Updates to the Savory Hub Accreditation Pathway

Savory Hub Activation Pathway and Design Lab 1.0 Launched at White Oak Pastures

In Holistic Management, we are constantly checking our actions against our Holistic Context, monitoring, adjusting, and re-planning as needed. The process unleashes creativity and potential, and the culture of the Savory Institute and Savory Global Network is one of continual learning.

What can we do better next time? What needs to be tweaked, removed? What needs to die to give life to something new?

At the Savory Institute, we are asking these questions all the time. We recently asked ourselves these questions as it relates to the Savory Hub accreditation process (a process that has been in place since the early days of the Savory Institute, so it was due for an update) and it led to a fairly substantial update. So, we wanted to share these updates with you.

In late 2019, we gathered a group of Savory staff, Hubs, and advisors for a multi-day immersive workshop that explored the following questions:

  • What is or isn’t working in the current Hub onboarding process?
  • What trends are we seeing amongst the Hubs creating the most impact in their regions? Where are they struggling?
  • How can we design a process that allows new Hubs to hit the ground running to truly transform their region through Holistic Management and regenerative agriculture?
  • How can we create a thriving Network that has engagement from all members, both contributing to the Network and receiving unparalleled value in return, creating networks of their own at a local and regional level?

In the previous 18-month Hub accreditation process, the main focus was on two 10-day training events: a training for hub leadership and management (called the Hub Bootcamp), and a Holistic Management Intensive course. These two training events still exist — and the Hub Bootcamp has been restructured and renamed as the “Hub Design Lab” — but we have added in new phases that ensure Hubs are as equipped as possible hit the ground running from day 1.

There are now ten phases to the Savory Hub accreditation process (known as the Hub Activation Pathway). They have been designed around patterns we have recognized in thriving, impactful Hubs:

  1. Immersion: After filling out an online form, the Hub applicant is asked to complete a few pre-requisites such as watching Allan Savory’s TED talk, taking a Holistic Management online course, interviewing a Savory Hub leader or Accredited Professional. In lieu of these, one could attend an accredited Holistic Management course offered by a Savory Hub. This phase ensures that all applicants are qualified and committed to becoming a Hub.  
  2. Application: After completing pre-requisites, Hub applicants continue with a more in-depth application and creation of a short video that allows us to get to know them. Current Savory Hub leaders who may become mentors to new Hubs are engaged in this application review process.
  3. Orientation: Hub applicants that are accepted into the program are brought together virtually to meet their fellow Hub-in-training cohort, mentors, and Savory staff.
  4. Preparation: New Hub leaders learn about the activation pathway, including the Holistic Management Intensive training, EOV training (part of the design and demonstration phases) and the Design Lab that they and their Hub-in-training cohort will complete together in-person. “Homework” is assigned to gather information about their region, acquaint them with the Savory Global Network, and ensure that the right people from their organization attend the necessary training events for their role within the Hub. 
  5. Design Lab: The cohort of new Hub leaders gathers for 10 days with Savory Institute staff, Global Network leaders, mentors, and advisors to design regenerative organizations that are capable of activating their region of the world and meaningfully engaging with the Savory Global Network. Key components of this work session focus on holistic organizational and business model design for each Hub, as well as building the foundation for a strong and relevant mentorship/support system. 
  6. Holistic Management Intensive: Each new Hub sends two members of their team to attend a full 10-day training on the foundations and planning procedures of Holistic Management, including Holistic Planned Grazing, Holistic Financial Planning, Holistic Land Planning and Ecological Monitoring. The course is for those on the team who will be training, supporting, and working directly with farmers, ranchers, and/or pastoralists in their region.
  7. Development: Paired with their mentor team, and with access to the larger support network of Savory staff, advisors, and partners, new Hub leaders begin working on their Holistic Hub Activation plan and pitch deck. This includes having Hub team members complete the Ecological Outcomes Verification set-up and training, and completing Holistic Management planning procedure documentation for their Hub demonstration site. 
  8. Demonstration: The Hub completes this phase when the Hub demonstration site documentation is approved by the Savory Institute, they have pitched their Holistic Hub Activation Plan to the Savory Global Network, and co-facilitated or shadow taught a Holistic Management course offered by an accredited Savory Hub.
  9. Conscious Contract: Now ready to be an active member of the Savory Global Network, the Hub enters into what we call a “conscious contract” with the Savory Institute. Unlike typical legal contracts that list everything that might potentially go wrong in a relationship, this legal document defines a shared Holistic Context and the nature of how the Hub and Savory Institute will work together. It includes terms and conditions as most legal agreements do, but they are no longer the main focus. Rather, they are embedded in a shared context.
  10. Post-Accreditation: New Hub leaders are welcomed into the Savory Global Network as true decision-makers with our shared global mission and contributors towards the health of the Network. They agree to accelerate our global mission by working to positively impact their regions with Holistic Management, and contributing to the Network as mentors, through relationships, business opportunities, and meaningful experiences.

So there you have it. This is the new process that all Savory Hubs will now go through, and we’re excited to see how these changes will create ripple effects that enhance impact at the local level.

So excited, in fact, that we deployed the new Hub Design Lab model on the latest Hub group that just went through their training in January. A brief recap of their inaugural Hub Design Lab experience is below.

Interested in becoming a Savory Hub? Fill out your application here.

Design Lab 1.0 | January 2020 | Georgia, USA

By: Abbey Smith, Savory Global Network Coordinator & Hub leader at the Jefferson Center for Holistic Management

We met to re-design this activation pathway in early December. The first chance to implement changes to the process was the following month at the Influencer Hub White Oak Pastures-hosted Design Lab in Bluffton Georgia, USA. Attended by new hub leaders from Heifer Ranch USA/Heifer International, Studio Hill Farm in Vermont, USA the Robinia Institute in Virginia, USA and a farming cooperative in Croatia, the first run of the design lab was a hit. 

New Hub leaders and Savory staff at the January 2020 Hub Design Lab (Bluffton, GA)

Of course – as the practice of Holistic Management involves – the design lab will be constantly reviewed and improved, but version 1.0 feels like we are on the right path judging by the energy and response from the new hub leaders. What was most valued? Mentors from the network. 

“If I would have known that we received all of this, I would have applied to become a hub long ago. The cost of the whole accreditation process is out weighted by the value of the design lab alone.” 

Jesse, Studio Hill Farm

Nikolina from Croatia was introduced to an “abundance mindset” at the design lab, and her thoughts sum up the experience perfectly.

“It was life-changing. In Croatia, there is certainly a survival and scarcity mindset. The idea of operating from an abundance mindset is such a new and empowering concept.”

Nikolina, Croatia Hub

To learn more about each new hub leader (minus the Croatia team who aren’t on Instagram), you can follow them here:

To learn about hub mentors (those with Instagram accounts!), advisors, and the Savory Institute, you can follow them at:

Savory Institute

Savory Institute

The Savory Institute is on a mission to regenerate the grasslands of the world and the livelihoods of their inhabitants, through Holistic Management. Since 2009, Savory Institute has been leading the regenerative agriculture movement by equipping farmers, ranchers, and pastoralist communities to regenerate land within culturally-relevant and ecologically-appropriate contexts.
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