Our Work

Creating systems-level change in Midwest agriculture

A one-stop shop for agroforestry research, education, technical service and demonstration farms, the Savanna Institute is scaling up its programs to draw down carbon for the climate and improve water quality. We work with partners to demonstrate how agroforestry can be practiced on a commercial scale, and offer on-farm learning opportunities. Our Technical Service Providers also help farmers make the switch from an annual crop cycle to the perennial cycle of agroforestry. Get involved with one of our programs to take the next step on your path to perennial agriculture.

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On-Farm Education

Apprenticeship Program

Savanna Institute’s Apprenticeship Program is a one-of-a-kind experience providing beginning farmers with on-farm, technical education with a mentor farmer in the Midwest. Apprentices also take online coursework and have an opportunity for community-building throughout the year.

Demonstration Farms

Savanna Institute’s Demonstration Farms are education hubs for farmers and the public to learn about agroforestry. Our 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.

Three apprentices learn to harvest currents

Assistance for Landholders

Technical Service Program

Savanna Institute’s Technical Service Program helps you take advantage of resources available to plant trees on your pastures, fields, and waterways. Technical Service Providers offer one-on-one support for planning, designing, and securing financial assistance for an agroforestry system.

Water Quality Program

Planting trees on farms and along shorelines can reduce nutrient pollution in local lakes, rivers, and streams. Our Water Quality Program establishes demonstration farms around the Great Lakes, and shares research and education on the potential for agroforestry systems to meet the challenge of the water crisis.

PHOTOS: Randall Hyman, GLPF

Research and Development

Tree Crop Improvement

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.


The Savanna Institute is developing strategic partnerships to increase the viability of agroforestry in the Midwest. Our goal is to stimulate the development of regional food systems that can realize the full potential of agroforestry.

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.