Restoration Agriculture Workshop

with Mark Shepard 

at Agner Farms 

September 15-17, 2017 Bluffton, Ohio  

Come learn from these one of a kind sites about ways you can flood-proof your land, grow quality food and be prosperous!

Meet The Hosts 

Hello future workshop attendees, meet the Agners. These brothers and their family wish to support the community using regenerative agricultural practices with a focus on native perennial plants to produce food, fuel, fiber, and medicine.  

  By the groundbreaking of two small farms, and future sales through The Food Store (Owned by Jonah Agner), they’ll provide our local food economy by contributing products supplied by their farms and as many other community growers as possible. Joel's Farm is 10 acres of woodlands and Pasture. Jonah has a 5 acre farm nearby.

This is not your typical permaculture workshop. From livestock, crops, and water management, you can see how these sorts of skills, that are useful in operating dynamic restoration ag systems, can work for you and your land. In this workshop, we will be exploring regenerative ag designs upon two farms for the Agner family and ways to integrate those properties with their shop and the Transitions Towns Movement as well. 

This workshop will be big on land-use planning (aka fieldwork), where the Workshop lessons will literally take shape. 

Come join us in transforming the land into a restoration agricultural ecosystem filled with increased resiliency, enhanced watershed management, and increased diversity in value-added perennial tree crops designed for today and for generations to come!  

 Why a Restoration Agiculture Workshop?

Agriculture is only sustainable if it is economically viable and can nourish us. By mimicking nature, we can produce a system that creates no pollution, generates a profit, and provides nutrition more akin to what our hunter-gatherer ancestors enjoyed with respect to their biome. 

 Mark Shepard, author of Restoration Agriculture, has been walking this walk for more than 20 years. We are excited to have him teach here at Ager Farms!

Enjoy over two full days of hands-on learning at these exceptional farms!

Image taken at New Forest Farm in Viola, WI: the site of Mark's inspiration for the book, Restoration Agriculture. 

Special Bonus


What You Will Learn

This Restoration Agriculture Workshop is designed to give the perfect blend of education and experience:

Restoration Ecology 

Principles gleaned from interacting with natural systems and inspiration on how to design a system for you and your land. 

Topics include

  • Local ecological overview
  • Selection of Perennial Woody Crops
  • Ecology in Business development
  • Transitioning from monoculture to polyculture 

Read the Landcape

Identify and practice those principles with observaion and with measuring equipment.

Topics include

  • Locating the "Master line" on a site
  • Using a site level
  • Crop spacing and placement
  • Multi-species grazing & Paddock layout 


Tools and strategies for implementing Restoration Agriculture designs including equipment demos and surveying tools.

Topics include

  • Equipment selection and operation
  • Witnessing the construction of earthworks such as swales, pocket ponds and drives-throughs that are compatible with USDA guidelines


Here is a video of highights of Mark Shepard at Mountain Sky Ranch, owned and operated by Dr. Wayne Dorband and his wife, Deb. This is merely a glimpse of what you will get at the Workshop at Agner Farms.

 Workshop Schedule

Below is the tentative outline for the workshop. Activities are ultimately weather-dependent and are subject to adjustment. Please come prepared for ample learning and for hands-on activites in the field! 

Supplies to consider bringing along includes but is not limited to notebooks, writing utensils, cameras, sun protection, wind protection, rain gear, long pants, and comfortable close-toed shoes. It is also wise to carry your own supply of fresh water and a snack to keep you nourished during any prolonged periods of field activities.


 Arrival and Registration.

4-8pm Evening Gathering with a party tent, bonfire and deliciou local food from the hosts!

*Snacks/Coffee included

RSVP if you plan to join us!


Local Organic Breakfast (provided)

Morning: Classroom

Local Organic Lunch (provided)

Afternoon: Outdoor learning

Farm to Table Dinner (provided)


Local Organic Breakfast (provided)

Morning: Classroom

Local Organic Lunch (provided)

Afternoon: Outdoor learning

Directions to Joel Agner's Farm 

From the map provided, you can generate your directions to get to us. 

See you here soon!


Contact Joel to discuss lodging options on-site and near by! 

Joel Agner: (937) 309-2055 

Additional lodging fees may apply. 

Nearest hotel accommodation:

Comfort Inn 117 Commerce Lane Bluffton, Ohio 45817 (419 )358-6000

About the Instructor

Mark Shepard

Mark Shepard is the CEO of Forest Agriculture Enterprises LLC and founder of Restoration Agriculture Development Inc. He runs New Forest Farm, the 106-acre perennial agricultural savanna considered by many to be one of the most ambitious sustainable agriculture projects 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, successional 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 entirely solar and wind powered. 

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.

Friday Farm Gathering & Dinner Reservation

Check-in Friday evening and wind-down with local foods and hang out with Mark Shepard, fellow attendees and the host famlies. 

RAD Workshop Price

Early Bird (before 9/8): $300  

Great information,

thank you Mark for the extra insights in soil building. The initial water management information was exactly what I needed to see for my land. 

- Bryant Redhawk

A powerful lesson... reading the landscape. People usually say observe the site for a full year, Mark on the other side can teach us how to observe 300 years of history in one minute. 

- William Horvath

Very informative...

...and eye opening about the way to properly plan for rainfall distribution. Very timely for our farm as we are in the planning stages for establishing a woody polyculture agroforestry system. Thanks.

- Benjamin Michael

Come Join Us

Learn to Apply Restoration Agriculture onto land and into a local food economy  

September 15-17, 2017 in Bluffton, OH

Restoration Agriculture Workshop

with Mark Shepard