Rodale Institute launches regenerative organic research center

In the land just outside of Parma, Italy, six acres are dedicated to a carbon-neutral village, which includes office space, labs, a scientific garden, a bistro and more. This may sound like an ideal getaway, but for Davines Group, an international certified B Corp founded in 1983, it’s home.

Known as the Davines Village, the global headquarters of Davines and Comfort Zone, the sustainable beauty destination, will expand to include yet another pioneering initiative: a regenerative organic farm, research center and education hub. Davines Village will become the site of the Davines Group-Rodale Institute European Regenerative Organic Center, the first international Regional Resource Center by Rodale Institute, leaders of the regenerative organic movement and the organization credited with coining the term “regenerative organic” in the 1980s to distinguish a kind of farming that goes beyond sustainable.

Regenerative organic farming has the potential to sequester carbon, mitigate climate change, promote biodiversity and protect our soil, air and water. Headquartered in Pennsylvania, Rodale Institute has been trailblazing the regenerative organic movement through research, farmer training and consumer education since 1947.

“In this critical phase of life on our planet, a new paradigm of economic and demographic growth is only possible if the Earth’s ecology is preserved and enhanced,” says Davide Bollati, Davines Group owner and chair. “With the aim of tackling this gigantic task, Davines Group has been doing its part throughout the years with humility and enthusiasm for the cause. Partnering now with Rodale Institute, a true kindred spirit and dynamic pioneer of this regenerative vision, is a collaborative way to take greater steps on our journey to making the world a more beautiful place through beauty, ethics and sustainability. We hope our partnership will not only positively impact our product development and supply chain, but also serve as a catalyst for change that will animate sustainability studies and regenerative organic farming practices in Italy, Europe and beyond.”

The partnership was announced during the first edition of Parma Green Week Festival on July 6, during a panel focused on “Regeneration: Natural and Human Capital,” attended by both Jeff Moyer, Rodale Institute CEO, and Davide Bollati.

The new European Regenerative Organic Center will encompass a 10-acre site on the Davines Village campus in Parma, Italy, focusing its research and education on small- to mid-size European farms growing specialty crops for food, nutrition and beauty. Supporting farmers in the region, this Center will focus on organic management in a Mediterranean climate, as well as the close relationship between personal care ingredients and farming.

“Since our founding in the 1940s, Rodale Institute has supported organic farmers and their communities as organic has grown to a $60 billion industry in the United States,” said Jeff Moyer, Rodale Institute CEO. “Today, we’re honored to have the opportunity to partner with Davines Group for our first international Regional Resource Center to provide that education, research, and support to farmers in Italy, Europe and beyond. We’re thrilled to partner with Davines to achieve their vision—a world where not only organic food is transparent and healing the planet, but a consumer can embrace a regenerative organic lifestyle in their personal products as well.”

This integrated partnership is an effort to propel the regenerative organic movement beyond simply food and fiber to beauty and personal care. To accomplish this goal, both Rodale Institute and Davines Group hope to bolster the support system and available resources for regenerative organic farmers in the region, research on regenerative organic personal care ingredients and to advance consumer education on the topic.

As regenerative agricultural practices are becoming more and more popular on a global scale and consumers recognize the benefits for both the planet and human health, scientists and staff of the Center will study alongside the Davines Group Research and Development laboratory to find ways in which regenerative organic agriculture can influence the supply chain of personal care products while simultaneously helping to mitigate climate change. These efforts will not only support local farmers and the international regenerative organic community at large but will also help to elevate regenerative organic sourcing in the emerging consumer and packaged goods space.

Davines Group has already led the way in the relationship between food, farming, and personal care with its Slow Food Presidia projects, supporting local small producers through Davines’ Essential Haircare line and through the sourcing of ingredients from regenerative agriculture for Sacred Nature, the Cosmos certified organic and natural skin care line by Comfort Zone. Together with Rodale Institute, Davines Group will illustrate the natural progression from Slow Food to a regenerative organic agricultural system.

Rodale Institute has been expanding its footprint and impact throughout the last decade, growing to include eight campuses throughout the United States, including its headquarters in Pennsylvania. Rodale Institute operates three additional Regional Resource Centers in the United States, located in Georgia, California and Iowa, as well as a nationwide farmer consulting program. The Davines Group-Rodale Institute European Regenerative Organic Center is Rodale Institute’s first physical location outside the United States.

A groundbreaking for the Davines Group-Rodale Institute European Regenerative Organic Center will be held at Davines Village in fall 2021. 

Source: Rodale Institute

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