Kutztown, PA—Rodale Institute recently launched a “Grow Clean Water” initiative aimed at educating young families in the Philadelphia region about the connection between farming practices and healthy rivers and streams, according to a press release.

The William Penn Foundation funded this initiative, which is part of a larger project to reduce agricultural runoff in the Delaware River Watershed. The watershed spans parts of four states and provides drinking water to more than 13 million people, including residents of New York City, Trenton, Wilmington, and Philadelphia. There are nearly 15,000 farms in the watershed, and its largest pollutants are erosion, pesticides, and fertilizers, harming both wildlife and human health.
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The Grow Clean Water campaign teaches families that supporting healthy farms, such as organic farms and regenerative farms, can have a positive impact on both soil and clean water. Families should look for the “Certified Organic” label to find out more about a farm’s practices. They can also visitGrowCleanWater.orgto learn more about this issue through educational videos and content, and can sign a pledge to support clean water. Families that sign the pledge will receive a free kit containing an organic herb kit, recipes, an informational poster, stickers, and more.

Andrew Johnson, Watershed Protection Program Director at the William Penn Foundation, said in the release: “The way we treat the land directly impacts our environment and clean drinking water. Because farmland comprises such a large portion of the Delaware River Watershed, it presents an opportunity to use practices on these lands that will protect the clean water source for more than 13 million people, including residents in PA, NJ, NY, and DE. Rodale Institute and Stroud Water Research Center are at the forefront of developing methods for farmers to use that are good for their soil, good for clean water, and also good for their bottom line.”

The William Penn Foundation is also funding the Watershed Impact Trial, a long-term side-by-side comparison of organic, conservation, and conventional farm management practices and their impact on water quality, the release says. The research, which began in 2018, is a collaboration between Rodale and the Stroud Water Research Center.

Diana Martin, Director of Communications, Rodale Institute, said in the release: “We want consumers—average, everyday American families—to understand that they can have a positive impact on the alarming headlines they see in the news. We want to arm people with information so they can make changes at home that ultimately have a ripple effect across all of agriculture and our food system.”