Ready to build your farming skills?

Our online agroforestry courses focus on key tree crops and practices, marketing, land access and finances, social justice, water quality, soil health, and climate change. Each course features multimedia lessons with video and audio with all you need to dig deep into each subject. Flexible and self-paced, the courses can be taken individually or in sequence. Let’s get started!

For Beginners

Beginning Farmers: Agroforestry Foundations

The Agroforestry Foundations course is designed to introduce you to a diversity of agroforestry practices, financial arrangements, farm designs and business models while helping you reflect on your own personal values and goals. Developed by the Savanna Institute, a nonprofit that lays the groundwork for widespread agroforestry in the Midwest.

Beginning Farmers: Social Justice and Agroforestry

For many people, part of their interest in agroforestry lies in being an active participant in an agricultural system that is more environmentally regenerative, economically viable, and socially responsible than the current dominant US agricultural system. Creating a more regenerative and equitable agricultural system through agroforestry, however, requires us to recognize and address the injustices that have led to, and continue to shape, the current system. Developed by the Savanna Institute, a nonprofit that lays the groundwork for widespread agroforestry in the Midwest. Developed by the Savanna Institute, a nonprofit that lays the groundwork for widespread agroforestry in the Midwest.

Do you work with land managers?

We’ve partnered with an inter-regional collaborative to develop a collection of technical assistance training modules to help natural resource professionals develop their agroforestry skills. Developed with Appalachian Sustainable Development and Interlace Commons with funding from the Edwards Mother Earth Foundation, our courses work to address the shortage of technical assistance available to perennial farmers. 

Agroforestry Training for Natural Resource Professionals

This agroforestry training program is custom designed for individuals like you who work with land managers, with the goal of helping you expand your knowledge of agroforestry to better serve your clients and community. Six courses offer a deep-dive into key agroforestry topics: forest farming, silvopasture, and alley cropping and more.

Fundamentals of Alley Cropping

An introduction to the history, benefits, risks and NRCS support for alley cropping—intercropping woody shrub or tree rows with other crops being grown in the alleys between.

Fundamentals of Forest Farming

An introduction to the history of forest farming, its social and economic benefits, site design considerations, and navigation of NRCS programs.

Fundamentals of Silvopasture

Foundational knowledge about silvopasture as a sustainable land use practice for farmers, landowners, and others working with livestock in woodland and pasture landscapes.

Fundamentals of Social Competency: Growing Agroforestry

This course focuses on growing agroforestry by expanding social skills for working with people and working across differences.

Understanding NRCS Support for Agroforestry

An introduction to support for agroforestry through USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) – a conservation planning agency that provides technical assistance to identify and address natural resource concerns or problems.

The Savanna Institute partners with learning institutes across the country to provide online professional development courses at

Enrollment note: The Savanna Institute is upgrading its online courses. Your access has now moved to a new site: Watch your inbox for login information. Questions? Contact [email protected]

Do you have a question?

Ask an Agroforester

Where can I buy plants?

Our partners at Canopy Farm Management, based in Illinois and Wisconsin, have perennial plant material available through its bare-root nursery. When you purchase through Canopy, a portion of the sales help to support Savanna Institute’s nonprofit mission. For more nurseries in your area, check out this National Nursery and Seed Directory.

What trees or shrubs should I plant?

The plants you choose will depend on the natural resources on your land and your farm goals. Timber trees require low investment and minimal ongoing maintenance over a longer period of time ranging 20 to 50 years depending on species. Fruit and nut trees require higher initial investment and establishment maintenance, but can provide annual returns once established (approximately 5 to 10 years depending on species). Additional shrubs and crops can be planted within the tree rows between tree species. Learn more about perennial crops.

Where are your demonstartion farms?

The Savanna Institute runs demonstration farms in Central Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. We also have partners in Michigan and Minnesota who share their farms for educational events. Our demonstration at Silverwood Park in Wisconsin is open to the public, and the rest are open during events and by appointment only. Learn more about our demonstration farms.