Agroforestry Demonstration Farms

Farm-scale agroforestry in action

Demonstration Farms are education hubs for farmers and the public to learn about agroforestry. Savanna Institute’s Demo Farms also provide a place where our scientists collect tree crop germplasm repositories, conduct variety trials, and show how agroforestry can be practiced within different regions. All demonstration farms are developed in partnership with public and private landowners and managed by the Savanna Institute to ensure robust, science-based design, fieldwork and education around agroforestry, and to improve long-term economic and ecological monitoring.

In 2019, the Savanna Institute established an 18-acre alley cropping demonstration at Silverwood Park, a public agricultural park in Dane County, WI.

Demonstration Farm Network

We partner with public and private landowners in Wisconsin and Illinois to demonstrate farm-scale agroforestry.

Silverwood Park
Dane County, WI

Silverwood Park in Edgerton, WI is home to our first demonstration farm, established in 2019. The 18-acre, publicly accessible alley cropping demonstration field is now entering its fourth year of growth. Chestnuts, elderberry, black currant, black walnut, and hybrid poplar are interplanted between rows of organic annual crops.

Open to the public!

4-H Memorial Camp
Allerton Park
Monticello, IL

Our Demonstration Farm at 4-H Memorial Camp is located at Allerton Park, a 1500-acre park in Monticello, IL owned by the University of Illinois. The Savanna Institute manages a 35-acre alley cropping demonstration farm that features rows of hardwood timber with alleys of annual row-crop rotation. PHOTO: Canopy

Tours available during events and by appointment only.

Fields Restored
Oregon, IL

Fields Restored is a privately owned, 166-acre farm featuring row crop, pasture, and agroforestry plantings. The Williams family first worked with the Savanna Institute to transition 20 acres to alley cropping in 2015, and current work includes a silvopasture experiment and riparian buffer to stabilize an eroded waterway.

Tours available during events and by appointment only.

Hudson Farm
Urbana, IL

Hudson Farm is a 120-acre farm near Urbana, IL owned by Cathe Capel that demonstrates a variety of windbreak designs for wildlife, wind protection and profit. Hudson Farm also features hardwood timber and grain alley cropping, elderberry and hazelnut variety trials, and pollinator habitat. Hudson was the first major agroforestry installation launched in partnership with Canopy Farm Management, a tree planting business started by the Savanna Institute in 2021. PHOTO: Canopy

Tours available during events and by appointment only.

Memorial 4H Camp Demonstration Farm at Allerton Park in Monticello, IL features a 35-acre alley cropping demonstration established in 2019 where the Savanna Institute researches different management techniques for native prairie groundcover.

Spring Green Campus

Spring Green, WI

Savanna Institute’s headquarters is located at a network of four demonstration farms in Spring Green, WI in the heart of the Driftless Area. Our Spring Green Campus sits on the lower Wisconsin River surrounded by a vibrant community of innovative farmers, key partners, and robust local food markets. These attributes lend well to showcasing how agroforestry systems can protect local waterways and build markets and value chains. It will also demonstrate opportunities for silvopasture within agroforestry systems and offer a venue to research the benefits of for livestock and ecosystems.

North Farm is located directly north of the Wisconsin River, comprising well-drained river valley bottomland and undulated upland hillslopes. In addition to native savanna restoration and riparian management along the shorelines, we planted a seven-acre pilot farm for clonally propagated hybrid hazelnuts and established a 10.5-acre chestnut orchard for a cold-hardiness trial. As the hazels took root, we grew 20,000 lbs of organic vegetables in the alley cropping system to demonstrate ways to diversify farm income streams. We also partnered with Sauk County Land Resources and Environment to develop over 50 acres of pasture for researching and demonstrating silvopasture systems.

Tours available during events and by appointment only. Private residence.

Valley Farm consists of flat, highly productive farmland along the Wisconsin River, and is ideal for intensive research plots, our tree crop improvement program, and large scale windbreak and alley cropping demonstrations. In 2022 we planted 12 more acres of hybrid hazels as part of the tree crop improvement program, planted a five cultivar clonal hybrid hazelnut pruning trial and established a 12 cultivar elderberry variety trial. Canopy also established a 15-acre mother tree and bareroot nursery.

Tours available during events and by appointment only. Private residence.

Savanna Institute’s Retreat Center, located within sight of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin, sits on a farm that contains a mature silvopasture, extensive cattle handling and management facilities, and several modern buildings for hosting workshops and educational events. Savanna Institute’s Retreat Center will be available for rentals by partners and guests in 2023, demonstrating the potential for agritourism with agroforestry.

Tours available during events and by appointment only. Private residence.

South Farm contains both riparian and upland ground, and offers opportunities for multispecies silvopasture, wetland and riparian management, savanna restoration, alley cropping systems, forest farming, and facilities ideally suited for tree crop processing. PHOTOS: Randall Hyman, GLPF

Tours available during events and by appointment only. Private residence.

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.



Sponsor an Apprentice!

Your gift could provide experience and technical education for aspiring farmers through on-farm training with a mentor farmer and community building opportunities for farmers, apprentices, and those interested in incorporating trees on farmland.