Closing Plenary: Healing the Planet One Farm, One Heart at a Time

Maria Rodale
Chairman & CEO Rodale, Inc.
Co-chairman, Rodale Institute, Bethlehem, PA

What will it really take to address climate change, stop poisoning the planet, and improve the health and well being of people all around the world? Fighting against things will only get us so far; we need to stand FOR things, and use our power, intelligence and compassion to heal ourselves and our relationships to nature. Maria Rodale, author of Organic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe, will illustrate how our own health is intimately connected to the health of the environment and how what we do to the land we do to ourselves. Turning that relationship from a destructive one into a powerfully positive and healthy one is the key to our survival as a species and our happiness as human beings. Organic agriculture is a viable and powerful tool to help us accomplish these goals. The Rodale Institute’s 30-year Farming System Trials are America’s longest running, side-by-side comparison of organic and chemical agriculture. The key findings include:

  • Organic yields match conventional yields.
  • Organic outperforms conventional in years of drought.
  • Organic farming systems build, rather than deplete, soil organic matter, making it a more sustainable system.
  • Organic farming uses 45% less energy and is more efficient.
  • Conventional systems produce 40% more greenhouse gases.
  • Organic farming systems are more profitable than conventional.

With this as evidence Maria concludes: “Organic is something we can all partake of and benefit from. When we demand organic, we are demanding poison-free food. We are demanding clean air. We are demanding pure, fresh water. We are demanding soil that is free to do its job and seeds that are free of toxins. We are demanding that our children be protected from harm. We all need to bite the bullet and do what needs to be done […]. We must make organic the conventional choice and not the exception available only to the rich and educated.”


Maria Rodale is the CEO and Chairman of Rodale, Inc., a global healthy lifestyle company with a mission to inspire and enable people to improve their lives and the world around them. Through a broad portfolio of award-winning media properties, Rodale engages with more than 70 million people around the world across multiple distribution channels, including magazines, books, online, mobile, e-commerce, direct-to-consumer, and video.