Farmer Tree Skills Project

In the Northeast, agroforestry has great promise given that much of the landscape’s native vegetation includes trees. Yet tree planting is more complex than it might at first seem. Historically, large scale tree planting efforts are frequently unsuccessful due to many factors that neglect the unique context each site and farmer presents to tree planting. 

This project is based in the belief that solutions to the challenges of tree planting need to be grounded and arise from communities and individuals tending the land in a given bioregion. We are putting out collective minds and energies together to support farmers and land stewards to build their skills in tree propagation and planting through this project. 

We envision a future where a network of decentralized tree nurseries embedded in a wide range of diverse communities collect local seed and plant materials, grow and develop genetics, and distribute trees to the wider community who are well skilled to plant and maintain healthy trees in the wider landscape.

Wellspring Forest Farm (Steve & Elizabeth Gabriel), together with forester Mike DeMunn (Da hà dá nya), Silver Run Forest Farm (Jonathan McRay), Interlace Commons (Meghan Giroux), and Rafter Ferguson are pleased to announce a NE-SARE funded project titled “Building Community Capacity to Increase Agroforestry Tree Planting through Participatory Listening Sessions, Training, and Peer-to-Peer Network Building” 

The three year project is designed around the intersection of knowledge, skill building, and social connection, recognizing that interpersonal networks positively affect learning and decision making capacity for farmers and communities. 

Project Activities include:

Listening Sessions and Dialogue

Engaging with farmers land stewards, and tree nurseries across the region to listen to their perceptions of trees, barriers to tree planting, and needs for support to succeed in establishing agroforestry in their system and cultural context of the local landscape.

(WINTER 2023 - 2024)

Curriculum and Workshops

Building a participatory curriculum that is focused on the skills of tree propagation,  planting, and maintenance that will be freely published online and offered via online and in person workshops and events in the Northeast over several growing seasons.

(WINTER 2023 - 2025)

Tree Planting and  On-farm Nursery Plans

Our collective team will support farmers and agricultural projects to develop viable plans that intersect their personal and community goals with the ecological context of their landscape. Farmers will engage in peer-to-peer learning as they develop plans for implementation.

(WINTER 2024 - 2025)

Support for Tree and Nursery Projects

A selection of farms and community projects will plant trees and establish with funding support via our grant funds and additional funding mechanisms. Participants track their time and material costs resulting in data on the real costs and a summary report of community actions.

( 2025)

Recent Project Resources:

Interested in participating in the project? 

Complete the form below so we can keep in touch!

This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, through the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program under subaward number LNE23-466.