Agroforestry For Carbon Drawdown

The 2021 North American Agroforestry Conference, “Scaling Up Agroforestry for Carbon Drawdown”, will be held online from June 28th to July 2nd. This year’s conference, co-hosted by the Savanna Institute and the Association for Temperate Agroforestry (AFTA), will bring together scientists, farmers, investors, journalists, citizens, and other agroforestry experts seeking ways to transition towards more climate friendly food systems. Though less than 1% of US farms currently practice agroforestry, there are more than 66 million acres of pastureland and 39 million acres of cropland suitable for agroforestry in the US alone, offering a combined carbon sequestration potential of up to 158 Mt CO2 per year.

This year’s conference, which will be fully online, seeks to maintain a high level of networking and engagement while taking advantage of the opportunities provided by an online format. Conference sessions and presentations will address the major barriers to scaling agroforestry, focusing on solutions and action. The work to establish and scale up agroforestry for carbon drawdown has only just begun, but the potential is enormous. Research by the Savanna Institute indicates that one acre of alley cropping, a common type of agroforestry, can sequester nearly a ton of carbon in woody biomass alone, and silvopasture, another type of agroforestry, places eleventh in Project Drawdown’s ranking of more than eighty potential climate solutions. Even modest adoption of agroforestry outperforms many other agricultural land-use changes in its potential for carbon sequestration.

The 2021 conference will feature a diverse lineup of over 50 speakers and panelists, including:

  • Fredo Arias-King – Ejido Verde
  • Sallie Calhoun – Globetrotter Foundation & Cienega Capital
  • Joe Fargione – Science Director, The Nature Conservancy
  • Meghan Giroux – Interlace Commons
  • Eliza Greenman – The Fruit Explorers
  • Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin – Regenerative Agriculture Alliance
  • Eric Hoffner – editor, Mongabay
  • Gerry Lawson – European Agroforestry Federation
  • David Lezaks – Croatan Institute
  • Sarah Taylor Lovell – Director, The University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry
  • Gary Paul Nabhan – author, agrarian activist and ethnobiologist
  • Odessa Piper, James Beard Foundation Best Chef Midwest–2002
  • Bob Saul – Fiera Capital Corporation
  • Bill Schlesinger – Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
  • Jesse Smith – Director of Land Stewardship, White Buffalo Land Trust
  • Eric Toensmeier – author of The Carbon Farming Solution and other books
  • Miah Ulysse – Principal + Founder, Rūted Solutions
  • Olivia Watkins – Oliver’s Agroforest; Co-founder, Black Farmer Fund
  • Sarah Wentzel-Fisher – Quivira Coalition

Shifting to a fully online format is intended to increase attendance for this event, which engages participants across a wide geographical range. The ease of access to online presentations and recordings will hopefully draw a much wider audience than previous NAACs, which have been held every two years. The 2020 Perennial Farm Gathering, which was also co-hosted by the Savanna Institute and AFTA and held online in December, drew over 500 participants – its highest attendance to date – from 50 different states and provinces, demonstrating the expanded audience made possible by this format.

You can learn more and register for the 2021 North American Agroforestry Conference at: