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We improve the health and well being of people and the planet
Making the vital connection between healthy soil and healthy people has been the central thrust of The Rodale Institute for more than three generations. The first task was finding agricultural solutions to major health and environmental problems. The second was proving they worked. The third is now sharing them with the world. The Rodale Institute was the brainchild of J.I. Rodale who moved to rural Pennsylvania in the late 1930's where he was able to realize his keen personal interest in farming. He learned about organic food growing methods and quickly theorized that to preserve and improve our health we must restore and protect the natural health of the soil. Developing and demonstrating practical methods of rebuilding natural soil fertility became J.I. Rodale's primary goal when World War II's sudden shortage of nitrogen - diverted from fertilizers to munitions - exposed the natural nutrient poverty of the nation's soil. In 1947, J.I. founded the Soil and Health Foundation the forerunner of The Rodale Institute. He also created publications including Health Bulletin, Organic Farming and Gardening and Prevention Magazine and formed his central message and philosophy- "Healthy Soil = Healthy Food = Healthy People" The concept was simple but it was also revolutionary. While widely accepted a century ago, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, hormones, artificial ingredients, preservatives and additives for taste and appearance had changed the face of agriculture. As J.I. Rodale communicated the idea of creating soil rich in nutrients and free of contaminants however, people began to listen and acceptance grew. "Organics is not a fad'" J.I. wrote in 1954. "It has been a long-established practice - much more firmly grounded than the current chemical flair. Present agricultural practices are leading us downhill." J.I. Rodale died in 1971. His son Robert expanded the farm and health-related research with the purchase of a 333-acre farm near Kutztown, Pennsylvania. With his wife Ardath, Robert established what is now The Rodale Institute and an era of research began. Jack O'Rourke of NBC News summed up The Institute's goal in a soundbite: "To put people in control of what they eat." The Rodale Institute takes that goal and applies it worldwide.
- Erin Dallago
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