We’ve been putting science behind best practices in organic agriculture for more than 70 years. 

Our mission is to conduct rigorous research designed to help us uncover the most effective, efficient, and regenerative farming practices. Shared with farmers and consumers worldwide, our research acts as a catalyst for change in food systems around the globe.

From our 40-year-old Farming Systems Trial—the longest-running side-by-side comparison of grain cropping systems in America—to new and exciting research on industrial hemp, we continue to develop best practices for farmers that are grounded in practical data.

Research Areas of Focus

Growing organic agriculture by helping farmers fight pests, disease and weeds without synthetic chemicals, and helping farmers transition from conventional to organic methods

Mitigating and adapting to climate change with resilient farming systems

Solving food insecurity by growing nutrient-dense foods

Farming Systems Trial

Rodale Institute’s Farming Systems Trial, the oldest side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional grain cropping systems in North America, is evidence that organic can compete with—and outperform—conventional agriculture.

Learn More About FST

Vegetable Systems Trial

The Vegetable Systems Trial, designed to compare the nutrient density between vegetable crops grown organically and conventionally under controlled conditions, is the first of its kind.

Learn More About VST

Watershed Impact Trial

In partnership with Stroud Water Research Center, we are investigating the effects of organic and conventional farming methods on one of our most precious resources: water.

Learn More About the Watershed Trial

Industrial Hemp Trial

Our groundbreaking research on industrial hemp explores this versatile crop’s potential to heal soil and support American farmers as a cash and cover crop.

Learn More About the Hemp Trial

Pastured Pork

Nearly all commercial hogs are raised in confinement, and we think that should change. Our research investigates best practices for raising hogs healthily and humanely on pasture.

Learn more about pastured pork

Crop Livestock Integration

Researchers at Iowa State University, the University of Minnesota, and Rodale Institute conducted a four-year project to evaluate the production, environmental, and economic benefits of growing cash crops with forage crops for grazing.

learn more about our crop livestock integration study

Integrated Weed Management

Weed management remains one of the biggest challenges and most resource-intensive activities for certified organic producers and farmers transitioning to organic.

In response, Rodale Institute, is launching a new research program to address this issue by developing Integrated Weed Management (IWM) strategies for organic systems.

Learn More About Integrated Weed Management

Southern Piedmont Climate-Smart Project

Rodale Institute, in partnership with a team of twelve universities, farming NGOs, and consulting firms, is working with vegetable farmers and farmers markets in the Southern Piedmont to promote the adoption of climate-smart farming practices and expand markets for the sale of climate-smart commodities.

Learn More About Our Southern Piedmont Climate-Smart Project

Additional Research

In addition to our long-term trials, we constantly investigate topics including nutrient management, improved techniques for composting, soil carbon accrual, pest and disease prevention, and more.

Browse Research Updates

Our Scientists

Bharat Sharma Acharya, Ph.D.

Research Director, Southeast Organic Center

Leigh Archer, Ph.D.

Director of Perennial Systems Research

Arianna Bozzolo, Ph.D

Research Director, California Organic Center

Saurav Das, Ph.D.

Director, Farming Systems Trial

Michael Graham, Ph.D.

Climate Scientist

Dario Fornara, Ph.D.

Research Director, European Regenerative Organic Center

Arash Ghale, Ph.D.

Research Director, Pennsylvania

Said Hamido, Ph.D.

Soil Scientist

Dinesh Panday, Ph.D.

Soil Scientist

Jacob Pecenka, Ph.D.

Post-Doctoral Research Associate, California Organic Center

Sean Stokes, Ph.D.

Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Midwest Organic Center

Kristie Wendelberger, Ph.D.

Climate-Smart Project Director

Gladis Zinati, Ph.D.

Director, Vegetable Systems Trial