The Rodale Organic Farm is the original homestead of visionary J.I. Rodale and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the birthplace of the organic movement in America. Our organic roots were planted here.
In 1940, J.I. and Anna Rodale purchased the circa-1830 farm in Allentown, Pennsylvania — a rundown conventional farm — and cultivated it to become a working organic farm. The farm and gardens tell a story of early organic research experiments.
Sixteen large concrete cylinders were installed in 1950 and called the Sir Albert Howard Plots. Named after the English agronomist who inspired J.I. Rodale, these 16 raised beds were originally used as areas to test differences between organically and chemically produced foods.
Also in 1950, J.I. Rodale restored an original 19th-century structure as a chicken coop and chicken-dropping pit. The new design would eliminate the unpleasant task of cleaning off chicken boards, with the added benefit of immediately composting the droppings.
The Stone Mulching Garden consists of flat stones placed closely together between rows of growing plants. This reduces weed pressure and provides beneficial conditions like conservation of moisture, soil aeration, reduction of wind and water erosion, and an environment ideal for the growth of earthworms and beneficial soil microorganisms.
The Working Tree Center was unveiled in 1992. It is Robert Rodale’s vision and was expanded upon by landscape architect Duane Coen. The arboretum features groupings of trees dedicated to the American landscape, eastern hardwood forests, sacred trees, food and fiber trees, trees of the world, and alley cropping.
The Rodale Organic Farm is a 40-acre certified organic farm and arboretum. The grounds and structures are used as backdrops for photo and video shoots for Rodale Inc. The homesteads are used by corporate staff and company guests for overnight accommodations. The farmstead is still in production today, growing organic vegetables and raising organic laying hens, broiler chickens, and turkeys for Rodale family members and Rodale Inc. staff. Coming in June 2017, an organic farm stand will be open every Friday, throughout the growing season, featuring farm-fresh seasonal goods and flowers.