Since organic sales were first tracked in 1997 (they totaled $3.5 billion that year), the market has seen nearly 15x growth. We’re now looking at a nearly $50 billion industry that continues to expand. In just the last decade, the organic market has more than doubled in size.

Chart of organic food industry growth 2008-17. Source: Organic Trade Association

2018 brought some changes and exciting developments to the industry, including new Farm Bill provisions for organic, the introduction of Regenerative Organic Certification, and the groundbreaking decision in the case against Monsanto (now Bayer).

Dewayne Johnson in court
Dewayne Johnson, a groundskeeper who sued Monsanto/Bayer on charges that their Roundup product caused his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was awarded $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages. Source: Getty Images/New York Times

As the global leader in regenerative organic agriculture and pioneers of the movement for more than 70 years, we’re committed to making organic the norm.

Here’s what we accomplished in 2018 to help move the needle:

  • Our Regenerative Organic Certification, first introduced in late 2017, entered a pilot process. 22 farms and brands are testing the framework on the ground and our hope is to see the first ROC products on shelves in 2019.

    goats grazing on pasture
    Raising animals on pasture, a tenet of Regenerative Organic Certification, improves the soil, sequesters carbon, and improves the animals’ quality of life

  • The Watershed Impact Trial, our new longterm research endeavor with Stroud Water Research Center, got underway. This year we broke ground on the 40-acre study comparing organic and conventional farming systems and their effects on run-off and clean water. The project will run for at least 5 more years.

    Overlooking the research fields of the Watershed Impact Travel at the Natural Lands Preserve in Chester County, Pennsylvania

  • We’ve officially partnered with Penn State College of Medicine. Our goal is to connect food production and healthcare while promoting and improving public health.
  • Our research on industrial hemp continues to gather data for American farmers on the benefits of hemp for soil health and weed suppression.

    Industrial hemp has huge potential as both a cash and cover crop

  • Alongside PBS, we produced Food as Medicine, a documentary exploring the links between soil health and human health while investigating the effects of a plant-based diet on chronic disease.
  • Our Vegetable Systems Trial, a groundbreaking comparison study of nutritional differences between organic and conventional vegetables, completed its second year.

    Young man harvest sweet corn
    Harvesting sweet corn from plots in the Vegetable Systems Trial, summer 2018

  • We joined up with the team at Pocono Raceway, a NASCAR hotspot, to launch Pocono Organics, a state-of-the-art regenerative organic farm in Long Pond, PA. The farm will bring unprecedented access to organic foods to the area and create much-needed jobs for military vets.

    mattioli family and staff from pocono raceway
    Breaking ground at Pocono Organics

  • In partnership with Natural Grocers, we raised nearly $100,000 to support the Organic Farmers Association, a national membership body for organic farmers that represents their interests in Washington, D.C.
  • We secured $500,000 in state funding to fuel our organic research.

    State representatives joined staff at Rodale Institute at the 2018 Field Day event to announce new funding for organic research

  • We brought together a group of 25 leading medical professionals, soil scientists, farmers, and food service providers to explore the intersections of agriculture and healthcare. We plan to publish our findings in a white paper in 2019.
  • Hundreds of beginning farmers, backyard gardeners, and other enthusiasts joined us for hands-on training through our long-term programs, workshops, and webinars.

    classroom learning at Rodale Institute
    Staff at Rodale Institute teach students about topics including plant health, soil biology, and more

If you’re a donor to Rodale Institute, thank you. These programs are just some examples of your dollars hard at work.

Here’s to a bright, productive, and organic new year ahead. Cheers!

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