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Speaker Bios

Samantha Bosco is a doctoral candidate at Cornell University Graduate School of Integrative Plant Science Horticulture Section. Her dissertation, “Research is Nuts”, examines the past, present, and future role of temperate nut trees in both Indigenous and non-native communities. She’s led interactive education on the Skarù:rę Food Forest Project and serves on the Agroforestry Program Work Team for Cornell Cooperative Extension. Outside of academia Bosco is a parent, musician, forager, gardener, cyclist, rock climber, and lifelong wanderer.

Austin Unruh is owner and founder of Trees for Graziers, a Pennsylvania company working with farmers around Lancaster County to help them establish silvopasture systems that integrate the right trees for better pastured profits.

Beverly Paul works with Gordley Associates specializing in agricultural conservation and climate, food and nutrition, crop insurance and research issues. She previously worked on agriculture and trade issues for Senators Ben Nelson and Bob Kerrey, both of Nebraska. Beverly was a key participant in the last reform of federal crop insurance in the Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000 (ARPA), and was detailed to the staff of then-Majority Leader Tom Daschle during the conference on the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. Bev grew up on a farm in Nebraska and, before coming to Washington, worked for American Agrisurance in Iowa.

Tom Wahl and Kathy Dice are Midwesterners; Fisheries and Wildlife Biology majors; and past employees for various government agencies in wildlife research, wildlife management, forestry, environmental education and park management. Married in 1984, they bought 56 acres of steep, rugged timberland in Louisa County in 1986.  In 2001 they added 31 acres of rolling farmland.  Over time they established Red Fern Farm: a farm of fruit and nut producing trees, shrubs and vines.  They grow high value tree crops including chestnuts, pawpaws, heartnuts, persimmons, Asian pears and others. They also operate a small tree nursery.



Cherrie Nolden and her husband Allen own 130 acres and operate 183 acres between Dodgeville and Ridgeway, WI. Their focus is rotationally-grazed meat goats and sheep, and draft horses. They have a forage-based, low-input meat goat and sheep production system (no grain, no deworming, no kidding assistance, metabolically-efficient, naturally healthy on what grows there, and essentially organic). They host pasture walks each year to teach people about multi-species grazing, horse management on pasture, soil health, dung beetles, forage quality, parasite management, livestock guardian dog use, organic fertility management, and low-input production systems.

Cristel Zoebisch works on federal agriculture policy that supports carbon removal at Carbon180. Previously, she has worked on conservation and climate policy solutions for sustainable farmers and ranchers. Cristel holds a BA in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin and an MA in Food Studies from New York University. She is based in Baltimore, Maryland and enjoys hiking with her family.

David LeZaks from the Croatan Institute is an environmental scientist and financial activist whose work is centered around developing innovative mechanisms for financing the transition to agroecological farming and food systems. He has also led the Regenerative Food Systems initiative at Delta Institute in Chicago, where he managed a portfolio of projects that focused on the design and deployment of disruptive mechanisms to unlock substantial capital flows into regenerative agriculture. Based in Madison, Wisconsin, David is active in his community and enjoys gardening and participating in a variety of silent sports.

Eric Wolske is the Illinois Hub Manager for Canopy Farm Management where he utilizes unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to quickly collect data on currants, perennial grasses, and agroforestry systems. He also has experience managing woody crops in conventional and agroforestry systems, both at the University of Illinois and at vineyards in Southern Illinois. 

From Champaign, IL, Eric has always dreamed of more trees in the expansive corn and bean fields where he grew up. When he is not playing with drones, he’s fermenting wines, ciders, and seltzers to enjoy with friends and family.


Jacob Gigler-Caro is a human being who is constantly questioning and brainstorming ways to better carefor this place we call home. Jacob has been growing food in different capacities over the past 16 years, first finding his love for food in Chicago community gardens. Since then, he has worked alongside communities in California, Wisconsin, and North Carolina growing food, learning, teaching, and managing farms at a variety of scales. He is currently the Executive Director of Salt City Harvest Farm outside Syracuse, NY where he is committed to growing food, culture, and community through the cross-cultural exchange of food traditions. He is on a continuous quest to share what he has learned with others; with the intention of breaking down stereotypes, bringing people together, and deepening our relationship with the cosmos.

