Dig Deeper

Challenges & Policy Recommendations for Expanding Organic in the US

Guest post by the National Organic Coalition (NOC). The National Organic Coalition is a national alliance of organizations working to provide a "Washington voice" for farmers, ranchers, environmentalists, consumers and industry members involved in organic agriculture. NOC has created a white paper to explore in greater depth the challenges limiting domestic production of organic crops, as well as policy and market-based tools that could help to address those challenges. Below is an executive summary of this white paper. Click here for the full document. If you have questions pertaining to this executive summary, please contact author. (more…)

Vermicomposting for Beginners

Solid waste generation in the United States continues to rise at a steady rate. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generated about 254 million tons of trash in 2013, which is the equivalent of 4.40 pounds per person per day. Yard debris and food waste combined account for nearly 30% of the materials disposed in US landfills. These materials can be easily composted in municipal and backyard composting systems and fortunately, composting collection programs have been increasing with increasing waste generation. However, backyard composting may not be an option for many individuals that wish to divert their materials from the landfill because they lack yard space, time or energy or else live in a rental unit; therefore, vermicomposting becomes an attractive alternative. What’s more, vermicomposting can be a powerful educational tool for teaching children about decomposition, microbiology, earthworms and the importance of managing organic residuals such as food waste at home. (more…)

Rodale Institute Development Internship

Location: Rodale Institute Experimental Farm, 611 Siegfriedale Road, Kutztown, PA 19530

Responsibilities Could Include:
• Assist Development team with upcoming events: Organic Pioneer Awards, Apple Festival, Field Day, plant sales, etc.
• Provide support for annual giving campaigns
• Help maintain database of current and prospective donors
• Assist in creation of end-of-year donor appeal (more…)

Preparing Soil Samples in Rodale Institute’s Lab

By Jesse Barrett – Rodale Institute, Organic Allentown Program Manager

After assisting Rodale Institute Research Technicians, Tara Caton and Emily Lesher, with collecting the zero to twenty centimeter soil samples from our FST (Farming Systems Trial) fields, I was left wondering how the soil samples were prepared for analysis. Tara and Emily are responsible for processing the thousands of soil samples collected from various fields from around our farm over the growing season. They both took some time from their lab work to explain the process to me. The procedure relies on drying the samples, sieving them, and then sent out to a Penn State Extension laboratory for further analysis. (more…)

Rodale Institute Research Internship

Job Description: Research interns work directly with Rodale Institute’s Research Department to investigate a number of regenerative organic farming issues, including cover crop practices, organic weed management, organic no-till systems, compost use, influences of agricultural practices on water quality, and effects of mycorrhizae and other soil biota on crop and soil health. The Department also oversees the Farming Systems Trial (FST), the oldest continuous trial in the US that compares organic and conventional farming systems, and the new Vegetable Systems Trial (VST), comparing the impacts organic and conventional farming practices on nutrient density in vegetables and linkages to soil health. (more…)