We are André & Lillie Eisenbeis, high school sweethearts who grew up five miles apart near Freeman, SD. We were married in 2015 and moved back to the community a year later with the intention of starting our own farm. In 2020, we welcomed Jesse Wendell into our family!
We have degrees in agriculture & environmental science and have each had the privilege of interning with successful market gardeners, including Ben Hartman (author of The Lean Farm) of Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, IN. In 2017, we spent two glorious months working & learning on farms in France through the WWOOF program.
We are are passionate about food and strengthening rural communities through sustainable agriculture & local food systems. For us, farming is a lifestyle anchored in values of creation care and simple living.
Andre's family (5th Generation Farm) sells raw organic milk door-to-door in the Sioux Falls area. Lillie's family (Turkey Ridge Creek Farm) raises purebred shorthorn cattle and row crops. They also grow stellar potatoes and sweet corn for us. Both families have been instrumental in the creation of Prairie Roots.
Customer Appreciation Day at Happy Grazing Dairy
Prairie Roots was established in 2018 on Lillie's Grandmother's farm. After starting with a small garden plot and 25 CSA shares, we have grown to 50 shares, two farmers markets, and several wholesale accounts.
We currently have just over one acre in cultivation--an area large enough to supply many families with veggies, but small enough for us to farm by hand with minimal equipment. We love interacting with customers! They range from older folks who feel nostalgia for homegrown produce to young families seeking to support local producers. We feel privileged to personally interact with all the good people we are feeding.
Prairie Roots is also home to several dozen sheep, a flock of laying hens, and Greta, our loyal Pyrenees mix. We sell free-range eggs, pastured whole chickens, and grass-fed lamb to market customers and CSA shareholders.
We are proponents of regenerative agriculture.
Regenerative ag is a conservation and rehabilitation approach to food and farming systems. It focuses on topsoil regeneration, increasing biodiversity, improving the water cycle, enhancing ecosystem services, supporting biosequestration, increasing resilience to climate change, and strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil.
Building a healthy soil that supports vibrant, nutrient-dense plants is our number one priority. We follow organic practices, but are not certified organic. We rely on compost, leaf & straw mulch, and cover crops to provide long-lasting fertility. For pest control, insect netting and floating row covers is our primary defense, combined with the occasional OMRI certified spray. We are also adopting more no-till and minimal till practices to hold more soil carbon as well as maintain a healthy soil structure and rich soil biology.
"The ruling ideas of our present national or international economy are competition, consumption, globalism, corporate profitability, mechanical efficiency, technological change, upward mobility--and in all of them there is the implication of acceptable violence against the land and the people. We, on the contrary, must think again of reverence, humility affection, familiarity, neighborliness, cooperation, thrift, appropriateness, local loyalty, These terms return us to the best of our heritage. They bring us home."