Canopy Farm Management
A perennial farm management business to serve the Midwest
To meet that growing demand, the Savanna Institute has partnered with Grantham Environmental Trust to launch Canopy—a perennial farm management business to serve landowners in the transition to agroforestry. Canopy provides professional tree planting and management services to customers in key regions of the Midwest. Canopy’s experienced staff employ thoughtful design and a mobile fleet of state-of-the-art farm equipment to cost-effectively establish and manage resilient agroecological systems. PHOTO: Canopy
“Canopy will support Midwestern farmers and landowners as we all work to stimulate Midwestern agriculture with profitable perennial crops and effective conservation strategies. We want to enable a second story for every farm.”
– Kevin Wolz, CEO of Canopy and former Co-Executive Director of the Savanna Institute
Canopy’s plant nursery will address bottlenecks in the supply chain for perennial tree crops. The nursery will raise and sell key tree crops including: chestnut, walnut, pecan, hazelnut, heartnut, persimmon, pawpaw, black currant, and elderberry to increase availability of tree crops in the area. You can now order plant materials on Canopy’s website.
- Canopy will overcome bottlenecks in the agroforestry industry by increasing the supply of perennial farm management services in the Midwest.
- Canopy’s experienced staff employ thoughtful design and a mobile fleet of state-of-the-art farm equipment to cost-effectively establish and manage resilient agroecological systems.
- Canopy’s nursery will raise and sell chestnut, walnut, pecan, hazelnut, heartnut, persimmon, pawpaw, black currant, and elderberry to increase availability of tree crops in the area.
- A portion of Canopy’s profits will support the Savanna Institute in advancing its nonprofit research and education mission.
Impact Investment Plans
What will it take to catalyze agroforestry industries in the Midwest? The Savanna Institute has talked with experts across the value chain about the top ten bottlenecks for the Midwest Hazelnut and Eastern Chestnut industries. Canopy is one example of the Savanna Institute investing in agroforestry markets to overcome bottlenecks. Download the free reports to learn more.
“Canopy is working towards the same vision as the Savanna Institute. With the unique strengths of a business, Canopy is built to help people succeed in adding more trees to their farms.”
– Keefe Keeley, Executive Director of the Savanna Institute since 2014
Frequently Asked Questions
I’m a farmer, how will Canopy make it easier for me to adopt agroforestry?
The Savanna Institute provides the education necessary for farmers to take on agroforestry projects themselves. Canopy is for the farmers and landowners that need more support with planting and management. Canopy has the tools and staff needed to establish and manage agroforestry systems so that you don’t have to buy costly equipment or take on new responsibilities. Perhaps you are interested in using federal cost-share to help install riparian buffers, windbreaks, and wildlife habitats on your land—Canopy can help you navigate the process. In addition, Canopy’s nursery will increase the availability of nut crops and small fruit crops for farmers in our region.
Why is the Savanna Institute starting a business?
The mission of the Savanna Institute is to lay the groundwork for widespread agroforestry in the Midwest. Some of the activities required to accomplish our mission, such as education and research, are best served by a nonprofit organization. Other activities, such as demonstrating the market potential for agroforestry services, require a business. Currently, farmers and landowners in the Midwest are underserved by businesses that offer material capacity (i.e. the muscle, crops, equipment, and expertise) to make agroforestry happen on working farms. By partnering with the Grantham Environmental Trust to launch Canopy, the Savanna Institute is stepping in to provide services to help farms succeed in agroforestry, and to inspire other businesses to get involved in agroforestry.
Who owns Canopy?
Canopy was formed out of a collaboration between the Savanna Institute and the Grantham Environmental Trust, and these two nonprofit organizations are the majority owners of the business. Canopy operates independently, with its own management, while its governance includes representatives of the Savanna Institute. A portion of Canopy’s profits will be returned to the Savanna Institute to help fund its education and research mission. All full-time Canopy employees, from field crew to CEO, will also earn a share of ownership in the business.
Will having a business change the Savanna Institute’s mission?
The core mission of the Savanna Institute and our education and research programs continue unchanged. Launching Canopy is an extension of our mission, and we are excited for the ways that it will enable new opportunities for the Savanna Institute to fulfill its mission.
Become an Agroforestry Apprentice
Each summer the Savanna Institute runs an on-farm agroforestry apprenticeship program. This program pairs beginning farmers with experienced agroforesters for 10 weeks of hand-on training and mentoring. Program participants also join an online course and travel to area farms as a cohort to build their network and gain exposure to the wide range of agroforestry practices present across the Midwest.