What a year! We’ve made it to the end of 2020, and along the way learned so much about human health, our communities, and our planet.

2020 exposed frailties in our systems and pushed us to consider how to make meaningful change. While we’re nowhere near done, Rodale Institute is proud of the growth of the regenerative organic movement and the strength of the farmers, researchers, and consumers that make this growth a reality.

As consumers and farmers realized the power of regenerative organic food in 2020, organic acres have reached a new record, 3.4 million, up 4% from last year. In the first few months of the pandemic, organic sales skyrocketed, rising 22% in March, 18% in April, and 16% in May, and continuing to rise the rest of the year.

A customer picks up organic produce at Rodale Institute’s Mobile Market pop up Farmer’s Market at Lehigh Valley Hospital.

We want to keep up this momentum going into 2021, but we need your help to get there. We can’t lose the strides we’ve made this year. In a year full of turmoil, will you help us heal the planet?

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Here are more updates on the how the regenerative organic movement grew in 2020:

  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the CARES Act, which provided almost $24 billion dollars to the USDA to aid farmers affected by the pandemic, recognizing their essential role in feeding the country and supporting local food systems.
  • Regenerative Organic Certified™ officially launched their standard, opening the certification to any producer looking to improve soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness.
Regenerative organic agriculture made strides in 2020 as standards like Regenerative Organic Certified entered the market.
Rodale Institute’s Organic Crop Consulting service meets farmers where they are to transition some or all of their land to organic.
“Farming in Harmony,” a new mural at Rodale Institute, takes inspiration from Anna Rodale’s painting and the beauty of regenerative organic farms.
  • More families than ever began backyard gardening this spring, selling out seeds and garden supplies and ensuring a nearby food source that could give them peace of mind. Find out more about how we helped new gardeners get started this year!
  • This year, health was more important than ever. Two of Eastern Pennsylvania’s biggest hospital networks, Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s University Health Network, recognized the health benefits of regenerative organic food and partnered with Rodale Institute’s Agriculture Supported Communities program and Luke’s Rodale Institute Organic Farm on clinical trials measuring the health benefits of organic food consumption.
  • Rodale Institute released two free, downloadable white papers on the role of organic agriculture in improving human health and combatting the climate crisis.
  • New films were released that brought the beauty and promise of regenerative organic agriculture, healthy soil, and the world beneath our feet to your living room. Check out these movies on streaming or rental services near you:
    • Kiss The Ground, a deep dive into regenerative agriculture’s potential to combat climate change (see if you can catch any familiar faces like our Board member Maria Rodale!)
    • Fantastic Fungi, a beautiful time-lapse documentary bringing the invisible life in the soil to a grand scale (check out our interview with the director!)
    • Gather, a portrait of Native Americans reclaiming their food sovereignty.
A-dae Romero-Briones (Kiowa/Cochiti), at the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation in the Capay Valley, CA.

All of us at Rodale Institute know that this year demanded a great deal of your time, compassion, dollars, and more. Thank you for choosing to remain a part of our community when so much else required your attention. Now is the time to gather around those that share your vision of an organic future, and Rodale Institute is honored to make a difference with you.

If you’re considering philanthropic contributions this holiday season, donations to Rodale Institute are tax-deductible and go towards helping farmers transition their land to organic and the research that helps them achieve their goals. Consider a gift to Rodale Institute today.

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