Laying the groundwork for widespread agroforestry in the Midwest.
The Savanna Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works with farmers and scientists to lay the groundwork for widespread agroforestry adoption in the Midwest US. Inspired by the native savanna ecosystems that once covered much of this region, the Savanna Institute conducts research, education, and outreach to support the growth of diverse, perennial agroecosystems.
Catalyze the development and adoption of resilient, scalable agroforestry.
A multifunctional agriculture in the Midwest US based on agroforestry systems of integrated trees, crops, and livestock that fosters ecological resilience, climate stability, economic prosperity, and vibrant communities.
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We come to our work with a set of core values that informs all of our partnerships, projects, and actions. They are:
All beings have inherent worth.
Multiple Ways of Knowing
Expertise comes in many forms. We integrate traditional ecological knowledge, observation, and scientific inquiry and welcome multiple worldviews.
We have a responsibility to work together with partners towards a more diverse and resilient ecology, economy, and society for the benefit of the public good.
All life is interdependent and relies on a diverse and resilient ecology to thrive.
Cultural diversity and biodiversity are inherently linked. Our vision for more ecological agriculture will bear fruit when a diversity of perspectives and voices are included.
Historical injustices and continued discrimination inhibit our vision from taking root. We promote equitable access to programs and resources within food and farming systems.
Modern agriculture, although exceedingly productive, relies on fossil inputs while degrading soil and causing manifold problems for the health of human and natural communities. The science is clear: incremental approaches are insufficient to solve the fundamental problems of modern agriculture. Instead, transformative solutions that supplant vast monocultures of annual crops are necessary, especially in the face of climate change.
One such transformative solution is agroforestry – the integration of trees with crops and livestock. By integrating perennial crops and pastured animals throughout agricultural landscapes, agroforestry has great potential for climate change mitigation and adaptation. One North American analysis found that, even when implemented on a modest scale, agroforestry could sequester 548.4 Tg of carbon per year, offsetting 34% of US annual emissions from coal, oil, and gas. Modeled after an exceptionally productive natural ecosystem – the savanna – agroforestry systems protect soil, sequester carbon, regenerate nutrients, filter water, and harbor wildlife – all while producing the carbohydrates, proteins, and oils that are the fundamental components of food systems.
At the Savanna Institute, we work to advance multifunctional agroforestry in the Midwest: farming systems of integrated trees, crops, and livestock that foster ecological resilience, water quality, soil health, and vibrant rural communities. The Institute serves as a catalyst in this agricultural transition by empowering industry stakeholders via research, education, and outreach. Our work can be broadly grouped into three core pillars: Tree Crops, Farming Systems, and Stakeholders.
The Savanna Institute Perennial Report is our version of the standard “annual report” provided by organizations. Each year, you can see all the progress we’ve made in establishing agroforestry and perennial agriculture throughout the Midwest! Annual IRS Form 990 available upon request.