J.I. Rodale, who founded Rodale Inc. in 1930, knew that there was a direct relationship between the declining health of America's soil and the health of America's people, a revolutionary view in those days.
In 1942, he started Organic Farming and Gardening magazine, today known as Organic Gardening, which taught people how to grow better food by cultivating healthier soil using natural techniques. J.I. put his theories into practice on a 60-acre farm near Emmaus, Pennsylvania, which is now the site of the Working Tree Center. J.I.'s ideas slowly took root and spread. Today, he is widely recognized as the father of the organic movement in America.
In 1950, J.I. introduced Prevention, a magazine that presented systematic ways people could try to prevent illness and disease, rather than wait for the need to cure it, another idea that bucked the established thinking of the day. The Prevention brand, which has now expanded to include Prevention.com, multiple international editions around the world, and a host of great books and digital properties, continues to encourage its audience to take an active role in achieving and maintaining good health and fitness for themselves and their families.
Following J.I.'s death in 1971, his son Bob, who had been president since 1951, took over the leadership of the company. During his tenure, Rodale consistently published highly acclaimed books on gardening, health, home improvement, and fitness. Rodale grew into the strong, positive force it is today, spreading the message "You can do it" across the pages of numerous books and magazines, all reflecting the philosophy that people really can take charge of their own lives.
Under Bob’s visionary guidance, the company explored opportunities to expand in multiple areas, including internationally. On September 20, 1990, Bob Rodale was tragically killed in a traffic accident in Russia, where he was developing plans for a long-term joint venture agreement. Upon Bob's death, his wife Ardie became the company’s Chief Executive Officer/Chairman of the Board.
In 2000, Steve Murphy joined the company as President and Chief Operating Officer, and was named President and CEO in 2002. Maria Rodale, the daughter of Bob and Ardie Rodale, was elected Chairman of the Board in 2007, and was named Chief Executive Officer in September 2009, succeeding Steve Murphy. Ardie Rodale served as the company's Chief Inspiration Officer until her passing in December 2009.
Today, privately held Rodale is the world’s leading health and wellness content company, with print, digital, video and e-commerce properties that resonate with millions of customers around the world. It is home to some of the most successful and well-regarded health and wellness brands, including , including Men's Health, Prevention, Runner's World, Women's Health, Bicycling, Organic Gardening (which will relaunch as Rodale's Organic Life in Spring 2015) and Running Times. Rodale also maintains its tradition of publishing bestselling diet, fitness, nutrition, health, wellness, science, and lifestyle books, including Vice President Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, Organic Manifesto: How Organic Food Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe by Maria Rodale, and the best-selling Flat Belly Diet! The company is also a leader in direct-response marketing and has more than 27 million active customers in its database. .
In spring of 2013, Rodale’s® – a specialty e-commerce site for responsibly sourced products – launched. Rodale’s® delivers a shopping destination that allows people to invest in their personal well-being and the Earth’s, without sacrificing beauty or quality. Later that year, Scott Schulman was appointed President of Rodale Inc.
Through its strong brands, new products and businesses, and unparalleled editorial content, Rodale carries on the work of its founder and fulfills its mission to inspire and enable people to improve their lives and world around them.
If you’d like to know more, please consider purchasing a copy of Our Roots Grow Deep: The Story of Rodale.