Badgersett/EFN Nut Tree Planting Collaboration

The first of its kind, this is an advanced Experimental Farm Network work-for-education exchange.

Philip Rutter has been growing and breeding hazelnuts, chestnuts, and hickory-pecans at Badgersett Farm in southern Minnesota for 35 years. This June, after another round of selection (which itself takes years), they plan to plant 10-15 more acres of trees. After spending time at Badgersett this past year, EFN co-founder Dusty Hinz will be organizing a group of 15-20 people to help with the planting and learn directly from Philip about how to grow and breed these perennial, staple tree crops.

Badgersett/EFN Nut Tree Planting Collaboration

An Experimental Farm Network Advanced Work/Education Exchange

(We may also be building one or two on-farm wood structures)



We will be planting 10-15 acres of hazelnuts, chestnuts, and hickory-pecans. We may also be building a pole shed, and potentially even a small cabin. In addition to learning and doing the tree-planting process, there will be deeper lecture and discussion on growing and selecting these perennial, staple tree crops.


People can arrive on June 3rd or 4th and get settled in, with a hard Monday morning start on June 5th.

The full program will go through Wednesday, June 21st, capping everything off with a big solstice bonfire celebration.

Wanna stay for the rest of June and keep helping out and learning? You are welcome to do so.

Number of participants:

15-20 (possibly more than 20 can come if there are some people that are ONLY working on the building the structures)

****Half of the tree-planting participants need to be there for the full 2.5 weeks. Since some people have jobs, half of the tree-planting participants can stay for the first six program days (Monday through Saturday) and leave on Sunday. Please notify Dusty what your time commitment is.


The idea is that the work and education are an even trade. However, participants will need to cover the cost of their own food. We plan to cook community meals, and we may have a primary chef (with line chef rotations). We will ask for the approximate cost of your food in advance, so we can make bulk purchases and streamline things.


You will need to bring your own gear to camp.

Ideal participants:

-We are really looking for people that are serious about growing these perennial, staple tree crops. This is a unique opportunity to learn from a man that has been at this a long time. If in the long run, you are not open to the idea of growing these tree crops on a larger scale (say a half acre) or at a homestead, this is not the program for you.

-Some farming or gardening experience would be nice, though not a requirement.

-In reasonable physical condition.

-Teamwork-oriented, good attitude.

Required reading:

We implore you to buy and read Philip’s book, “Growing Hybrid Hazelnuts: The New Resilient Crop for a Changing Climate,” before this program starts. It is available used on Amazon for $20. This will give everyone a base level of knowledge, and allow for the greatest development of participants during the program.

Work and Education:

Badgersett’s planting method involves 4-month-old “tubeling” trees, which they start in their off-grid greenhouse. They do not plant these tubeling trees in the ground until after 3 PM.

So, you can expect we will be doing lots of tree planting in the afternoon and night. Earlier in the day there will be time devoted to education, which will generally consist of Philip giving a talk. Upon our arrival, the most critical thing we will need to learn is the planting method, but there will eventually be time for deeper discussion on long-range care and breeding of the plants on such subjects as coppice and selection.

Building structures?

We are in contact with a skilled builder (he has built tiny homes and works as a carpenter) that is interested in building a pole shed and a small cabin at Badgersett, using wood from the property. These details need to get worked out. It is unclear at this point what exactly may be done on this front during the program, but some participants may be able to get involved with the building, which is another solid learning opportunity.

IMPORTANT. Please specify to Dusty:

-If you are only interested in planting and learning about the trees.

-If you would be open to working on building one or two days a week.

-If you are only interested in building the structures and not interested in the trees at all.

Researcher background
Who is Philip Rutter and what is Badgersett?

Philip Rutter completed his coursework for a Phd in evolutionary biology from the University of Minnesota in the 1970s. Instead of writing a thesis, he bought a 160-acre farm in southern Minnesota and began his life’s work of breeding and growing hazelnuts, chestnuts, and hickory-pecans. This farm is named Badgersett, and so is the business: Badgersett Research Corporation.

He foresaw the unsustainable nature of annual corn and soy agriculture long ago, before the word “permaculture” existed. And he decided to try to do something about it.

His vision is to replace corn and soy with these perennial, staple tree crops. With the proper economy of scale, harvesting machinery, and processing equipment, he believes hazelnuts could replace soybeans today. It will take an army of small farmers organizing and rallying around each other to make this happen.
Are you seeking volunteer growers or other types of volunteers?
No, do not require volunteers.
Is this a multi-year project?
Can volunteers expect to be able to keep some germplasm (seeds, bulbs, cuttings, spores, etc) at the close of the project?
Project Location

United States

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