🔊 The Institute’s Roots: 10th Anniversary Conversation with Keefe Keeley and Kevin Wolz
Kevin Wolz was part of the network of researchers and farmers who founded the Savanna Institute back in 2013, and served as the first chair of the institute’s board of directors. From 2017 to 2022, he served as co-executive director of the organization. He is currently CEO of Canopy Farm Management.
Keefe Keeley was Savanna Institute’s first official staff person. He has served as executive director since he was hired in 2014.
Beginning in 2017, Keefe and Kevin worked together for five years as co-executive directors of the Savanna Institute. During those five years, the organization went from being a scrappy startup (with three part-time employees collectively doing the work of one full-time staff person) to being a thriving nonprofit with over twenty employees, purchasing land in southern Wisconsin to establish a home farm, and launching a spinoff business, Canopy Farm Management, to increase tree planting and perennial farm management services in the Midwest.
In the episode, Keefe and Kevin talk about how Savanna Institute has always had a vision for transformational change, and how, as Keefe says, “we’re not going to achieve that by doing some nice projects on the margins.”
You can hear the full conversation with Keefe and Kevin on the Perennial AF podcast or on our YouTube channel:
More from Perennial AF
🔊 Thick as Thieves with Samantha Bosco
In this episode of Perennial AF, we’re listening back to another presentation from our 2022 Perennial Farm Gathering, and we’ll be hearing from Samantha Bosco, a postdoctoral fellow at the USDA National Agroforestry Center, who conducted research on temperate nut trees for her Ph.D. work at Cornell University. Samantha’s presentation covered a lot of ground from how forest composition can be influenced by the personalities of foraging animals to the non-binary nature of agroforestry and its connections to social justice and queerness in nature.
Our 10-Year Perennial Report
When the Savanna Institute started in earnest in 2013 by a small volunteer group in Illinois, few supports existed for perennial farmers. Ten years later, a network of demonstration farms, technical service providers, and social enterprises now serve Midwest farmers that want to plant trees. This year’s Perennial Report is a retrospective on the Savanna Institute and our last decade’s worth of work to lay the groundwork for widespread agroforestry. Thank you to everyone who helped us grow along the way!
Canopy’s First Year
Well, there it is: Canopy’s inaugural year is in the books! And what a memorable year it was. We launched right into the worst of the supply chain crisis of early 2022, which delayed orders of carefully chosen equipment, followed by one of the wettest springs in Illinois recorded history, which cut our planting season in half. But thanks to the incredible effort and dedication of our team, we managed to plant over 57,000 trees – a success in our book.