Cornell CALS - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Agroforestry

Project Lead: Steve Gabriel, Tracey Testo

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“What can I do with my woods?”

We are often asked this question and encourage people to check out the wide range of options with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Agroforestry Program Work Team.

Agroforestry describes a wide range of practices that integrate trees, forests, and agricultural production. These systems can be adapted to almost any site and condition, though considerations like climate, slope, soil characteristics, and grower objectives will ultimately determine the crops that are appropriate for a specific piece of land.

Agroforestry happens across New York State!

In response to increasing interest in agroforestry over the years, Cornell has created an extension program work team and a number of tools and resources to help woodlot owners start farming their forests. Each category below has videos, guides, and websites to help, along with the contact information of key individuals in the Cornell community you can reach out to with questions.

Woodland Mushrooms

Woodland Mushrooms can be grown in many forests. Common species produced include Shiitake, Oyster, Lions Mane, Stropharia, and Nameko. Our program is a nationwide leader in providing guidebooks, factsheets, and videos to help you get started.

Visit  www.CornellMushrooms.org for factsheets and videos describing in detail how to grow and market forest mushrooms, and connect with other growers.

Tree Saps & Syrups

Globally, humans have tapped trees and enjoyed saps and syrups for centuries. While production in New York is heavily focused on maple Syrup production, new opportunities are growing for birch and walnut syrups and for sap beverages and other value-added products.

The Cornell Sugar Maple Program web site provides maple syrup production information for people with varied syrup knowledge, activities and information for students and teachers, and extension research project information: cornellmaple.com

Key Contacts:

  • Steve Childs, State Maple Specialist, slc18@cornell.edu
  • Aaron Wightman, Extension Research, arw6@cornell.edu
  • Adam Wild, Director of Uihlein Maple Center, adw94@cornell.edu

American Ginseng

Ginseng is a high-value crop that can be grown in the right type of forest and ample patience on the part of the grower.

Learn how through the series of videos above, and the downloadable guides from former Cornell Extension Educator Bob “Mr Ginseng” Beyfuss.

Resources:

Key Contacts:

Tracey Testo, Agroforestry Resource Center of Greene County, tet35@cornell.edu

Silvopasture

Silvopasture integrates livestock, trees, and forage and can be done in existing woodlots or by bringing trees into pasture settings. There are many variations and options for systems and the resources below offer some starting points.

Resources:

Key Contacts:

Brett Chedzoy, Extension Forester Cooperative Extension Schuyler County, bjc226@cornell.edu

Steve Gabriel, Cornell Small Farms Program, sfg53@cornell.edu

Forestry

silvopasture

The Cornell Forestry Extension Program includes information for forest owners, educators, loggers, and foresters regarding how best to engage in sustainable production on private forest lands. http://www2.dnr.cornell.edu/ext/bmp/contents/cce.html.

Key Contacts:

Peter Smallidge, State Extension Forester, pjs23@cornell.edu

Our Agroforestry Team

  • Brett Chedzoy, CCE Schuyler County, bjc226@cornell.edu
  • Peter Smallidge, Cornell Department of Natural Resources, pjs23@cornell.edu
  • Kristina Ferrare, CCE Onondaga County, kaf226@cornell.edu
  • Aaron Wightman, Arnot Research Forest Maple Specialist, arw6@cornell.edu
  • Adam Wild, Director, Cornell Maple Uihlein Station, adw94@cornell.edu
  • Don Gasiewicz, CCE Wyoming County, drg35@cornell.edu
  • Sam Bosco, phD Student, School of Integrated Plant Science, sfb42@cornell.edu
  • Kate MacFarland, USDA Assistant Agroforester, macfarland@usda.gov
  • Jonathan Bates, Food Forest Farm

Project Partners

News and Updates

Maple and Birch Tapping Research Responds to Variable Climate

By Kacey Deamer | December 12, 2018

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted a research update with data to help maple and birch syrup producers respond to variable climate conditions. “Maple, and now birch,…

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Edible Weeds from Farm to Market: Farmer Survey Responses Needed

By Kelsie Raucher | December 10, 2018

Edible Weeds from Farm to Market is a Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) funded project of CCE Columbia and Greene Counties Agroforestry Research Center. The project is researching the…

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Ecological Collaboratory Learns from Wellspring Forest Farm and School

By Kelsie Raucher | November 14, 2018

Agroforestry extension specialist, Steve Gabriel, works for the Cornell Small Farms Program in addition to owning and operating Wellspring Forest Farm and School with his wife, Elizabeth. Their farm and…

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Steve is an Extension Specialist focused on specialty mushroom production and agroforestry. Throughout his career, Steve has taught thousands of people about the ways farming and forestry can be combined to both benefit the ecology and economies of small farms.  He is also a farmer, author, hiker, and musician.

Read Articles by Steve Gabriel

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Cornell Agroforestry - Subscribe for Updates and Opportunities

This list-serve provides information and resources to connect small and mid-sized farmers to larger markets such as food hubs, grocery stores, restaurants, online marketplaces and cooperatives. Farmers, educators and prospective buyers are all welcome: