Allan was born in Rhodesia, southern Africa. He pursued an early career as a research biologist and Game Ranger in the British Colonial Service of what was then Northern Rhodesia (today Zambia), and later as a farmer, game rancher, politician and international consultant, based in Southern Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe). In the 1960s, while working on the interrelated problems of increasing poverty and disappearing wildlife, he made a significant breakthrough in understanding what was causing the degradation and desertification of the world’s grassland ecosystems. He went on to work, as a resource management consultant, with numerous managers, eventually on four continents, to develop sustainable solutions.
His early results in reversing land degradation in a manner that made, rather than cost, money were impressive. But, as he often states, his failures were equally impressive! Finally, in the mid 1980’s the last of some key missing pieces fell into place. Since then thousands of land, livestock and wildlife managers have been able to demonstrate consistent results following the methodology he called “holistic management.”
Savory served as a Member of Parliament in the latter days of Zimbabwe’s civil war and leader of the opposition to the ruling party headed by Ian Smith. Exiled in 1979, as a result of his opposition, he emigrated to the United States where he co-founded the non-profit organization Holistic Management International with his wife, Jody Butterfield. In 1992 they formed a second non-profit (social welfare) organization near Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, the Africa Centre for Holistic Management, donating a ranch that would serve as a learning site for people all over Africa. Savory and the five local Chiefs are permanent Trustees of the Africa Centre. Savory and his wife divide their time between Zimbabwe and New Mexico.
In 2003, Savory was awarded the Banksia International Award for the person or organization doing the most for the environment on a global scale. His current work in Africa is receiving much praise and recognition and the Africa Centre for Holistic Management was announced the winner of the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Award for the organization working to solve the world’s most pressing problems.
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Savory Institute News
Byron Shelton and Chris Kerston from the Savory Institute visit the Holistic Management Hub in Turkey run by Dudu Durukan and Volkan Büyükgüngör. Both have Masters degrees and despite other career opportunities, they have chose to return to their family farm in the country and regenerate landscapes using Holistic Planned Grazing.
Jörgen Andersson and Natasha Skott, from the Savory Institute Nordic Hub at the demonstration site located in Åre, Sweden, tell us about their cooperative business called Mountain Graze (Fjallbete). It is comprised of more than 150 co-owners that support the sheep growing operation. Many of those who have bought into Mountain Graze also own restaurants, hotels, and cafes in the popular ski resort town. They serve the lamb meat and sell the artisan wool at their many locations throughout Åre and the surrounding area. The business is run with Holistic Management to ensure that the social, financial, and ecological factors are all being considered and to be sure that the land is regenerating.
See how Allan Savory, and his wife Jody, live in Zimbabwe, in traditional thatch-roofed mud huts, entirely off-grid with solar cells, LED lanterns, and solar hot water heater. He also goes everywhere barefoot. He was born and raised in Zimbabwe and currently lives approximately half of the year at his traditional home at the Africa Centre for Holistic Management.
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