In December 2018, John Mischler and I attended the Perennial Farm Gathering hosted by the Savanna Institute in Madison, Wis. The Savanna Institute is a non-profit organization that supports the development of restorative, savanna-based agricultural systems.
In 2013, the Merry Lea Sustainable Farm partnered with the Savanna Institute in order to plan and plant our five-acre Woody Perennial Polyculture.
The Perennial Farm Gathering was a great opportunity to meet and make connections with other farmers who grow perennial crops. The sessions offered valuable information and good conversations about managing perennial systems and marketing the crops, some of which are unfamiliar to most people. It was definitely fun and energizing to be with a subset of the population who know what currants and aronia berries are!
The Farm Team is already harvesting currants, raspberries, blackberries, and aronia berries from the WPP. In future years, it will also produce apples, paw paws, persimmons, pears, hazelnuts, chestnuts and more.
– Ellie Schertz is assistant farm manager.