Congressman David Scott (GA-13), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, today visited the Rodale Institute Southeast Organic Center, located in Georgia’s Thirteenth Congressional District, to discuss the role of regenerative organic agriculture in strengthening the nation’s food supply and to highlight the research being conducted within the Rodale Institute’s network of farms. He was joined by Jeff Moyer (Rodale Institute CEO), Jeff Tkach (Rodale Institute CIO), CheFarmer Matthew Raiford (Co-Owner of Strong Roots 9, Gilliard Farms, and Board Chair for Georgia Organics), Steve Nygren (Serenbe Founder & CEO), and several local farmers.
“It was a pleasure meeting with the farmers and researchers right here in my district, who are at the tip of the spear when it comes to regenerative organic agriculture,” stated Congressman David Scott. “American families rely on agricultural infrastructure for their produce and groceries every day, and it is imperative for our nation’s food supply that we continue to implement policy at the federal level that not only bolsters sustainable farming practices, but also mitigates the effects of climate change."
“The greatest benefit of putting more carbon into the soil is that we can actually increase crop productivity and the resilience of agroecosystem services. That alone would be enough reason to make it a global priority,” said Jeff Moyer. “We know farmers are the backbone of our country, and they are struggling in this new paradigm of uncertainty. We have the uncertainty of weather, markets, and supply chains. Yet, we have the tools in our very hands to make change and we need to bring back predictability and resiliency into the farm community so we can have a brighter future.”
“We’re just so proud and so delighted that Chairman Scott is in this leadership role at this key time for our food systems,” said Steve Nygren.
“Life begins on the farm,” said Matthew Raiford. “We need to work now to regenerate the soil under our feet, just as my family has nurtured our farm for 6 generations. It's important work that we can all do together, to make a healthier future for everyone.”
About Rodale Institute:
Founded in 1947, Rodale Institute is a nonprofit research institution focused on growing the regenerative organic movement through rigorous research, farmer training, and consumer education. Rodale Institute’s founder, J.I. Rodale, pioneered the belief that healthy soil creates healthy food which leads to healthy people. Rodale Institute’s Farming Systems Trial is the longest-running side by side comparison of organic and conventional grain cropping systems in North America, finding that organic systems use 45% less energy, release 40% fewer carbon emissions, and have the potential to produce yields up to 40% higher in times of drought than conventional systems.
Founded by the Nygren family in 2004, Serenbe is a biophilic wellness community connected to nature on the edge of Atlanta. The community of over 1,000 residents and growing is set among acres of preserved forests and meadows with miles of nature trails that connect homes and restaurants with arts and businesses. Focused on wellbeing, Serenbe is a neighborhood with fresh food, over 300 days of arts and cultural programming, multiple independent shops, a 27-room Inn, a new wellness retreat, four restaurants, and a certified organic farm.
About Gilliard Farms:
Gilliard Farms is a family-run organic farm, growing under the watchful eye of sibling farmers Althea Raiford and Matthew Raiford. Gilliard Farms was first established in 1874 by Althea and Matthew's great great great grandfather Jupiter Gilliard. The farm has never used chemicals to grow any crops and is a member of Georgia Organics, SAAFON (SouthEastern African American Farmers Organic Network), Farms to Grow, and Georgia Grown. Althea & Matthew Raiford are the sixth generation to farm this land.
About Georgia Organics:
Georgia Organics is a member-supported, non-profit organization that champions organic agriculture and healthy families by prioritizing farmer prosperity, engaging children with good food in their cafeterias and classrooms, and convening local leaders to address food access issues by making organic and local food accessible to all. The organization has been rooted in providing direct support to small and organic farmers across our state since the 1970s, before formally incorporating as a 501(c)(3) in 1997.