Austin, TX — In the single-most ambitious agricultural initiative of this century, Anthony Rodale, chairman of Pennsylvania-based The Rodale Institute and founder of www.NewFarm.org, declared a broad new vision for organic farming in the United States.
Addressing leaders of the US organic industry gathered for a trade show in Austin last Saturday to accept the OTA Organic Leadership Award, Rodale called for 100,000 farmers, about 5 percent of America’s remaining 2 million farmers, to transition to Certified Organic by 2013.
Currently, 12,200 farmers are certified organic (just over of one percent of all US farmers), according to Rodale. This would represent a 750 percent increase in the number of certified organic farms and ranches.
The Greenfield, Mass.-based Organic Trade Association reports that the market for organic food and products is more than $11 billion in annual sales, and growing an estimated 20-30% per year.
Rodale, whose grandfather J.I. Rodale coined the term “organic” in 1942, called on leaders to pool resources and work together towards a common, quantifiable vision. “Are we willing to sit back and witness the degeneration of our environment, and quietly lose control of the quality of food we eat every day?” asked Anthony Rodale at the OTA ceremony.
“Organic farming is a good business decision for farmers,” added Rodale. “It’s time for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to affirm and promote organic as an economically viable form of agriculture.”
To achieve his vision, Rodale officially announced the launch of www.NewFarm.org, the nation’s first organic farmer-oriented information center, providing articles, marketing tools and expert resources on crop and livestock production, direct marketing, and timely policy issues.
NewFarm.org is the modern incarnation of The New Farm magazine, the widely read print publication started in 1979 by Robert Rodale (son of R.I., and father of Anthony Rodale).
NewFarm.org recently made national headlines when it demonstrated the new Organic Price Index (OPX), the first and only service offering farmers critical and timely market pricing data for no charge.
In addition to the OPX, NewFarm.org will also feature:
- Organic farming on-line training courses teaching basic and advanced organic agricultural techniques.
- 1000 Stories of Regenerative Agriculture – success stories about innovative farmers and ranchers all across the U.S.
- News and Research – Scientific reports, and news related to the economics, politics, social issues and environmental impact of agriculture.
- New Farm International first-person accounts from around the world, including Cuba, Guatemala, India, Japan, Kenya, Laos, New Zealand, Thailand, and Switzerland.
About The Rodale Institute
The Rodale Institute is a not-for-profit educational and research organization committed to sharing information globally about successful agricultural solutions to health and environmental problems. The Rodale Institute has worked for sixty years, bringing to life the philosophy of J. I. Rodale, the founder, that “Healthy Soil = Health Food = Healthy People “.
The Rodale Institute provides information and forums for learning and dialogue for farmers worldwide through www.newfarm.org. The Rodale Institute, on its own and with various research partners, also engages in and supports a wide variety of scientific trials and experiments of regenerative farming methods in the United States, Senegal, Japan, and elsewhere throughout the world.