Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Rodale Institute Launches Virtual Campus To Offer Online Education Courses; PA Organic Crop Consulting Available

On January 26, Berks County-based
Rodale Institute launched the Rodale Institute Virtual Campus, a new educational platform for farmers, researchers, and the public containing online courses focused on regenerative organic topics.

Two courses are currently open for registration through Rodale Institute’s Virtual Campus:

-- Transition to Certified Organic: This course guides participants through transitioning to certified organic. 

Designed to help farmers understand the USDA National Organic Standards and use them as a framework for their successful transition, this course covers the organic certification process, topics such as soils, crops, livestock, and marketing, and includes expertise from a wide array of certified organic farmers. 

Transition to Certified Organic is suitable for farmers, agricultural professionals, or anyone who wants to learn more about the process of organic certification.

-- Hobby Beekeeping: Participants in this course will learn the basics of keeping a backyard honeybee hive, the equipment needed, and about the current issues facing honeybees. 

Taught by Rodale Institute’s resident beekeeper, Hobby Beekeeping is perfect for beginners, seasoned beekeepers looking for treatment-free alternatives, and honeybee enthusiasts.

“Access to credible education is critical for growing the regenerative organic movement and supporting the farmers, researchers, and consumers that are the backbone of our food system,” said Maria Pop, Rodale Institute’s Director of Education. “As the global leader in regenerative organic agriculture, our goal is to be a resource for the community. We are excited to share the expertise, passion, and knowledge of our staff and partners worldwide through the Virtual Campus.”

Rodale Institute’s virtual courses consist of a curriculum of videos, case studies, resources and assessments created by Rodale Institute staff, scientists, partners, and farmers. Participants can view the modules at their own pace and as often as they like.

Each course offers rolling enrollment and does not expire, encouraging participants to fit the course into their schedules. Once registered, participants have unlimited access to the course across all devices and receive a Certificate of Completion upon conclusion.

Rodale Institute has been researching regenerative organic agriculture for over 70 years, and using that research to help farmers, scientists, and the public better understand the benefits and best practices of growing food organically. 

“There are a lot of misconceptions in the farming world about the organic transition process,” said Sam Malriat, Director of Rodale Institute’s Organic Crop Consulting Services and one of the course’s instructors. “We hope that our Transition to Certified Organic course can explain some of the regulations and procedures in detail, and help farmers feel more confident about starting the transition process.”

This new platform allows the organization’s world-renowned expertise to be shared globally on-demand.  

In the future, Rodale Institute plans to expand their online courses to offer a comprehensive curriculum of regenerative organic topics, such as consumer education, organic gardening, and more. 

2020 Organic Field Day

Visitors to Rodale Institute’s Virtual Campus can also view the 2020 Organic Field Day, an annual event focused on Rodale Institute research and programs that was held virtually in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Virtual Reality Farm Tour

Rodale Institute continues to expand virtual learning and engagement opportunities to make regenerative organic agriculture topics more accessible, including a new virtual reality farm tour that can give anyone a 360° view of Rodale Institute’s headquarters from anywhere in the world.

Rodale Institute also continues to offer virtual and in-person workshops, webinars, and events open to the public. 

Click Here to find previously recorded virtual workshops and webinars.  

To register for courses, or to learn more, visit the Rodale Institute Virtual Campus webpage.

PA Organic Crop Consulting

In addition to online courses, Rodale Institute recently launched Organic Crop Consulting Services to offer on-the-ground mentorship and one-on-one technical assistance to farmers transitioning to organic management. 

The program has surpassed 100 farmer clients in under 2 years of operation and is free to Pennsylvania farmers for a limited time. 

The success of the Organic Crop Consulting Services has shown that many farmers are interested in transitioning their land but lack the support or resources necessary to do so.

To break down those barriers to entry for farmers, Rodale Institute received a grant by the Hearst Foundations, national philanthropic resources for organizations working in fields of culture, education, health, and social services, to establish the Transition to Certified Organic Course. 

This support has allowed Rodale Institute to effectively increase access to education and research for farmers beginning or continuing to pursue their certification.

For more information on programs, initiatives, research, assistance available to farmers, and upcoming events, visit the Rodale Institute website. Like them on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter. Check out their YouTube Channel

[Posted: January 26, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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