Rodale Institute: The Birthplace of Organic Farming in the U.S.

Producer: Monica Rogozinski
Rodale Institute is the birthplace of organic agriculture in North America. For more than 60 years it has scientifically researched, documented and shared the benefits of organic food for human and environmental health. Set on 333 acres in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, the nonprofit farm offers comprehensive programs serving a range of people, from farmers to educators to community leaders to gardeners to children.
The Rodale Institute is a research farm, conducting carefully monitored experiments to determine the best growing practices for organic agriculture. It is an educational institution, sharing its findings with people around the globe. It is a certified organic farm, demonstrating that its research results work on a
Commercial scale.
The origins of the Rodale Institute go back to the work done J.I. Rodale and his personal struggle with his own health. Rodale bought a 63-acre farm in Emmaus, Pennsylvania to grow food organically in 1941 and in 1942 decided to share with the world his experiences and published the Organic Farming and Gardening Magazine. He later changed the name to Organic Gardening. In 1947 Rodale founded the Soil and Health Foundation (known today at the Rodale Institute). J.I. understood even then that healthy soil is the foundation for growing healthy food. In fact, the Rodale Institute’s motto, Healthy Soil= Healthy Food=Healthy People, was first chalked onto a blackboard by J.I. in 1947. After J.I. died in 1971, his son and daughter-in-law Robert and Ardath Rodale continued to expand on the work he had begun. In 1972 they bought the 333 acre farm on which the Institute now resides and began a new era of research to develop a regenerative system of agriculture that would enhance and improve every aspect of growing and eating food. The Institute’s detailed research helped launch today’s global organic movement and continues to provide rigorous, credible scientific data to promote organics in mainstream markets in the United States and throughout the world.

Jeff Moyer, executive director of the Rodale Institute, talks about the benefits and the growth of organic agriculture.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal