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 Johann Rinkens, 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


Match investment capital to agricultural and natural resource properties


Work with existing landowners and farmers to transition into a multi-species system


Devise a conversion plan to successfully implement the selected agroforestry practices


Develop and Manage diverse agroforestry systems that are site and context specific


Design and Install productive agroforestry systems that are patterned after natural plant communities

RAD Considers


Past, present and proposed land use


Existing vegetation, natural plant communities, and economic potential


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 



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!



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

Mark Shepard

Design & Development

Johann Rinkens

Ecological Designer

Karen Vanek

Client Services, Nursery Manager

Eric Berg

Professional Engineer

Kevin Wolz

Research Director

Lisa Brush

Advisor, Executive Director, Stewardship Network



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.

Tour of New Forest Farm

Tour of New Forest Farm, Viola, WI

June 15th, 2019

Restoration Agriculture Workshop in New Paris, OH

New Paris, Ohio August 2-4, 2019

Hazelnut Growers Workshop

Hazelnut Growers Workshop, August 23-24, 2019



11 + 13 =

“What’s that bird?”

Have you ever been out for a walk when you see a bird flying through the sky, and you are curious to know what species it is that you see? Well, you’re not alone, as many people experience this curiosity about the wildlife that surrounds them. The next question is,...

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Observing Change

Whether you are already practicing restorative agriculture or you have a desire for constant learning, we hope that this blog ignites your curiosity to create a deeper relationship within the complex network that we humans call nature. Of course, you decide how deep...

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Congratulations to The Stewardship Network

  Congratulations to our partners, The Stewardship Network, for winning the 2015 International Award for the Science and Practice of Ecology and Society!   Although people and organizations in the Great Lakes region, USA take seriously their role as stewards...

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