Lauren Manning from the Croatan Institute is an attorney, law professor, and farmer with a dedicated passion for all things farming. She has been a venture capital investor with food and ag-focused firm AgFunder, where she focused on deal flow and due diligence. At the University of Arkansas School of Law, Lauren serves as an adjunct professor teaching courses on farm animal welfare, food safety, farm succession planning, agricultural cooperatives and local food systems. She owns a small farm in Northwest Arkansas where she raises cattle, sheep, and goats and enjoys horse riding. Lauren is also a partner with Ozark Pasture Beef, a direct-to-consumer grass-finished and pasture-based livestock partnership selling beef and lamb.

Mark Krawczyk is an applied ecologist, educator, and grower with a background in permaculture design, agroforestry, natural building, traditional woodworking, and small-scale forestry. He co-owns and operates Keyline Vermont LLC, teaching, designing, and consulting for farmers, homeowners, and homesteaders.

Nelle Rutecki is a mom, farmer, and student of yoga for nearly two decades. Alongside her husband and three children, she grows a wide variety of annuals, helps attend to a herd of cattle and sheep and a flock of hens in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Patrick Michaels is the Chief Financial Officer for Canopy Farm Management. He develops investable business models to support Midwest agroforestry and enterprise budgets for agroforestry operations. Patrick also has experience as a startup founder, small business owner and investment professional, including as a Growth Projects Manager at Midwestern BioAg. He lives on a budding agroforestry farm outside Spring Green, Wisconsin, where he enjoys bird watching and ecological restoration.

Ricardo Salvador is the senior scientist and director of the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He has over four decades of experience working with citizens, scientists, economists, and politicians to transition our current food system into one that grows healthy foods while employing sustainable and socially equitable practices.



Matt Wilson is a Technical Service Provider in Wisconsin and the primary author of Perennial Pathways: Planting Tree Crops published by the Savanna Institute. He has also worked with farmers in eastern Kentucky as a small farm production advisor with Grow Appalachia and served as the organic farming coordinator at Berea College Farm, which is one of the oldest continuously operated student farms in the country. Matt studied edible agroforestry systems during graduate school at the University of Illinois. On their own farm, Matt’s family has raised sheep, goats,  poultry, honey bees, sweet sorghum syrup, and tree crops.

Eliza Greenman is Savanna Institute’s Germplasm Specialist. She assembles large seedling populations for several key agroforestry crops. Greenman is a fruit explorer and horticultural historian. She designs and implements agroforestry plans that integrate livestock (and humans) into tree crop systems/orchards and runs a small business, HogTree.

Jenn Ripp is the Education Coordinator at the Savanna Institute and a long-time advocate for perennial agriculture. An orchardist at heart, Jenn found a home in Decorah, IA managing the vast diversity of apple tree varieties in the Seed Savers Exchange orchard. She brings a deep love of fruit and nut trees to the role.


Kaitie Adams leads the Demonstration Farm program for the Savanna Institute and helps build community through agroforestry education across the state and beyond. Her background in anthropology illuminates the deep ecological and social connections created through agriculture and informs her work in building bridges between landowners, farmers, industry builders, and researchers. In addition to planting trees and talking about pawpaws, she teaches community classes on seasonal cooking, fermentation, and canning and co-owns Red Crib Acres, a small apple orchard on rented land.

Devon Brock-Montgomery is the Water Quality Program Manager at the Savanna Institute. Her work focuses on establishing and researching agroforestry practices to reduce runoff and pollution in water resources, particularly in the Great Lakes region.

Jacob Grace, host of the Perennial AF podcast, manages communications projects at the Savanna Institute and Grasslands 2.0, a managed grazing and perennial agriculture project at UW-Madison’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS).

Zachary Couture is a passionate farmer, educator, and advocate whose experiences inspire him to positively transform our communities and ecosystem.  Formerly a carpenter and Spanish teacher, Couture discovered a love for regenerative farming while he volunteered to connect former-refugees to community gardens with Lutheran Services in Iowa.  Since helping to start the program over 10 years ago, Couture has worked to grow Global Greens into a successful model for New Americans to access land and have a pathway to sustainable market farming.

Manika Gautam is from Nepal and has been growing food her whole life. She has been in the Syracuse Refugee Agriculture Program (SyRAP) for more than six years and plays a pivotal role as both an interpreter and bridge to the Nepali- speaking community in Syracuse, NY. She juggles many roles as a community farmer, liaison, and single mother of three.

Nathan Aaberg launched the Northeast Illinois FarmLink land access program at Liberty Prairie Foundation, which connects, advises, and educates farmers and farmland owners around land access and improved land stewardship. Nathan is working to build the program into a state-wide Illinois FarmLink with The Land Connection. Nathan and his family live in the Prairie Crossing conservation community in Grayslake, Illinois.

