Mark Shepard is the CEO of Restoration Agriculture Development Inc (www.restorationag.com), an ecological land design, construction and education firm, and he is the founder and CEO of Forest Agriculture Enterprises LLC (www.forestag.com), an edible woody crops nursery and tree breeding operation. He also runs New Forest Farms, a 110-acre perennial agricultural savanna, one of the first of its kind in the United States. New Forest Farm is a planned conversion of a typical row-crops grain farm into a commercial-scale, perennial agricultural ecosystem using oak savanna, sucessional brushland, and eastern woodlands as the ecological models. Trees, shrubs, vines, canes, perennial plants, and fungi are planted in association with one another to produce food (for humans and animals) fuel, medicines, and beauty. Hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts and various fruits are the primary woody crops. The farm is solar and wind powered. Farm equipment has been converted to be powered with locally produced biofuels (straight vegetable oil and biodiesel) from oils that are not taken from the human food chain.
Trained in both mechanical engineering and ecology, Mark has developed and patented equipment and processes for the cultivation, harvesting, and processing of forest derived agricultural products for human foods and bio fuels production. Mark was certified as a permaculture designer in 1993 and received his Diploma of Permaculture design from Bill Mollison, the founder of the international permaculture movement. He is a 20-year farmer member of the Organic Valley cooperative, the world’s largest organic farmers' marketing co-op (www.organicvalley.coop).