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Hello. Nobody owns the “soul of organic”—and nobody should. At this point in time, nobody can even claim to speak for the organic community now that it has evolved—or at least morphed—into so many living, moving parts. I mean, it’s alive. With a field of commercial opportunity unimaginable even 10 years ago, lots of organic scenarios are being plotted as you read this. Playing out before us are divergent contemporary extensions of historic essentials. Which of them feels right depends a lot on who is doing the feeling.

Bob Rodale always quietly insisted there was more good to know and to achieve. He wouldn’t settle for organic in its pre-USDA package days, but kept plotting what a regenerative agriculture could do. His vision was for “organic farming that enhanced soil quality while raising food; farming that would respect nature and natural processes.”

Bob wanted people to make significant choices toward regeneration together, where they shared the work and the reward. This is what farmers do when they take control of marketing to find and interact with people who care. Our update is full of examples of this kind of vision breaking out in practical, economically sound ways.

In western Pennsylvania, grad students team with a group of local farmers and a brew-pub to keep food dollars circulating many times before leaving the area…. In Toronto, an upstart entrepreneurial nonprofit teams with a food-service giant to land a local, sustainable food contract with the biggest university in North America…. Farmers and their supporters in Minnesota rally to convince an oil company to reroute its pipeline around an organic farm…. Our Senegal specialist argues that Big Money going to Africa will be best spent when it empowers family farmers to build soil as they develop sustainable systems—and markets—with local wisdom…. A Kansas farmer wants you to lend your voice—and your food dollars—for farm policy that actually nourishes farms in the local places you drive by.

This harvest of eaters sharing the work of building new farming possibilities—and rewarding farmers who are shifting toward regeneration—signals the springtime of something really powerful and really promising.

Greg Bowman
Online Editor


Fresh today from The New Farm®
Keeping it close to home:
Allowing on-farm slaughter for buyers

Five things to keep in mind for health, safety, liability and happy customers.
Farmers enter town’s economy through weekly market, cooperative venture and a supportive brewpub
Sustainability center gives grad students experience in ag production, marketing and economic networking that drives local economy.
Toronto university begins dance with “local and sustainable” food
Biggest school on the continent agrees to buy good food from the biggest protected chunk of farmland in North America, in a signal that universities everywhere may become movers and shakers for sustainability.
Reader Mail
You ask, we answer. Questions from all of you answered by all our expert contacts; from Jeff Moyer (our farm manager) to worm gurus, to other farmers.

News & Views
Little guy strikes blow for organics...More schools add organic ag to curriculum...Additives in compost tea boost pathogens...Unmet organic dairy demand creates room for others...Long rotations for soil heath and profit...Land grants add to organic research foundation...Fresh fruits and veggies a hard sell until puberty...Organic grains more profitable even through transition.

Hey Bill and Melinda! If you really want to make an impact in Africa, try this.
Enabling families to develop sustainable, locally adapted farming systems will be the real success.

Franchises, farming and the value-added economy
The time may be right for an offering that balances farmer independence with the training, image and support of a valuable business connection.

Drive-by eaters can have a big impact on farm life along the interstate
The highways that pass through rural America haven't lived up to their promise of bringing commerce to the small towns. Instead, they've helped kill what little commerce there was.


at the rodale institute®
No-Till FAQs
Introducing answers to frequently asked questions about the No-Till Plus project.
one farm to another
Organic grain market requires—and rewards—quality control
Treatment of grain from field to bin to destination takes a new level of management that non-organic markets don’t demand.
dr. paul's research perspectives
Healthy soils resist typical N and P losses during wet seasons
Chemical fertilizer is lost from conventional fields in moist years, while compost-amended organic soil mitigates leaching and air-borne denitrification.
intern journal
Months of learning help to put together more pieces of farming puzzle
Interns are like farmers, kind of: We learn best by seeing and doing.
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