In 1995 verhuisde Mark Shepard met zijn familie naar de heuvels van Southwest Wisconsin op een nieuwe vorm van boerderij op te starten. Zij besloten zich vooral te richten op meerjarige planten geschikt voor het locale ecosysteem. New Forest Farm is iniddels een van de meest productieve boerderij voor meerjarige planten. Ze combineren land-, tuin- en bosbouw met veeteelt, terwijl ze tegelijkertijd de grond verbeteren, CO2 vastleggen, het grondwater en milieu verbeteren en de biodiversiteit uitbreiden. De boerderij gebruikt geen brandstoffen en combineert een ecosysteem van meerjarige planten (kastanjes, hazelnoten, appels, asperges) met vee, kippen en varkens.
Hij is de schrijver van Restoration Agriculture – Real World Permaculture for Farmers, is permaculture designer, oprichter en voorzitter van Restoration Agriculture Institute en oprichter van Shepard’s Hard Cyder winery.
Hij is bedenker van de belangrijkste management techniek achter Restoration Agriculture: STUN, Sheer, Total, Utter, Neglect.
Mark Shepard on Restoration Agriculture
Mark Shepard of Viola, Wisconsin speaks to organic farmers about his permaculture farm, his experiences and techniques in modeling agriculture after natural, 3-dimensional ecosystems using tree and shrub agroforestry, keyline water management, rotational grazing, and more. He also explains why it is imperative that we take up these techniques immediately and on a large scale in order to sequester carbon, combat climate change, stop soil erosion, deal with peak oil, improve our air, water, and wildlife habitat, all while being more resilient and financially-viable than conventional monoculture farming.
Q&A with Mark Shepard: If we plant 1000s of acres of hazelnuts, won’t we create another monoculture?
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 worlds largest Organic Farmer’s marketing co-op, and is the founder and chief Cydermaker for the Shepard’s Hard Cyder winery in Viola, Wisconsin.