Maria Rodale is my guest today on Inside Ideas. The renowned author and activist has spent her career in the family publishing business Rodale Inc, which published such classic books as The South Beach Diet, Doctors Book of Home Remedies, Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore and Onward, by Howard Schultz. In 2009 Maria became CEO and Chairman of the board, leading the company through the Great Disruption and ultimately selling the company to Hearst in 2018. Maria was also co-chairman of the Rodale Institute, from 2007 to 2017, an independent scientific research and education non-profit which studies regenerative organic vs. chemical agriculture and still sits on the board.
Her grandfather is considered the founder of the organic movement in America and Maria, author of the Organic Manifesto: How Organic Food Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe, is a strong advocate for focusing more on how we grow things rather than what we eat.
“There are two ways to look at food: there is what you ingest and how it is grown. And how it is grown is more important to everyone than what you actually eat,” Maria explains. “What you eat is personal, and that is about personal liberty and freedom. Some want vegan, and that’s great, others want meat, and that’s great. But how food is grown is collective, it is a communal thing. Chemicals affect all our health, whether you eat that food or not, chemicals disable the soil from storing carbon which impacts all of us. So as a movement we need to shift our paradigm to thinking who cares what you’re eating, let’s care about how we are growing and let’s care about the impact the way we grow things has on all of us.”
Maria believes that what we need is love, to move towards a future of love, where taking care of everyone is at the heart of what we do. And she talks more about this on today’s show.
For her lifetime of service and activism Maria has received many awards, including the National Audubon Rachel Carson Award in 2004, United Nations Population Fund’s Award for the Health and Dignity of Woman Everywhere in 2007, and The Auburn University International Quality of Life Award in 2014. And she is the author of the books: Scratch, Organic Manifesto, Betty’s Book of Laundry Secrets, It’s My Pleasure and Maria Rodale’s Organic Gardening.
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