Restoration Agriculture: Farming in Nature’s Image

In many cases, the idea of ecological restoration and agriculture are believed to be at odds. Farmer, author, and agroforestry consultant, Mark Shepard, will explain how we can restore natural ecosystems while farming the land in a way that benefits farmers, pollinators, and wildlife habitat. This session will be about managing ecological succession and how restoration agriculture can be used to produce an agricultural yield and restore ecosystem services. This session is for practicing ecosystem restorationists, students, conservationists, farmers, gardeners, and more

Saturday, January 14, 2017 - 10:00am to 10:50am
Mark Shepard
Forest Agriculture Enterprises
Mark Shepard is the CEO of Forest Agriculture Enterprises and runs New Forest Farm, the 106-acre perennial agricultural forest considered by many to be one of the most ambitious sustainable agriculture projects in the United States. New Forest Farm is a planned conversion of a typical row-crops grain farm into a commercial-scale, perennial agricultural ecosystem using oak savanna, successional brushland and eastern woodlands as the ecological models. Trees, shrubs, vines, canes, perennial plants and fungi are planted in association with one another to produce food (for humans and animals), fuel, medicines, and beauty. Hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts and various fruits are the primary woody crops. The farm is entirely solar and wind powered and farm equipment is powered with locally produced biofuels that are not taken from the human food chain. Trained in both mechanical engineering and ecology, Mark has developed and patented equipment and processes for the cultivation, harvesting and processing of forest derived agricultural products for human foods and bio fuels production. Mark was certified as a Permaculture designer in 1993 and received his Diploma of Permaculture design from Bill Mollison, the founder of the international Permaculture movement. Mark is founder and board President for Restoration Agriculture Institute and serves on the board of the Southwest Badger Resource Conservation and Development Council. He teaches agroforestry and Permaculture worldwide. Mark is a farmer member of the Organic Valley cooperative, the world’s largest Organic Farmer’s marketing co-op, and is the founder and chief Cydermaker for the Shepard’s Hard Cyder winery in Viola, Wisconsin.