The Permaculture Podcast

    Episode 1504: The Savanna Institute with Keefe Keeley

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    My guest for this episode is Keefe Keeley the executive director of The Savanna Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing savanna-based agricultural systems through research, education, and outreach.

    During this interview we discuss the role of research, citizen scientists, and traditional ecological knowledge in order to build biome specific agricultural systems. Throughout we use the models presented by the Savanna Institute as the basis for the conversation.

    You can find out more about Keefe and the Institute at You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter (@Savannainst).

    Keefe wanted me to let you know that the Savanna Institute is accepting applications to work with farmers who are interested in getting involved. You’ll find more information about that on the Case Study Program page.

    If you enjoyed this episode, two others I recommend are my interview with Stephen Harrod Buhner, or Elizabeth Farnsworth. Both of those conversations touch on the ideas of citizen science and what we can do as lay researchers.

    From this conversation I liked Keefe’s focus on mixing the rigorous quantitative methods of science and research with the qualitative experience of farmers. We can all come together to do this work.and gain knowledge. Find out what is best, what is worse, and what does or does not work in a given area. Are hardy kiwi or grapes right for everyone, everywhere? No, but sharing information can help us find just the right niche for our crops.

    Similarly Keefe’s reference that farming was not his primary endeavor is another standout point. I’m glad to see the understanding spreading that we all have our own endeavors and strength and that we can, and should, spend our time focusing on those. Do what you are good at. Do what you love.

    Along the way I’ll be here to assist you, so please reach out to me if there is anything I can do for you.

    Call: 717-827-6266

    The Permaculture Podcast
    P.O. Box 16
    Dauphin, PA 17018

    Before we draw these notes to a close I would like to let you know about an upcoming class. Since this episode deals with the restoration of the savanna, if you would like to learn more about restoration agriculture from the author of the book by the same name, Mark Shepard, he is working in cooperation with Ecology Artisans in San Diego, California, from March 10-14, 2015. Josh Robinson, a past guest of the show, brought this course to my attention. He is offering a $50 discount to any listener who registers and uses the code “permaculturepodcast50”.

    Restoration Agriculture Workshop

    Finally, this show depends on listener support to stay on the air. I’ve embraced gift economics as the way to support the podcast, myself, and my other online permaculture work. If you are in place to help, I really appreciate it. Know that you are keeping this podcast on the air and keeping it free for everyone else who is unable to lend to hand. Together we are spreading permaculture world wide, including 125,000 unique visitors to the website last year and over 800,000 downloads. Together I want to at least double those numbers in 2015.

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    Until the next time, take care of earth, yourself, and each other.

    Restoration Agriculture
    The One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka
    Tree Crops by J. Russell Smith (Public Domain PDF)

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