Tuesday, October 27, 2009

RODALE INSTITUTE : Agriculture and Climate Change

Name: Rodale Institute
Location: Kutztown, Pennsylvania
Years: 1947 to present
Funding: Natural Resources Conservation Services, various grants from PEDA, OFRF
Researchers: Paul Hepperly, Research Director

Rodale Institute was founded in Kutztown, Pennsylvania in 1947 by organic pioneer J.I. Rodale, The Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit vertical research-based organization whose focus is climate change and world hunger. Their research is based on a well-honed belief that agriculture is the key that unlocks the global warming and climate change problems. Soil scientists and a cooperating network of researchers have documented that organic farming techniques offer the best opportunities for increasing the nutrient density of foods as well as reduce climate change due to carbon emissions.

A leader in regenerative agriculture, the Institute does ground-breaking (no pun intended) research on their Experimental Farm where field trials test and compare the health of the soil with its ability to produce healthy food. Their 333-acre organic certified farm is devoted to research, education and food production. Farming Systems Trial®, the longest-running U.S. study comparing organic and conventional farming techniques, is the basis for their practical training to thousands of farmers in Africa, Asia and the Americas.

Tim LaSalle, Rodale’s CEO is a respected voice for organic farming and has been urging members of Congress to consider the 28 years of research findings of the human health, energy and economic benefits of organic farming over conventional farming methods. He suggests that instead of using chemistry as the basis for measuring soil production capacity, that farmers use the soil biology that can naturally regenerate the organic properties without chemical fertilizers, and without putting CO2 back into the atmosphere.

Through regenerative agricultural practices, organic farms have the potential to increase food production; increase the quality and therefore the capacity of soil production, improve the nutrient density of foods, reduce chemical contamination of our waterways, and reduce greenhouse gases and energy consumption.

The Institute has instantiated its international footprint through partnerships with Africare, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the governments of Japan, Norway, Switzerland and member countries of the European Union.


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