Despite ongoing challenges, the regenerative organic movement continued to flourish in 2021 as farmers invested in their land, consumers demanded more from their food suppliers, and researchers committed to clearing the path for farmers to succeed.
As consumers and farmers realized the power of regenerative organic food in 2021, organic acres have reached a new record, 9.3 million, up 5.5% from last year. Organic sales have continued to grow, rising 12.4% over the last year and cresting $61 billion in sales.
Like the regenerative organic movement, Rodale Institute is growing fast—and we’re ready to make big changes in our food system. Will you join us today?
Let’s round up some of our biggest updates from 2021:
- As part of a broader initiative to provide relief from the Covid-19 pandemic to farmers, the United States Department of Agriculture announced that it will provide $20 million of assistance to farmers who are certified organic or transitioning to certified organic through the Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program.
- Our Organic Crop Consulting service reached over 300 farmer clients and expanded our team (and on the ground, local support) to include 12 Organic Consultants!
- Together, Rodale Institute and Cohere hosted the first “Grow Clean Water hub,” a public educational installation aimed at linking clean water and healthy food at The Viaduct, a “secret garden” under Philadelphia’s Reading Viaduct Rail Park. In April, the first Earth Day event was held at The Viaduct to celebrate food, farming, and water with Philadelphia families.
- North America’s longest-running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional farming—Rodale Institute’s Farming Systems Trial—celebrated 40 years! Stay tuned for our 40-Year Research Report.
- Pocono Organics became the first Regenerative Organic Certified™ hemp farm in the world, producing a renowned line of full spectrum CBD hemp products.
- Supplement brand True Grace invested in 300 hours of organic consulting for farmers in their home state of Wisconsin, as well as in research of nutrient density, as part of their mission-based model.
- The regenerative organic movement continued to expand beyond food to apparel, as shown by significant investments in regenerative organic by brands like Taylor Stitch, Everlane, and Yes And.
- In August, Rodale Institute signed a five-year agreement of academic cooperation with Kutztown University, establishing a research affiliation with the nearby institute of higher education.
- Davines Village, the headquarters of haircare brand Davines in Parma, Italy, will become the site of the Davines Group – Rodale Institute European Regenerative Organic Center, the first international Regional Resource Center by Rodale Institute.
- In October, 63 students from eight higher learning institutions visited Rodale Institute’s Kutztown headquarters for the Northeast Regional Soil Judging Competition. Students visited pits dug through Rodale Institute’s 333-acre campus, including near the 40-year-old Farming Systems Trial. This year’s competition was the first time the soil judging had taken place on a certified organic farm.
- A $1.2 million donation from The GIANT Company was given to the Rodale Institute Farmer Training program. The funds were raised through The GIANT Company’s Healing Our Planet campaign, which ran from March to May, and allowed customers to round up their checkout purchases to the nearest dollar at GIANT, MARTIN’S and GIANT Heirloom Market stores.
- A partnership between Rodale Institute and Philadelphia-based restaurant South Philly Barbacoa, ancient varieties of corn seeds reaching back to the Lenni Lenape were cultivated on Rodale Institute’s Kutztown farm. Working with Rodale Institute’s Organic Consulting Service, owners Cristina and Ben hope to find a way to bring pieces of Cristina’s native Mexico to Eastern Pennsylvania, all while improving not only the taste and nutrient density of their corn, but the soil and human health through organic farming methods.
- Cornwall Manor Retirement Community announced a unique collaboration and the creation of the “Cornwall Manor Rodale Institute Trailside Organic Farm,” a certified organic vegetable farm will be established on Cornwall Manor’s Woods Campus in Lebanon County, PA.
- Rodale Institute launched the Rodale Institute Virtual Campus, a new educational platform for farmers, researchers, and the public containing online courses focused on regenerative organic topics. Courses include:
- Transition to Certified Organic
- Hobby Beekeeping
- Transition to Organic Livestock Production
- Getting Your Organic Certification
- Bell & Evans U.S. Organic Grain Initiative: This program aims to convert an additional 50,000 U.S. acres to certified organic over the next six years. Farmers who transition to organic under this program will receive consulting from Rodale Institute and guaranteed contracts and market from Cargill and Bell & Evans.
- This spring marked the first-ever round of Rodale Institute’s farmer micro-grants specifically geared towards supporting small-scale BIPOC farmers—whether organic, transitioning to organic, or an aspiring organic farmer.
Thank you for choosing to build our community. 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.