Rule-breaking runs in this family
Carrying on the legacy of the country’s biggest health and wellness media company is not something Maria Rodale takes lightly. The third-generation publisher and organic farmer is as fired up as she ever has been about the importance of pushing an environmental agenda and she showed it during a lunchtime chat at Social Venture Network’s conference with Drummond Pike, financier and founder of Tides Foundation.
“Our focus has always been on healthy active living,” says the CEO of Rodale, Inc., “and I see our next phase as connecting health and the environment in the minds of consumers all around the world.”
Along with her management job, Rodale is also an author and in her latest book, Organic Manifesto, she takes a hard stand on the urgency of changing the way we live – before it’s too late. In the first pages of the book she writes:
“We are all being poisoned, contaminated, sterilized, and eventually exterminated by the synthetic chemicals we have used for the last 100 years to grow our food and maintain our lawns, to make our lives ‘easier’ and ‘cleaner’ and our life cheaper.”
In other words, it’s not one of those romance novels, says Pike.
Rodale likes those, too, and says she’s working on one with her 30-year-old daughter Maya. She learned to love them when she was pregnant with her other daughter, Eve, who’s now 15, and has since written It’s My Pleasure, a memoir and self-help book, with Maya. Not surprising to anyone who knows Rodale, she sees them a little differently than most. There is a window into the sexual history of women, she says. “My daughter and I decided that unleashing the right to love was core to saving the planet – and that was long before Fifty Shades of Gray.”
'We grew up being made fun of'
Rodale takes pride in her family history of rule-breaking. Twenty years before Rachel Carson’s "Silent Spring" was published her grandfather was writing about organic farming. “We grew up being made fun of,” she says. “There wasn’t any club that wanted us as members. So it makes me feel comfortable to break the rules – my family made us feel it was safe to challenge conventional thinking.”