Join us in hosting Connor Stedman for a full day workshop for beginning farmers.
Agroforestry and Silvopasture
Silvopasture is an agroforestry system that combines trees and forages with livestock management. Silvopasture offers the potential of significant combined economic and environmental benefits on the farm, and is one of the most promising forms of agriculture for fighting climate change.
Silvopasture is not, however, as simple as “animals in the woods”. In order to achieve its full potential, it must be intentionally designed, grounded in careful observation skills, and flexible to the particular dynamics of the land and ecosystem. It requires a farmer who is proficient in understanding grassland ecology, forestry, and animal husbandry all at once. She or he does not need to be an expert in all of these disciplines, but must be familiar enough to make decisions on a wide variety of time scales.
During this workshop, we will discuss the design and management essentials of silvopasture systems, using case studies, activities, and discussion with examples from around the Northeast US, including a site tour and practicum exercise working with on-the-ground silvopasture systems in use at Stone Barns.
The workshop will focus on building a holistic understanding of the responsible practices of silvopasture, and exploring the economic, environmental, and management benefits (and potential challenges!) of silvopasture on your farm.
We will also dive into a detailed discussion of multifunctional trees as silvopasture components, with a focus on tree fodders and grazing-compatible tree crops. This discussion will include species selection and planting strategies, design and management considerations for integrated animal, infrastructure, forage, and tree systems, and horticultural and economic considerations for growing fodder and crop trees within grazing systems.
Connor Stedman is an ecological designer, farm business planner, and climate educator with AppleSeed Permaculture and Terra Genesis International based between the Hudson and Connecticut river valleys. Connor specializes in applying carbon farming practices and whole systems design thinking to grow resilient, viable landscapes, farm businesses, and communities. He is lead faculty at the Omega Institute’s Center for Sustainable Living and Kiss the Ground’s Regenerative Sourcing and Supply Course. Connor holds an M.S. in Ecological Planning from the University of Vermont and is an affiliate instructor and advisor in UVM’s innovative Leadership for Sustainability program.