Pocono Organics Opens Farm to Public; Supports Community During COVID-19

Pocono Organics, one of Rodale Institute’s largest satellite farms, has opened its organic farm, food market, and cafe to the public. Courtesy of Pocono Organics.

Long Pond, PA—Pocono Organics, one of Rodale Institute’s largest satellite farms, announced the opening of its organic farm, food market, and cafe to the public on June 18. According to a press release, Pocono Organics is one of the largest public-facing regenerative organic farms in North America, and a global center for research, education, and discovery for regenerative organic agricultural practices.

At Pocono Organics, visitors can learn about the soil-to-seed-to-plate journey of their food. Courtesy of Pocono Organics.

The fully USDA Certified organic market and cafe (dine-in or take-out) will feature food prepared by a Food Network Chopped champion chef, and aims to bring guests back to the roots of how and where their food is grown. Visitors can learn about the soil-to-seed-to-plate journey of their food, and enjoy freshly harvested produce and organic meat products. Pre-made dishes and organic staples from companies such as Patagonia Provisions, Newman’s Own, and Dr. Bronner’s also will be sold to visitors for the public opening, which the company says will maintain a socially distanced and safe environment.

Related: Regenerative Agriculture: 25 Things to Know Now

The release notes that Pocono Organics Founder Ashley Walsh wanted to create a dynamic educational and nutritional experience from her personal health journey for guests to understand the vital connection between soil health and human health.

“I was diagnosed with gastroparesis in my early 30s,” Walsh explained in the release. “That means that my stomach is paralyzed and I can’t digest food properly. The doctors told me that they could help me by cutting out parts of my stomach and using feeding tubes. Those weren’t options I was willing to accept and started my journey with organic foods. The powerful results of using food as medicine were undeniable for me—instead of being sick five days a week, I was sick five days a month. I was also able to get off of all the medications I was taking for my health because of my stomach.

“The problem,” Walsh continued, “was that I just wasn’t able to get the nutrient-dense organic foods I needed. That’s when the vision for Pocono Organics came to life.”

The market features organic staples from companies such as Patagonia Provisions, Newman’s Own, and Dr. Bronner’s. Courtesy of Pocono Organics.

Jeff Moyer, Rodale Institute CEO, added, “Rodale Institute is incredibly excited to bring regenerative organic agriculture to a new audience in partnership with Pocono Organics. Pocono Organics’ state-of-the-art facility and innovative model is a clear example of the ways in which regenerative organic agriculture can feed the planet in new and exciting ways. Rodale Institute is proud to join with Pocono Organics to improve human health and grow an organic future.”

In addition, the property includes an event space to engage the local community and agritourists with special events, and a calendar of workshops, educational classes, wellness events and more. Pocono Organics also engages with the community by offering fresh produce to-go with barn-side pick up during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We knew it was important to get healthy food out to people during these times,” said Jonathan Skaro, Pocono Organics Farm Director. “The grocery stores’ selection of fresh produce had been very limited and often imported, so we ramped up our production to provide high-quality food for our community and their response proved it was the right decision.”

On the horizon: In September, Walsh and her team are hosting The Crop Trust’s Food Forever Experience in celebration of the International Year of Plant and Soil Health, to raise awareness of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 2.5 and the importance of crop diversity. World-renowned chefs, regional change-makers, business leaders and scientists will come together to explore how biodiversity journeys from soil to mouth, according to the release. The event will also shed light on lesser-known crops and call on chefs, farmers, and consumers to race to safeguard agrobiodiversity for a more diverse, sustainable, and delicious future.

We know that the future is organic and we want to help people reach healthier food grown locally,” Walsh said.

Related: U.S. Food System Is Killing Us; Regen Ag Is the Solution, Find Rodale, Plantrician Project
330 Companies Call for Climate-Friendly Path Forward from COVID-19