Co-Executive Director

Keefe comes from the Kickapoo Valley of Wisconsin. He studied biology at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and then traveled on a Watson fellowship to live with farmers in the UK, Zambia, New Zealand, India, and Japan and research the spiritual dynamics of their relationships with the land. He returned to Wisconsin and worked in various capacities at a diversified organic farm, which led to work with the state’s Department of Agriculture in local food system development. His volunteer work with non-profit organizations has spanned agriculture, conservation, research, and development, including service as president of Community Conservation, Inc. His research for a MS in Agroecology at the University of Wisconsin focuses on engaging farmers with their forests.


Keefe joined the Savanna Institute to support farmers leading us into a livable future for all. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where he enjoys canoeing, bicycling, backyard berries, and escaping the city to plant trees on his family’s farm.


Co-Executive Director

Originally discovering nature while running through the forest preserves around Chicago, Kevin is passionate about applying ecological concepts to solve environmental issues. He received BS degrees in ecology and environmental engineering from the University of Illinois. He is currently pursuing a PhD there as well, studying the biogeochemical transition of a corn-soybean rotation to a diverse alley cropping system.


While at the University of Illinois, Kevin spearheaded the establishment of several innovative experiments on production agroforestry. He is also the owner of Midwest Agriculture & Restoration Services LLC and two innovative agroforestry farms in central Illinois that grow chestnuts, hazelnuts, and currants.


Program Manager

Kristy grew up picking rocks from her parents’ farm fields in south-central Wisconsin. She studied Earth Science education at UW-Whitewater, where she developed an intense interest in soils, landscapes, and ecology. Later, she received a master’s in Geography from Michigan State University, and then returned to Wisconsin to earn a PhD in Geography from UW-Madison researching soils, geomorphology, and carbon sequestration in Wisconsin’s Black River State Forest. She has taught courses on soils, geomorphology, and earth science, as well as a capstone seminar on food, agriculture, and sustainability. Following graduation, she led evaluation development and implementation for various programs at UW-Madison. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, gardening, canning, and home-improvement projects.


Manager, Tree Crops Development

Matt's passion for sustainable agriculture started when he was doing community development work in the Philippines. Seeing the direct connection between good food and good health, he returned to the U.S. eager to learn more about small-scale, family farming. He was fortunate enough to be accepted to Berea College, where he earned a B.S. in Agriculture and Natural Resources. He later went back to work on the college farm as the Organic Farming Coordinator. He is currently part of the Agroforestry4Food team at the University of Illinois working on multifunctional agroforestry as a Masters student.



Sylvain is highly interested by developing techniques using more agronomic and biological knowledge for an efficient and sustainable agriculture. He is really passionate about agroforestry, merging no-till and cover crops, woody perennial crops, livestock on pasture, and agronomy. Sylvain hails from a farm family in the southwest of France and is currently a student in agriculture in Lyon, France. He studies have allowed him to travel in recent years in South America, Europe and now in the U.S. He decided to take a year break from his studies to develop his knowledge in agrofrestry with the Savanna Institute. Sylvain is really excited to join the team! He plans to synthetize and share his experiences in U.S. on his blog.

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Savanna Institute

1360 Regent St. #124

Madison, WI 53715

(224) 544-9095