share a belief that healthy soil is the key to human health and our ability to survive on our planet,” said Rebecca Williams. “Strong scientific and economic models that allow regenerative organic farmers to compete with conventional agriculture are necessary to shift the paradigm of how we grow our food.”

Serenbe

A key partner of the Southeast Organic Center will be nearby Serenbe, a wellness community that offers a unique opportunity for consumer education and community engagement. Serenbe will allow the Southeast Organic Center to connect farmers and eaters with educational programming, healthy eating events and more.

JOIN THE TEAM

Each member of the Rodale Institute team is passionate about improving the well-being of people and the planet through innovative organic research and leadership.

Apply Today

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