Building Agroforestry to Improve Water Quality

Agroforestry has enormous potential to improve water quality of rivers and streams in the Great Lakes Basin by integrating tree crops with other crops and livestock. Deep-rooted and long-lived tree crops can dramatically improve water quality, mitigate the effects of flooding, create wildlife habitat, and sequester carbon all while stabilizing and diversifying farm income and developing new markets. In collaboration with Savanna Institute, through its partnership with the Great Lakes Protection Fund, this project will introduce agroforestry approaches to the Great Lakes Basin through utilizing an outreach and education program in five Wisconsin counties. Farmers and landowners in various watersheds will connect with technical service providers to foster agroforestry adoption and management plans and programs. This project will identify capital opportunities and financial pathways that support the development of processing, distribution, and market infrastructure for regenerative agroforestry farms. Learn more about the project here.

Croatan Institute is supporting this work through the development of a comprehensive agroforestry financing guidebook that will highlight capital opportunities that align with agroforestry. In order to foster farmer interest in agroforestry and connect them with experienced agricultural professionals, Croatan will be involved in the collecting of data and interviewing of farmers, landowners, investors, and other stakeholders. Geared toward landowners and agricultural professionals, this guidebook will help answer questions on the core elements and best practices of agroforestry system design.