News and Updates

The Savanna Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing restorative, savanna-based agricultural systems through research, education, and outreach.

Please support the Savanna Institute

Keefe Keeley - Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Dear friends,


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.


Please support us however you can this year.  Come out to one of our events, lend your encouragement via social media, volunteer, or purchase from our Bulk Plant Program.


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



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You are invited - come on out to a field day!

Keefe Keeley - Friday, May 05, 2017

With deep thanks to all the host farms, we're thrilled with this field day season schedule.  Join us and be part of sharing and learning what's working and what needs work!  Find more details on our Events page and on social media


The Perennial Report

Keefe Keeley - Thursday, March 09, 2017

Here it is: the work of the Savanna Institute over the past year, in a nutshell.  Check out our Perennial Report to learn about how we are taking root and spreading our branches.  In other words, program updates, highlights, and other exciting developments.  No time to read the two pages of colorful crystal clear hyperlinked pdf here?  The take home is that we are growing, and helping others grow.  Our thanks to all collaborators and supporters who make it possible!



You're invited to the Perennial Farmer Gathering

Keefe Keeley - Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Click here for more information and to register!


February 11, 2017
Byron Colby Barn

1561 Jones Point Rd

Grayslake, Illinois


Detailed agenda forthcoming, but we'll kick things off at 9:30am and finish with an evening meal and socializing.


What we'll do (all in a day!)
- Learn and share during the Perennial Farm Digest
- Hear from featured farmers Dale and Cindy Secher of Cararndale Fruit Farm
- Choose breakout sessions
- Practice site assessment and design with Prairie Crossing Farm Business Development Center
- Catch up on highlights of Savanna Institute efforts
- Build community growing perennial crops and livestock
- Enjoy a couple meals together
- Let our hair down at the end o' day reception
- Go home more informed and stubbornly hopeful!


$50 - regular cost (includes lunch, dinner, and refreshments)
$35 - students, second adult of farm family, those in financial need

$65 - cost to register after January 31st

$0 - children age 12 and under (no childcare planned at this point)


Click here to see lodging options nearby.

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Savanna Institute

1360 Regent St. #124

Madison, WI 53715

(224) 544-9095