I hope this finds you well. I am writing to request your support for the Savanna Institute and the work we are doing for the future of farming. There are many ways to support us. This letter offers a few reasons why I hope you will.
We all know farms provide food, but we do not live by bread alone. We all need a diverse diet, clean water, fresh air, a stable climate, bumble bees and butterflies, and inspiring beauty. Farms can provide all these things too, and the Savanna Institute’s work is to develop farming systems provide all these benefits.
An example of bringing this vision to life:
Michael Dolan was a key organizer in an event Savanna Institute helped sponsor. We linked the Mississippi watershed from Wisconsin to the Louisiana bayou. Fishers from the delta traveled all the way here to visit farms, cook up some of their catch, and encourage us farmers here in order to protect their livelihoods downstream. For these folks, the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico is not a distant abstraction. Runoff from our farm fields truly destroys their livelihood.
We visited Michael’s Seven Seeds Farm – he is the seventh generation in his family to care for that land – and showed the fishers from the Gulf and plus about sixty local field day attendees the innovative soil and water conservation. We saw the herd of Murray Grey cattle, the Red Wattle hogs, and the thousands of trees planted in the pastures these animals spend their lives in. We introduced the tour to some of the research we are working with Michael on:What is the most effective fencing to protect seedling trees from cattle? How does growth of different tree species compare on this farm? What is the timeline for return on investment for tree crops?
We are working with farmers like Michael to discover and share answers to these kinds of critical questions. Please browse our research page,
read Why a Savanna Institute?, or
drop us a line to learn more about our work.
It is our privilege to support these farmers, to cooperate in research and education with them, and to help connect them with each other. This is only possible because of support from you and other people, like you, passionate about an ecological future for agriculture.
As you are able, please include the Savanna Institute in your charitable giving.
Let me encourage all of us: may we be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. Without casting blame on individuals, let’s recognize the hidden costs in our cheap food system: reliance on massive fossil inputs, dead zones in our water, diet-related disease, and the slow violence of injustice and landscape degradation. And simultaneously, without being naïve, let’s envision and develop solutions: food systems that work with nature and work more like nature -- diverse, productive, resilient, and perennial.
Perennially yours in gratitude and in hope,
Executive Director, Savanna Institute