Deep-rooted perennial crops for Midwest farms

Perennial crops produce food for our communities year after year without need for replanting or soil disturbance. The deep roots of perennials bind up soil and slow runoff on farms during extreme rainfall. Diversified farm systems that include trees, shrubs, and other perennial crops also provide much-needed habitat for wildlife and pollinators. Learn more about a few of the perennial crops we research and demonstrate on farms in the region.


Key Perennial Crops Infosheets

  • Explore some of the Midwest’s most promising perennial crops
  • Learn about plant requirements, plant selection, spacing and timing
  • Learn best management practices, livestock integration, food safety concerns, harvesting and markets

These two-sided information sheets highlight ten perennial agroforestry crops with great potential for production in the Midwest.

Explore Tree Crops

We study tree crops to identify opportunities and challenges unique to each. Some crops, such as hazelnut and chestnut, already have strong market potential but could benefit from breeding and processing networks. Other crops, such as aronia and black currant, need more buyers and processors to develop. Whatever a crop may need to be successful for farmers in agroforestry systems, we are there to nurture its development.

Fruit Crops

Nut Crops

Multi-Use Crops

Tree Crop Improvement Program

Achieving widespread agroforestry on the landscape requires investment in tree crop breeding at a level more proportional to the transformational benefits agroforestry can provide. Savanna Institute’s Tree Crop Improvement Program is constructing diverse breeding populations for breeding several key agroforestry species.

Savanna Institute Staff at north farm.
Techinical Service Program

One-On-One Support for Farm Planning

Technical Service Program

Get help planning your perennial farm system. Our Technical Service Program is here to guide you through the process of planning, funding, and planting trees on your farm.

Looking For Plants?

Canopy’s Nursery offers plant material in your region. Find chestnut, walnut, pecan, hazelnut, heartnut, persimmon, pawpaw, black currant, and elderberry for order in their online store. Not only does Canopy increase the availability of high-quality plant material in the region, it also donates part of its proceeds to Savanna Institute’s nonprofit research and education mission.