Kutztown University and Rodale Institute, Kutztown, Pa., signed a five-year agreement of academic cooperation Monday, establishing a research affiliation for the mutual benefit of both institutions.
Rodale Institute is a nonprofit research and education institution founded in 1947 by organic pioneer J.I. Rodale to study the link between healthy soil, healthy food and healthy people through regenerative organic agriculture. The Institute’s headquarters can be found on a 333-acre farm with research facilities located less than 6 miles from Kutztown University, where it maintains field laboratories and a full complement of staff and equipment to generate scientific data.
The agreement provides KU students and faculty the opportunity to partner with Rodale Institute personnel and researchers from around the world on field research in the areas of soil health, organic practices for farming and pest management, composting and pollinators. Internship opportunities will also be available for students.
“I’m honored to sign this agreement today with one of the premier research organizations in the world,” said Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson, Kutztown University president. “This is a great opportunity to market Kutztown University’s new track in regenerative organic agriculture, among our many programmatic areas. One of the greatest benefits from this collaboration are the mutual networking opportunities we will have to educate our audiences about the mission of our organizations.”
“Rodale Institute and Kutztown University are neighbors and logical partners in this endeavor to launch the first regenerative organic educational tract in the world,” said Jeff Tkach, chief impact officer for Rodale Institute. “We are backed by a state government and Department of Agriculture that is investing in the future of regenerative organic farming. Together, we will continue to position Pennsylvania as the leader in organic agriculture and a center of innovation and education for the next generation of farmers and food entrepreneurs. As an alumnus of Kutztown University, I am thrilled to see this partnership come to fruition and look forward to building upon our momentum for years to come.”
Kutztown University’s academic offerings include biology, chemistry, environmental science and a track in regenerative organic agriculture. Students and faculty in these areas will have access to Rodale Institute’s research facility, including field laboratories, in-house laboratories, cropping, livestock areas and research facilities.
Rodale Institute is committed to groundbreaking research in regenerative organic practices for agricultural systems and soil health in three focus areas: growing regenerative organic agriculture, mitigating and adapting to climate change and solving for food insecurity by addressing food nutrient density. The Institute advocates for policies that support farmers and educates the community (locally and globally) that regenerative organic is the safest, healthiest option for people and the planet.