LONG POND, Pa. - The Rodale Institute in Berks County and a Monroe County farm in the Poconos have joined forces to create an educational hub for organic farming.
The Rodale Institute and Pocono Organics have teamed up to launch a regional resource center.
"The goal is to get more farms to transition to a regenerative organic model," said Jeff Moyer, the CEO of the Rodale Institute.
Regenerative organic farming is organic farming taken to the next level, with strict management of the ground and soil. It's about making farming part of the solution to climate change, instead of part of the problem.
"We must grow more soil-based, nutrient-dense foods that will heal people and planet," said Ashley Wash, the president and founder of Pocono Organics.
But in order to get more farms to get on board, they need facts, which is where the team of scientists and technicians come in.
"We are focused on different aspects of studies," said Dr. Arash Ghale, the research director at the Rodale Institute-Pocono Organic Center. "We don't focus on one plant."
They'll be looking at everything from high-value crops to pest management to high-tech equipment to show this type of farming can be done in various climates.
"We have a research facility outside of the town of Kutztown, but the landscape, the topography and even the weather is so different in the Poconos," said Moyer.
Pocono Organics says it is the largest regenerative organic certified farm in North America. Research will happen outside on some of the farm's 380 acres of land, as well as in the 40,000 square feet of greenhouses.
The founder Walsh is a member of the family who owns Pocono Raceway, which is down the street.
"We can take that message and impact an entire community from NASCAR and entire culture within the United States," said Jeff Tkach, the chief impact officer at the Rodale Institute.
The center will collaborate with other universities and students interested in the field for its research.