At A Glance Project Details

Working throughout the Southeastern U.S., we’re partnering with vegetable farmers to adopt farming methods that support the local ecosystem. We’re also helping farmers markets promote the climate-smart crops grown in the study.

woman harvester holding a wooden crate of fresh vegetables

Who

Farmers of small-scale vegetable farms (50 organic, 50 conventional) and managers of farmers markets (25 total)

Where

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

When

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

person harvesting ripe heritage tomatoes in a field

Marketing Commodoties

About the Team

One Effort,
Many Experts

Our project team combines perspectives from academic institutions, nonprofits, NGOs, and farmer associations.

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

What will you do with the data?

What will you do with the data?

The study’s findings will serve farmers, farmers markets, and policymakers. The data will educate farmers on how to better steward their land and cash in on lowering greenhouse gas emissions (through carbon market programs). The research will also help the USDA support farmers throughout the transition to climate-smart agriculture.

Dig Deeper

young person of color standing in a field of soybeans

The Southern Piedmont Climate-Smart project is:

Historic.

The project is the largest of its kind by Rodale Institute, and it represents a substantial investment in this subject by the USDA.

Holistic.

We’re evaluating the climate-smart conversation from a variety of angles: agricultural, economic, marketing, and social.

Multidisciplinary.

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