At A Glance Project Details

Working throughout the Southern Piedmont, we’re partnering with diverse vegetable farmers to adopt farming methods that support the local ecosystem. We’re also performing consumer messaging campaigns at farmers markets and beyond to better understand how to market and promote climate-smart produce.

woman harvester holding a wooden crate of fresh vegetables


Farmers of small-scale vegetable farms (organic/naturally grown and conventional) and managers of farmers markets and their market vendors


The Southern Piedmont, running through Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama


Project prep: 2023
Study underway: 2024–2028

Organized by

Rodale Institute, a leader in organic agriculture research, in partnership with academic institutions, NGOs, and farmer associations

Education What We’re Monitoring

large field of green wheat

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

person holding a handful of soil from a small vegetable plot

Soil Health

a large expanse of fields with two rows of tractor track marks

Economic Impacts

harvester in a farm field pulling cabbages

Social Barriers to Change

Marketing Commodities

Carbon Cycling

About the Team

One Effort,
Many Experts

Our project team combines perspectives from academic institutions, nonprofits, NGOs, and farmer associations to form one wholistic study of diverse vegetable farming in the Southern Piedmont.

person of color observing plants in a field for agriculture research

Frequently Asked Questions You Might Be Wondering…

woman observing health of large cabbage in a field

What exactly is climate-smart?

What exactly is climate-smart?

No, it’s not a redefinition of organic. It’s an emerging idea, and this project exists to further define and validate the term. “Climate-smart” refers to a set of farming practices that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural land and lead to other environmental benefits. Both conventional and organic farms can be climate smart.

Dig Deeper

clover and rye crops grown side-by-side for biodiversity

Is my farm in the Southern Piedmont?

Is my farm in the Southern Piedmont?

The Southern Piedmont contains a group of similar soil types across Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. Dig deeper into the FAQ to see if your county falls into the Piedmont.

Dig Deeper

young person of color standing in a field of soybeans

The Southern Piedmont Climate-Smart project is:


The project is the largest organic/conventional study by Rodale Institute, and it represents a substantial investment in this subject by the USDA.

First project to continuously monitor methane, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and ammonia on production farms.

We’re offering $6 million in cash incentives to project-enrolled farms.


We’re evaluating using a roller crimper vs plasticulture across diverse vegetable farms in the Southern Piedmont from a variety of angles: agricultural, economic, marketing, and social.


We’re intentionally bringing diverse perspectives to the table—involving farmers and researchers, educators and students, academia and nonprofits, and the underserved farming community.