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For Immediate Release
February 25, 2003

Media Contact:
Michael Straus, Straus Communications
(415) 777-1170 or (415) 519-8343
Michael@StrausCom.com

The Rodale Institute® Launches
The New Farm Organic Price Index™
First-Ever Price Listings of Organic Foods Goes Live Today at NewFarm.org

Kutztown, Pennsylvania; February 25, 2003 -- The Rodale Institute®, a publicly supported nonprofit organization and the country’s leading advocate for regenerative, sustainable agriculture and organic foods, today launched the first-ever wholesale price index of certified organic foods—The New Farm Organic Price Index™ (OPX™).

Announced last month, the OPX today goes live on The Rodale Institute’s Website for farmers, NewFarm.org, free of charge. With the help of the OPX, organic farmers will be able to market their products competitively by using the index as a pricing guide, comparing the prices of similar goods – both organic and conventional.

“We created the OPX because we listen to farmers,” said Anthony Rodale, chairman of The Rodale Institute. “Through our surveys, farmers told us they needed a pricing guide to help them track prices for their products. We’ve responded with the OPX. We’re very excited that organic farmers and buyers will now have access to this much-needed information source.”

Immediately, the OPX will track select items in the categories of produce, grains, dairy and meats that are organically grown or raised in the U.S. Additional items will be added to the index over time. Seasonal items will be tracked when available. The price data will be updated on a weekly basis, and will be compiled from government and private sources in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest and the Northeast.

THE INDEX WILL PROVIDE:
Price transparency Prices of organically grown and conventionally grown foods are seen side by side for easier comparison.
Competitive information—Buyers and sellers of certified organic food will now know what certain items should and do sell for around the country.
Fair information for insurers—Organic farmers, who have traditionally had to insure their crops according to conventional pricing, will now have better documented price information for their goods, resulting in more appropriate coverage.
Helping retail consumers—OPX will help to educate retail consumers with a better understanding of organic vs. conventional pricing while further solidifying the traditionally strong relationship between organic farmers and retail consumers.

ORGANIC FOOD: A MATURING INDUSTRY
While conventionally grown or raised foods have been tracked with market reports for many years, the organic community has historically been marginalized and has lacked access to pricing information. But today, the organic food industry is rapidly evolving to become a far more formidable segment of the food industry. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “The organic industry is growing between 20 and 25 percent annually, and has been for the last several years. U.S. retail sales of organic foods reached approximately $7.8 billion in 2000, with global sales topping $17.5 billion.” The OPX will aid the further maturing of the organic food industry.

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 to establish and share knowledge about how to achieve a regenerative food system that renews environmental and human health, 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 Institute provides practical and effective information on healthy, regenerative living for some of the most important change agents in society -- children, their parents, and educators through www.kidsregen.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. For information and contacts, see www.rodaleinstitute.org.

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  For more information about The Rodale Institute®, NewFarm.org and related programs, please visit www.newfarm.org, www.rodaleinsitute.org, www.kidsregen.org, or contact Michael Straus, (415) 777-1170, Michael@strauscom.com. Also, visit www.newfarm.org/pressroom.
     
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