Redesigning Agriculture in Nature’s Image

Alleycropping with Asparagus between Chestnuts

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Polyculture Techniques to Enhance Biodiversity

Provide Wildlife Habitat and Produce an Abundance of Food

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Hands-on Training and Workshops on Agroforestry

Field Tour of Woody Perennial Polyculture Research Site at University of Illinois

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Working in partnership with farmers, institutions, and investors, Restoration Agriculture Development (RAD) creates real rural economic and community development to improve livelihoods, restore ecosystem services, and produce an abundance of food for humankind.

RAD is a full-service environmental consulting, research, and development firm committed to developing agricultural ecosystems that provide nutritious food for humankind while enhancing the life-supporting ecosystem services of planet Earth. Our founders, Mark Shepard and Dr. Wayne Dorband, have over 30 years of experience in environmental consulting, production agriculture, and real estate development. Together, RAD has worked on 100+ projects in multiple climates across 4 continents. Through active ecosystem management, RAD combines ecological restoration with agricultural development to improve your landscape.

RAD Helps

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Match investment capital to agricultural and natural resource properties
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Work with existing landowners and farmers to transition into a multi-species system
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Devise a conversion plan to successfully implement the selected agroforestry practices
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Develop and Manage diverse agroforestry systems that are site and context specific
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Design and Install productive agroforestry systems that are patterned after natural plant communities

RAD Considers

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Past, present and proposed land use
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Existing vegetation, natural plant communities, and economic potential
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The relationship between your property and its surroundings, including: topography, soils, wind patterns, water supply, sunlight relationships, wildlife travel patterns, built environment and land connectivity

Healthy Landscapes, Healthy People

Our purpose is to be a catalyst in restoring the world’s degraded landscapes into healthy, functional agricultural ecosystems as the context for the health and well-being of the populace, economically viable farm operations and empowered livelihoods. 

It is our responsibility to create the rich, lush, living planet that our children and grandchildren will inhabit.

Rather than perpetuating the separation of nature and humans, RAD is breaking down the dichotomy of ecological restoration and production agriculture as we support farmers to become ecosystem managers; the ecological and agricultural backbone of the dawning restoration economy.

Restore and Thrive 

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DESIGN APPROACH

Restoration Agriculture imitates the structure and function of the specific ecosystem’s natural plant communities while utilizing the appropriate agroforestry and water management techniques to produce an agricultural yield and restore ecosystem services.

Perennial crops, livestock, fungus, and pollinators are integrated to produce abundant food, fiber, and fuel and simultaneously restore critical ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, water purification and infiltration, nutrient cycling, and biodiversity.

“Agroforestry is a unique land management approach that intentionally blends agriculture and forestry to enhance productivity, profitability and environmental stewardship. Agroforestry can be a key tool for farmers, ranchers, woodland owners, communities and others who want to use sustainable strategies that enhance agricultural practices and protect natural resources” – USDA Agroforestry Strategic Framework

Site Assessment & Planning

Comprehensive Water Management

Appropriate Agroforestry Techniques

Construction & Installation

Successional Management

"Restoration Agriculture: Real-World Permaculture for Farmers"

Restoration Agriculture explains how we can have all of the benefits of natural, perennial ecosystems and create agricultural systems that imitate nature in form and function while still providing for our food, building, fuel and many other needs — in your own backyard, farm or ranch.                           Get your copy now!

PROJECTS

WANT TO START A PROJECT WITH US?

We develop win-win deals

TEAM

The RAD team is leveraged by a global ecosystem of professional consultants, researchers, and advisors.

Mark Shepard

Design & Development

Jeffrey Caston

Operations & Strategy

Karen Vanek

Nursery Manager

Wayne Dorband

Business Development & Design

Eric Berg

Professional Engineer

Kevin Wolz

Research Director

Lisa Brush

Advisor, Executive Director, Stewardship Network

Dennis Garrity

Advisor, Senior Fellow, World Agroforestry Center

Patrick Worms

Advisor, Senior Science Policy Advisor, World Agroforestry Center

TRAINING

Building the future of farming

Introduction and advanced training opportunities in Restoration Agriculture design. Courses available on one of our network farms or yours. We are growing the next generation of RAD pioneers.

Upcoming Workshops

Water Quality Workshop (Lake Erie)

Toledo, Ohio: August 30, 2016

Wild Earth Farm & Sanctuary

Irvine, Kentucky: October 17-19, 2016 (3-Day)

Bioneers Conference

San Rafael, California: October 21-23, 2016

Biodynamic Conference

Santa Fe, New Mexico: November 16-20, 2016

ACRES USA Conference

Omaha, Nebraska: November 29 – December 2, 2016

Restoration Ag Education Programs

Presentation (Topics)
Introduction to Restoration Agriculture, Comprehensive Water Management & Keyline-Inspired Design, Transitioning to a Multi-Species Agroforestry System, Introducing Livestock into Agroforestry Systems, Economics of Agriculture & more
3 Day Weekend Courses
(Combination of select topics & design work which is coordinated with the specific Phase we are on in the design process. Phase 1: Site Assessment, Phase 2: Earthworks, Phase 3: Plant Trees, Phase 4: Successional Management) Introduction to Restoration Agriculture, Site Assessment & Identify Biome, Ecosystem Mimicry, Comprehensive Water Management, Multi-Species Agroforestry Systems, Introducing Livestock into Agroforestry Systems, Ecological Succession, Economics of Agriculture & Successional Management
5 Day Workshops
The 5-Day workshops combine multiple phases of the Restoration Agriculture Design Process for advanced learning-by-doing training opportunities for participants to take part in the implementation of a design project.

Our Partners

CONTACT US

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