Regenerative Agriculture as Practiced at Rodale Farm

Regenerative Agriculture as practiced at Rodale Farm is Productive, Competitive and Sustainable. Nearly 30 years of trialling organic v conventional farming has the indisputable research data based on over 50 peer reviewed publications to prove it.

Rodale Institute trials are the longest experiment into the effects of conventional and organic farming systems on soil health, plant productions, economics and other interests.

Jerome. I. Rodale, who founded Rodale Inc. in 1930, knew that there was a direct relationship between the declining health of America’s soil and the health of America’s people, a revolutionary view in those days. Jerome, who had been given 2 years to live when in his 30’s, attended health seminars and was told to move to the country and eat only what he produced by farming organically. He did this, recovered his health and dedicated the rest of his life to tell his story, to educate on the importance of diet and to demonstrate that there was no need for chemicals.

If you trace the history of organic farming, organic food, and alternative medicine in America, you’ll find Rodale at the heart of it all. Rodale was a pioneer in so many areas of organic farming, sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship.

When he died, his son Robert bought a rundown farm to show the difference between organic and conventional farming and hired the best minds to do so. They were to be funded by the US government under the presidency of Jimmy Carter who knew that with the price of oil rising so would fertilizer prices and he needed alternatives. However, before the trials commenced in 1981, Jimmy was ousted from the presidency, funding was withdrawn. However Robert’s the commitment was still there to fund the trials and the research. This work has proved a very useful ground for comparisons.

Unintended benefits of biological farming as shown by the trials include:

  • Increased water retention in the soil
  • Increased Biology
  • Increased Organic Matter
  • Reduced Soil Acidity and Salinity
  • Control of Weeds
  • Biologically based systems compete with conventional yields
  • Less energy use with biological farming than with conventional farming
  • The effects of global warming and green house gases are reduced by biological farming
  • Biological farming system does not leach nitrates
  • Dangerous herbicides are not used
  • More nutrients in the food produced
  • More cost effective farming for now and in the future

 

Inspired by Dr. Paul Hepperly’s presentation at Glenormiston College