Robert Rodale

Leaders in Alternative and Sustainable Agriculture: Oral History Interview Series

Robert Rodale
The Rodale Institute
Emmaus, Pennsylvania

Interview by Jane Gates with Robert Rodale with an introduction by Jayne MacLean.
Beltsville, Md. : National Agricultural Library, 1989.


Robert Rodale is the son of J.I. Rodale, both pioneering promoters of organic farming and gardening in the United States. Robert Rodale carried on his father's work through publications, lectures, agricultural research and inspirational leadership. He built the family publishing company into a major entity and established the Rodale Institute - a leading organization in sustainable agricultural research.

Access the video in segments from the video menu below or you may watch each segment consecutively to view the full interview. The title for each segment provides a brief description of the topics discussed.

The segments in the Questions section are drawn from the full interview. They duplicate video segments from the menu. These are not verbatim questions asked by the interviewer, but rather topics addressed by Mr. Rodale during the course of his interview. We hope that this will be an informative and interesting way to view the conversation.

Video lengths in minutes are approximate.

Video Menu

1. Introduction, J.I. Rodale and the Depression years [12 minutes]

2. Advent of Organic Farming and Gardening magazine, farming, college and early years of Rodale Press [13 minutes]

3. Robert’s start at the press, family life and Rodale Press [10 minutes]

4. Rodale Press and Institute and New Farm magazine [8 minutes]

5. Rodale Press magazines and low-input agriculture [9 minutes]

6. Sustainable agriculture, big ideas and imperatives [9 minutes]

7. Russia, international projects and the Olympics [11 minutes]

Watch All Seven Parts In Succession


1. How did your father become interested in organic farming? [4 minutes]

2. How did your family begin Organic Farming and Gardening magazine? [5 minutes]

3. How did you begin your involvement with Rodale Press? [5 minute]

4. What is the difference between sustainable and regenerative agriculture? [3 minutes]

National Agricultural Library Cataloging Record

Author: Jane Potter Gates, Robert Rodale, National Agricultural Library (U.S.) and the United States Department of Agriculture Video and Teleconference Division.
Title: Oral history interview with Mr. Robert Rodale.
Publisher: Beltsville, Md. : U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library; Washington, D.C. : U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Video and Teleconference Division, 1989.
Series: AFSIC oral history interview series
Subjects: Rodale, Robert; Rodale, J. I. (Jerome Irving), 1898-1971; Organic farming - History; Agricultural innovations - United States - History
Description: Original format: 1 videocassette (69 min., 36 sec.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.
Note(s): VHS. Title from data sheet. Title on container: Oral history on Robert Rodale. Interview was conducted on November 21, 1989 at Rodale Press, Inc. headquarters, Emmanus, Pa. Cameraman and editor, Ron Hamilton.
NAL Call Number: Videocassette no. 670

The National Agricultural Library does not verify the accuracy of the accounts described herein by participants in an Oral History Project. These oral histories are expressions of the views, memories and opinions of the interviewee. They do not represent the policy, views or official history of the United States Department of Agriculture or the National Agricultural Library.