Jenna DeRario is the Payment for Ecosystem Services Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County in New York. She has a Master of Regional Planning degree from Cornell University and a background in environmental science and natural resource management. Her previous experience includes serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama where she worked to develop a community tree nursery, organic home gardens, and water resource protection projects. She has also coordinated food insecurity programs in both Washington, DC and Ithaca, NY. Jenna is an avid hiker and enjoys living in the beautiful Finger Lakes region.

Nate Lawrence investigates agroforestry’s impact on ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration and reducing water pollution. Before joining Savanna Institute, he completed a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Iowa State University where his research focused on soil greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient leaching. Originally from Central Illinois, Nate is an eager hunter and angler who enjoys free lessons in patience and humility from Wisconsin’s wildlife.


Anthony Corsaro  is the Managing Director at Outlaw Ventures – a family office investing in investment funds and early-stage food and agriculture businesses with the capacity to provide substantial financial returns while having a positive impact on human and environmental health. Anthony recently wrapped up 18 months as the Director of Business Development at Regenerative Food Systems Investment (RFSI) – a venue for the funders and change-makers of regenerative agriculture to connect, build, and scale regenerative food systems. Anthony was also a third-generation family contributor and the Director of Sales & Marketing at Indianapolis Fruit Company, a leading fresh foods distributor in the Midwest that sells over 3,500 SKU’s and services over 2,500 plus retailers in 20 states.

Seth Gillim is the Director of Farm Service for Propagate Ag and has co-managed the Intervale Conservation Nursery.

Dylan Bruce co-founded Circadian Organics in 2018, which has grown into a 100-member CSA and about 2 acres of certified organic, reduced-tillage production practices. They are active members of the Wisconsin Farmers Union. Dylan also co-founded SeedLinked, an app for farmers and gardeners to find and buy seed.

Andrea Miller is the sustainable forestry program manager at Rural Action, an asset-based community development organization in Athens, Ohio. She also serves on the Athens Conservancy board of directors, the Native Foods Educational Organization board of directors and the leadership committee for the southeastern Ohio Women Owning Woodlands Chapter. Andrea’s background is in conservation biology and botany. Through her work, she helps landowners across central Appalachia implement agroforestry practices on their land.

Shelby Best manages farmland protection and stewardship projects across the Midwest for American Farmland Trust. Before joining AFT, Shelby was the Sustainability & Resiliency Coordinator at Region 1 Planning Council, where she led sustainability planning work for local governments across the Northern Illinois region. Examples of projects she led there include a regional greenways plan and update, a solid waste management plan, and a climate action plan for a local public transit agency.

Marlee Giacometti supports crop diversification efforts in the Midwest for American Farmland Trust. Before joining AFT, she was an environmental coordinator for Marquis Energy, where she managed environmental compliance programs at Marquis Energy’s ethanol plant and barge terminal. Marlee completed a term of service with AmeriCorps NCCC, working on conservation & agriculture projects for various non-profit organizations.

Brad Kasberg is a Sustainable Landscape Specialist at Argonne National Laboratory. He has a background in landscape ecology, conservation, and regional planning. Brad holds a BSc in Geography from Miami University and a Master’s in Landscape Architecture from the University of Michigan.

Mark Hamann is a Hazelnut Research Technician at University of Minnesota where he assists Dr. Lois Braun in hazelnut breeding, agronomics and propagation, and also the Upper Midwest Hazelnut Development Initiative.Prior to working at UMN, he worked at Badgersett Research Farm in Canton, MN.

Allysse Sorensen – NoFence, The Munch Bunch

Tyler Carlson – Sustainable Farming Association, Early Boots Farm

Doug Voss – Sustainable Farming Association,  Voss Farms

Meghan Filbert – NoFence, Grassbelly Farmstead

Adam Abel – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) WI

Lauren Manning, Senior Associate at the Croatan Institute 

Patrick Michaels, Chief Financial Officer at Canopy Farm Management


Anthony Corsaro,  Director of Business Development for Regenerative


Before you plant your perennial crops, ask yourself this one question:

“Who are my partners?”

Implementing agroforestry can be difficult, especially when it comes to transitioning land use, acquiring financing, and securing land tenure and access. We have compiled a series of videos and resources showing new kinds of partnerships between landowners, tree farmers, and investors or between landowners, community stakeholders, and investors to accelerate widespread adoption of agroforestry practices. Check out some of these stories to find unique partnerships that might appeal to you.

Share with a friend and support the understanding and adoption of agroforestry in the Midwest!