Rodale Institute & Stroud Water Research Center Partnership Update

Rodale Institute is partnering with Stroud Water Research Center to conduct an exciting new research project focusing on linkages between agriculture, soil health and water quality. Stroud Water Research Center is an independent, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Avondale, PA. The organization seeks to advance knowledge and stewardship of freshwater systems through global research, education, and watershed restoration.

FST Research Director, Dr. Emmanuel Omondi explaining past year's FST results.

The project will expand Rodale Institute's Farming Systems Trial (FST), the longest running side-by-side comparison of organic versus conventional farming practices in North America, to the Natural Lands Stroud Preserve in Chester County. Research plots have been established here to match four FST management treatments testing the impacts of four grain production strategies on soil health and water quality. The plots will more fully and accurately explore the relationship between soil health and clean water.

Since the Natural Lands Stroud Preserve is located on the Christina River basin, the trial system's water run-off will allow for easier accessibility and more accurate testing. Here, new data will be collected on water infiltration, runoff, soil health, stream water quality, and contaminants with the goal of ultimately changing management practices of 50,000 acres in the watershed. Research from Rodale Institute’s Farming Systems Trial, started in 1981, has already shown that organic farms increase groundwater recharge, reduce runoff, and reduce nitrate and herbicide leachates in groundwater.

The project’s primary goal is to educate the over 15 million people who rely on the Delaware River Watershed for clean drinking water about linkages between agriculture, soil health, and water quality while evaluating the potential for innovative farm management techniques to improve soil health and provide clean water.

Rodale Institute & Stroud Water Research Center employees utilizing a pump to extract water from lysimeters located 6 feet underground.

To learn more about this project, join Rodale Institute's researchers and staff at Field Day on July 20th.  Visit the nearly 20 demonstration stations and learn from the experts on all of Rodale Institute's latest projects, including the Vegetable Systems Trial, Industrial Hemp, Composting and more! For more information and tickets visit:

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